Who developed the Phoenix Cups® framework?
The Phoenix Cups® Framework was developed in 2012 by Sandi Phoenix, the founding director of Phoenix Support for Educators. It serves as an explanatory tool for humanistic psychology and the guidance approach, offering support for behavioral teaching and learning in educational and care settings. Sandi Phoenix and her husband Christopher Phoenix have conducted collaborative research and co-authored a book that delves into the theories, philosophies, and scientific principles underlying the framework.
How did the framework come about?
The concept of the Phoenix Cups® was serendipitously discovered in 2012 during one of Sandi's presentations to educators who were new to the understanding of basic human life needs. Through years of supporting children's behavioral learning, Sandi came to the realization that by focusing on comprehending and fulfilling these fundamental human needs, it became possible to address common behavioral challenges in typically developing children. Being someone who benefits from visualizing new concepts, she grabbed a water cup, filled it with liquid from a nearby jug, and conveyed to the audience, "Imagine each of the needs we've been discussing as cups, and our goal is to help children learn how to fill them." In that moment, everything clicked, and the rest is history. Since then, Sandi and her team have continuously developed and refined this concept.
What was the motivation behind The Phoenix Cups® framework?
What was the research process and key findings for The Phoenix Cups Framework?
The theoretical underpinning of The Educator Toolkit for Behaviour includes
- Self-Determination Theory (Chirkov & Ryan, 2001; Chirkov, Ryan, Kim, & Kaplan, 2003; Deci & Ryan, 1987; Ryan & Deci, 2000a, 200b), and;
- Guidance Theory (Gartrell, 2003, 2004; Grolnick, 2003; Grolnick, Gurland, DeCourcey, & Jacob, 2002; Hart & Hodson, 2004, 2006; Hoffman, 1960; Kohn, 1996, 1999a, 1999b, 2005; Porter, 1999, 2014, 2016a).
- The content also draws on research findings that children are best prepared for school through a play-based program that fosters self-regulation of their emotions, behaviours and learning processes, and that these skills are more important than specific literacy and numeracy skills (Piotrkowski et al., 2000).
Self-determination theory tells us that children are more intrinsically motivated and self-governing when adults grant them autonomy, rather than imposing controls on them. Starting with this premise, research dating back to as early as the 1930s has consistently shown that, compared with controlling discipline, guidance practices achieve more gains in terms of children’s behaviour, emotional wellbeing, relationships with peers and adults, language skills and intellectual skills. (See, for example: Aguilar et al. 2000; Alink et al. 2008; Battistich et al. 2004; Brody et al. 2001; Campbell & Ewing 1990; Campbell et al. 1996; Coldwell et al. 2006; Combs-Ronto et al. 2009; Côté et al. 2006; Crockenberg & Litman 1990; Denham et al. 2000; Donovan et al. 2000; Emmer & Aussiker 1990; Fergusson et al. 2005; Gaylord-Harden 2008; Gregory & Ripski 2008; Hoffman 1960; Lewin et al. 1939; Loukas et al. 2005; McFadyen-Ketchum et al. 1996; Miller-Lewis et al. 2006; NICHD Early Child Care Research Network 2004; O’Leary et al. 1999; Prinzie et al. 2006; Rimm-Kaufman et al. 2007; Romano et al. 2005; Rubin et al. 2003; Ryan & Stiller 1991; Scaramella et al. 2008; Schultz & Khan 1982; Shaw et al. 2003; Spieker et al. 1999; Stormshak et al. 2000; Tremblay 2004; Tremblay et al. 2004; Underwood et al. 2009; Veenstra et al. 2006.) (For a full review, see Porter, 2014.)
Where to from here?
If you would like to learn more about The Phoenix Cups® Framework we suggest these places to start:
This book is written by Sandi Phoenix and Christopher Phoenix and explains the many theories, philosophies, and science that underpins the framework.
ISBN: 9780648705819, 0648705811
Reference: Phoenix, S., & Phoenix, C. (2019). The Phoenix cups: A Cup Filling Story . Wellington Point: Phoenix Support Publishing.
A workbook to help you understand children's behaviour and implement a life changing framework to build relationships, and foster educational environments where everyone can thrive. This workbook also comes with an online course.
Reference: Phoenix, S. (2022). Educator Toolkit for Behaviour. Wellington Point: Phoenix Support Publishing.
A5 mini booklet (or ebook) with full colour pages which will give you a full overview of The Phoenix Cups® framework including what the Cups are, what does the Will to Fill™ and Skill to Fill™ mean, and what is a Phoenix Cups® profile, plus instructions and tips to fill out and develop a Cup filling plan for your wellbeing and fulfilment.
ISBN: 9780648705819, 0648705811
Reference: Phoenix, S. (2022). The Phoenix Cups 101: A Brief Guide to The Phoenix Cups Framework . Wellington Point: Phoenix Support Publishing.
ISBN: 9781922419583, 1922419583
Chapter 4 - Connection Seeking by Sandi Phoenix.
Chapter 21 - Parental burnout: You can't pour from an empty Cup - Christopher Phoenix
Reference: Jockel, S., & Ryan, K. (2021) Parents, this is the one thing you need to know. Melbourne: Affirm Press.
The Cupify This! Podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify
The Cupify This! Podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify: Join Sandi and Chris Phoenix, as they dive into the world of psychology and philosophy, with a show aimed towards understanding your basic human needs, how they influence behaviours, and how their framework can help you live a fulfilling life with full Cups.
Reference: Phoenix, C. (2022). The Phoenix Cups. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGyFZ-Nr5ys
Images to use (with Credit)
Articles and Media
Conference presentation: Is Children's Behaviour ours to manage? How to plan for fulfilment instead of positive beahviour. This conference presentation was written and delivered by Sandi Phoenix at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMH) Conference on the Gold Coast in 2022
View the Poster HERE
Phoenix Support for Educators Articles:
Title: Practical strategies for meeting children's need for connection - Elise Waghorn
Reference: Waghorn, E. (2022). Practical strategies for meeting children’s need for connection . Educating Young Children: Learning and Teaching in the Early Childhood Years, 28(1), 21–23.
Title: Discovering your pedagogy through your documentation - Tara Hill, Sand Phoenix, Angie Day
Reference: Day, A,, Hill, T., & Phoenix, S. (2022). Discovering your pedagogy through your documentation . Educating Young Children: Learning and Teaching in the Early Childhood Years, 28(1), 32–34.
Title: From behaviour 'management' to fostering wellbeing - a way forward - Sandi Phoenix
Reference: Phoenix, S. (2021). From Behaviour 'Management' to Fostering Wellbeing - a Way Forward. Educating Young Children , (Vol 27, 2).
A more "Cups" version of this article can be found in Early Edition here on Page 23 https://issuu.com/childcarequeensland/docs/aca_ee_spring_2021_digital_
Reference: Phoenix, S. (2022). From Behaviour 'Management' to Fostering Wellbeing - a Way Forward. Australian Childcare Alliance Queensland: Early Edition , (Spring - 2021), 23.
Title: Attention seeking: What is it really? - Sandi Phoenix
Reference: Phoenix, S. (2020). “Attention seeking”: What is it really? Educating Young Children: Learning and Teaching in the Early Childhood Years, 26(2), 27–30.
Title: Work-life balance or life-needs balance - Christopher Phoenix
Reference: Phoenix, C. (2020). Work-life balance or life-needs balance . Educating Young Children: Learning and Teaching in the Early Childhood Years, 26(2), 40–41.
Title: How to not hate Mondays - Christopher Phoenix
Title: The day we met jet pack man: A story about 'Fun Cup' filling - Sandi Phoenix
Reference: Phoenix, S. (2018). The day we met jet pack man: A story about “fun cup” filling . Educating Young Children: Learning and Teaching in the Early Childhood Years, 24(3), 5–6.
Title: The advocate for childhood - Sandi Phoenix