Program Design and Implementation Support
Al’s Pals promotes resiliency in early childhood with explicit instruction to develop social competence, autonomy, and problem solving. Al’s Pals is designed for use with children three to eight years old. It includes 46 core lessons and 9 booster lessons. Each lesson lasts approximately 10-15 minutes, with two lessons implemented per week. Children learn to get along with others, use self-control, accept differences, resolve conflicts peacefully, cope, and make healthy choices. Al’s Pals lessons incorporate SEL concepts into academic content areas typically taught in early childhood including numeracy, literacy, and the scientific method. Teachers learn ways to establish an accepting, caring, cooperative classroom environment that fosters children’s positive social-emotional growth and development. In addition, the program offers extensive suggestions and materials for generalizing and practicing new skills in class beyond the lesson. Letters to parents, to be sent home after select lessons, are also designed to reinforce new skills. Al’s Pals provides brief suggestions for adapting the lessons based on different cultures represented in the classroom. Initial training for Al’s Pals is either done in-person (two days) or online (seven two-hour sessions). Training is required, and Al’s Pals offers a train-the-trainer system to support sustainability.
Evidence of Effectiveness
Al’s Pals has been evaluated in three quasi-experimental studies, the largest of which included 37 classes. Students have been followed over the course of a single year.