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Al’s Pals builds social skills and helps reduce behavior problems

Al’s Pals builds social skills and helps reduce behavior problems

Pre-K classrooms are full of energetic, independence-seeking 4 and 5 year old explorers. They are in a phase of constant learning, testing theories, exploring skills like friendship and emotional regulation, and growing at a rapid pace. This comes with struggles and triumphs that often show up through big behaviors and struggles to slow their bodies and brains long enough to focus on learning activities. Sometimes these skills just aren’t present and are impacted by a range of outside influences. COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the social skills of these kids.


Through a Smart Start Innovation Grant, our Early Childhood Mental Health therapists researched appropriate curriculum, and implemented an 8 week social skills group. Therapists introduced new social skills and emotional regulation tools through the use of the Al’s Pals curriculum. Children participated in engaging weekly lessons with their friend Al, a friendly puppet who taught them about emotions, how to handle big feelings, and ways to problem solve and get along with friends. Additional supports were given to practice these skills at home. Filling these skills gaps now will help ensure better kindergarten readiness and success.


‘The excitement these sessions created was immediate with the kids always asking “when are you coming again?”‘ Early Childhood Therapist.