Head Start

Al’s Pals: Kids Making Healthy Choices is a comprehensive early childhood curriculum and teacher training program that helps Head Start programs achieve Head Start Performance Standards such as supporting the social and emotional development of children. The Al’s Pals lessons and teaching approaches that address feelings, positive relationships, impulse control, brainstorming, safe and healthy choices, and problem-solving help Head Start teachers create classrooms that build trust, foster independence, encourage self-control and cultivate respect. Al’s Pals curriculum content areas align well with the Head Start Outcome Indicators (click for Correlation Chart).

Like Head Start, Wingspan places a high value on parent involvement. The Al’s Pals kit includes parent letters that update parents about skills the children are learning and suggest home activities to reinforce these concepts. Teachers are supplied with school-to-home “Al-a-gram” message pads that recognize children’s positive behaviors and progress. Our parent education program, Here, Now and Down the Road…Tips for Loving Parents, helps parents learn how to further reinforce the concepts of Al’s Pals, enhances the parent-child relationship and helps parents guide their children toward safe, healthy and productive lifestyles.

Wingspan has conducted extensive research studies in Head Start classrooms. Results indicate that children in Head Start who participate in Al’s Pals show significant increases in positive social behaviors such as sharing and taking turns, while other Head Start children who do not receive the program do not show these gains. Due to these positive research findings, Al’s Pals received the highest ratings for evidence of effectiveness and child outcomes in the systematic review of social-emotional curricula commissioned by the Federal Office of Head Start.  A synopsis of the Social-Emotional Preschool Curriculum Consumer Report can be viewed here.

Al’s Pals is a valuable tool to help Head Start programs meet their goal of helping children “gain the skills and confidence necessary to be prepared to succeed in their present environment and with later responsibilities in school and life.”