School Readiness

Al’s Pals: Kids Making Healthy Choices and Al’s Caring Pals: A Social Skills Toolkit for Home Child Care Providers are comprehensive approaches to build the social, emotional, and behavioral aspects of school readiness. Young children who lack competence in these areas are more likely to experience academic difficulty, and to be retained in the early elementary years. Some national studies estimate that over 40% of all kindergarten students are not “ready to learn.” Typically, teachers’ concerns center around conduct problems and impulse control.

Al’s Pals and Al’s Caring Pals teach children to identify and manage feelings, calm down, empathize, listen to each other, brainstorm, take turns, cooperate, and use self-control — skills needed for success in the early years of school. In training, educators and child care providers learn how to role model and reinforce children’s positive social behaviors. As children internalize new competencies, they become able to identify and manage their feelings, solve problems peacefully, and regulate their behavior. As a result, educators can spend more time teaching and less time managing behavior. Here, Now and Down the Road…Tips for Loving Parents teaches parents strategies to help children practice these same skills at home.