Substance Abuse Prevention

Wingspan programs provide comprehensive substance abuse prevention strategies for the early childhood years that build skills in children, enhance the capacity of parents, educators, and child care providers, and create positive climate change in home, school, and child care environments.

Al’s Pals: Kids Making Healthy Choices – nationally recognized as a model substance abuse prevention program for young children – and Al’s Caring Pals: A Social Skills Toolkit for Home Child Care Providers teach children critical skills connected in the resilience research to future drug-free choices – self-control, empathy, communication skills, healthy decision-making, coping, and effective problem-solving. Eight Al’s Pals lessons specifically target safe and healthy choices that help children learn to differentiate between safe and harmful substances and situations including tobacco, alcohol, inhalants, and other substances. Here, Now and Down the Road . . . Tips for Loving Parents and Al’s Caring Pals help teach parents and child care providers ways to guide children toward healthy, drug-free lifestyles and learn to give clear messages regarding the risks of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

In training, educators, parents, and child care providers learn strategies to embed protective factors into the classroom, home or child care environment, that buffer children from risk factors that increase the likelihood of future substance abuse. Though particularly helpful for children considered at-risk, all children benefit when adults communicate clear norms, respond to sensitive issues such as disclosure of familial substance abuse, and guide problem-solving.