P.A.L.S. Program (Playing and Learning Support) uses a child associate, under the supervision of the school counselor, to assist students in kindergarten through grade 3 who are experiencing minor school adjustment difficulties.
What is PALS?
PALS is a program for the early detection and prevention of school adjustment issues. It focuses on young children, preschool through grade three, who are experiencing issues that interfere with effective learning; difficulty making and/or keeping friends; low self-esteem; a tendency to act out when faced with a problem rather than trying to solve it; withdrawn behavior; separation issues; lack of confidence or motivation. PALS seeks to help young children make a positive adjustment to the school experience, both educationally and socially.
Children in PALS meet weekly with the child associate individually or in small groups. Literature, toys, games, music and other materials are used in activities that are designed to enhance children’s skills and to teach new social skills and problem-solving strategies.
PALS uses an intervention model based on five key features:
- A focus on primary-grade children who, with early intervention, can improve their adjustment to school.
- Systematic early detection and screening procedures to identify children experiencing problems that interfere with effective learning.
- Clear intervention goals for each child to assess changes in each child’s adjustment.
- Prompt, effective, prevention-oriented support to identified children through the use of a carefully selected, supportive child associate.
- A school-based team which includes teachers, parents, administrators, the school counselor, and a child associate to foster home/school communication.
How are children referred to PALS?
Children are referred to the program in one of three ways:
1. As a result of the screening process—checklists filled out by teachers.
2. Direct teacher referral
3. Parental referral
Beth Harrington, School Counselor