Al’s Pals Has Reached Thousands of Alexandria Children

children, health, social skills

Page archived as of November 23, 2015

Recognizing Twelve Years of Early Childhood Prevention Programing: Al’s Pals Has Reached Thousands of Alexandria Children

For Immediate Release: October 29, 2015

Over the past 12 years, 4,998 Alexandria children aged three to five have made great strides in decreasing problem behaviors and developing their social skills, thanks to the friendly puppets in the Al’s Pals: Kids Making Healthy Choices Program offered by the Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS).  Of these children, an average of 65 percent has shown improvement in social skills, and an average of 60 percent have maintained or reduced problem behaviors.

In the 2014-2015 school year Al’s Pals was implemented in 37 preschool classrooms city-wide, made possible by grants from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth.  Al’s Pals is a science-based program that helps develop personal, social and emotional skills through 46 interactive lessons utilizing puppets, songs and engaging activities that teach children to be good decision makers.

Al’s Pals teaches lessons such as expressing feelings, caring about others, using self-control, thinking independently, accepting differences, and making safe and healthy choices. Preschoolers connect with the puppets and the songs, which help recall and apply key skills and concepts.

DCHS was awarded another three-year grant from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth to continue this valuable program through June, 2018.

During the last fiscal year, 518 children completed Al’s Pals. Of these, an average of 60 percent (309) improved their pro-social skills and an average of 64 percent (332) showed improvement or no increase in problem behavior.

Prevention and early intervention programs increase protective factors and decrease significant risk factors, which together help to improve school readiness and positive outcomes across the developmental spectrum.   

In addition to the Al’s Pals program, the Preschool Prevention Team provides preschool staff workshops, parent workshops, child and classroom observations, parent and staff consultations, child and family therapy sessions and caregiver/child playgroups.

For more information, contact Preschool Prevention Team Supervisor Lib Gillam at 703.746.6009 or