Developed by the Children’s Learning Institute at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth Houston), Play and Learning Strategies (PALS) is a preventive intervention program to strengthen the bond between parent and child and to stimulate early language, cognitive, and social development. Throughout the program, there is also an emphasis on educating parents about expected typical behaviors from children at different ages.
The PALS program is facilitated by a trained parent coach (also known as a specialist which is an early childhood professional who provides coaching, mentoring and/or training, to support practitioners and other professionals in continuous quality improvement efforts) who supports the parent in applying specific responsive strategies. In coaching sessions, PALS uses videotaped examples of real parents and children to demonstrate each concept and allows the parent to critique these examples before practicing the new skills with their own child. Guided practice opportunities during each session help parents move from watching and listening, to talking, and finally to doing.
PALS infant (5-15 months) curriculum consists of 11 sessions and our toddler (18 months-4 years) curriculum consists of 14 sessions. Used in home-visiting programs across the state of Texas and in various other states, PALS continues to be adapted and used with a variety of populations, including in group settings.
Session topics include: