Play and Learning Strategies (PALS)

Entries in this row combine information across all versions of PALS. Only PALS Infant meets HHS criteria for an evidence-based home visiting model. Some other versions of PALS have at least one manuscript about a high- or moderate-quality impact study, but no version of the model other than PALS Infant meets HHS criteria for an evidence-based home visiting model.

Model effectiveness research report last updated: 2019

In brief

Evidence of model effectiveness

PALS Infant meets the criteria established by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for an “evidence-based early childhood home visiting service delivery model” for the general population, but does not meet the criteria for tribal populations because there are no high- or moderate-rated effectiveness studies of the model as implemented with a tribal population.

PALS Toddler/Preschooler and the combination of PALS Infant + Toddler/Preschooler do not meet the HHS  criteria for the general population or for tribal populations because the findings from high- or moderate-rated effectiveness studies of those versions of PALS do not meet all required criteria.

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Model description

Play and Learning Strategies (PALS) is designed to strengthen parent–child bonding and stimulate children’s early language, cognitive, and social development. There are two versions of the model: PALS Infant curriculum for families with children 5 to 18 months, which consists of 10 weekly sessions; and PALS Toddler/Preschooler curriculum for children 18 months through 4 years, which consists of 12 weekly sessions. Both versions are offered through 90-minute home visits conducted by a parent educator. This report also includes a review of PALS Infant + Toddler/Preschooler which refers to the combined Infant + Toddler/Preschooler curricula. Parent educators are required to receive training and certification from the model developer, the Children’s Learning Institute at the University of Texas Health Science Center. The Children’s Learning Institute recommends that PALS be implemented by agencies with sustained funding mechanisms and organizational structures that can support model continuity, such as Head Start, Early Head Start, and not-for-profit early childhood agencies. For more information, please read the Model Overview.

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Extent of evidence

PALS Toddler/Preschooler
Results of search and review
Number of manuscripts
At least one finding was eligible for review…
4
  …and at least one finding rated high
2
  …and at least one finding rated moderate
0
  …and all findings that were eligible for review rated low
1
  …but manuscript is additional source1
1
PALS Infant + Toddler/Preschooler
Results of search and review
Number of manuscripts
At least one finding was eligible for review…
3
  …and at least one finding rated high
2
  …and at least one finding rated moderate
0
  …and all findings that were eligible for review rated low
0
  …but manuscript is additional source1
1
Play and Learning Strategies (PALS) Infant
Results of search and review
Number of manuscripts
At least one finding was eligible for review…
7
  …and at least one finding rated high
3
  …and at least one finding rated moderate (but none rated high)
0
  …and all findings that were eligible for review rated low
1
  …but manuscript is additional source1
3

For more information, see the research database. For more information on the criteria used to rate research, please see details of HomVEE’s methods and standards.

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Summary of findings

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Criteria established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Information based on comprehensive review of all high- and moderate-rated manuscripts
PALS Toddler/Preschooler
CriterionCriterion descriptionCriterion met?
1High- or moderate-quality impact study?Yes
2Across high- or moderate-quality studies, favorable impacts in at least two outcome domains within one sample OR the same domain for at least two non-overlapping samples?Yes
3Favorable impacts on full sample?Yes
4Any favorable impacts on outcome measures sustained at least 12 months after model enrollment?
Reported for all research but only required for RCTs.
No
5One or more favorable, statistically significant impact reported in a peer-reviewed journal?
Reported for all research but only required for RCTs.
Yes
PALS Infant + Toddler/Preschooler
CriterionCriterion descriptionCriterion met?
1High- or moderate-quality impact study?Yes
2Across high- or moderate-quality studies, favorable impacts in at least two outcome domains within one sample OR the same domain for at least two non-overlapping samples?No
3Favorable impacts on full sample?Yes
4Any favorable impacts on outcome measures sustained at least 12 months after model enrollment?
Reported for all research but only required for RCTs.
No
5One or more favorable, statistically significant impact reported in a peer-reviewed journal?
Reported for all research but only required for RCTs.
Yes
Play and Learning Strategies (PALS) Infant
CriterionCriterion descriptionCriterion met?
1High- or moderate-quality impact study?Yes
2Across high- or moderate-quality studies, favorable impacts in at least two outcome domains within one sample OR the same domain for at least two non-overlapping samples?Yes
3Favorable impacts on full sample?Yes
4Any favorable impacts on outcome measures sustained at least 12 months after model enrollment?
Reported for all research but only required for RCTs.
Yes
5One or more favorable, statistically significant impact reported in a peer-reviewed journal?
Reported for all research but only required for RCTs.
Yes

Notes: If the model does not meet criterion 3 but meets criteria 1 and 2 based on findings from subgroups, the impacts must be replicated in the same domain in two or more studies using non-overlapping analytic study samples. HomVEE assesses and reports criteria 4 and 5 for all models that have well-designed research, but meeting those two criteria is only required of models for which all findings are from randomized controlled trials. Please read the HHS criteria for evidence-based models for more information.

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