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Title: An evaluation of PALS (Play and Learning to Socialise) in primary school settings in Ireland
Author: Jones, Valerie
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 4166
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2010
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Background: Social and emotional competence is an important factor which aids the development of positive peer relationships. Children who present with internalising or externalising behaviour have often been shown to have difficulty forming positive peer relationships. Research into this area has focused on the importance of early years interventions to support these children. One intervention that aims to develop the competencies in such children is the play and learning to socialise (PALS) social skills programme. Aims: This mixed methods research sought to examine the effectiveness and feasibility of PALS in a number of primary school settings in Ireland with a view to exploring whether it impacted positively on the children selected for participation. Participants and method: Ninety children, male or female, aged between four and six, were selected from fifteen primary schools. Six children from each school were selected and schools were assigned to either the intervention or waiting list/control group. Eight staff members and twelve parents, two from each school in the intervention group, were interviewed post PALS to explore their perceived effectiveness of the programme. Data was gathered pre and post intervention from both groups using a fixed interval observation schedule and two behaviour rating forms (Child Social Behaviour Questionnaire and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire). Results: Results of the study indicate that PALS was effective in reducing certain negative behaviours and increasing positive, social interactions in children selected for participation. Empathy and children's ability to identify feelings was an area outlined as needing further development in the PALS programme. Conclusions: This research highlighted the importance of developing social and emotional competencies in all children. It also emphasised the importance of supporting staff members and parents in this area to equip them with the skills needed to support those children presenting with internalising or externalising behaviours.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available