Clover Model

The Clover Model for Youth Development

The Clover Model is a youth development framework created by Dr. Gil Noam at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School as part of The PEAR Institute: Partnerships in Education and Resilience, a nonprofit that partners with school districts, out-of-school time programs, and youth-serving organizations to promote social-emotional development in the service of student engagement, academic achievement, and life success. Building on the disciplines of social and emotional learning (SEL) and resiliency, the Clover Model is a Developmental Process Theory of social-emotional development that describes the growth of emotional, interpersonal, and resiliency skills and competencies essential to success and thriving throughout life from infancy through adulthood.

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Clover Modelactive engagementassertivenessbelongingreflection

Breakdown by Domain

Domain Key


Key Features

Context & Culture

  • Notes that the intention of the model is not to change a student's personality or temperament, but to help them balance their areas of strength and challenge them to develop in each domain
  • Acknowledges that school, afterschool, and home are important and essential contexts where educators and practitioners can support the development of Clover domains

Developmental Perspective

  • Acknowledges that development is unique for each individual and influenced by both biological and environmental factors, and each person's "clover" may look different
  • Designed based on the theory that development across the four domains is intersecting, overlapping, and oftentimes complementary rather than sequential or linear
  • Provides a developmental progression for each of the four domains across four stages (early childhood/preschool, middle childhood/elementary school, early adolescence/middle school, and late adolescence/high school) and notes which stage may be a particular "time of specialization" for each domain

Associated Outcomes

  • Cites evidence linking non-academic factors in general to academic and life success

Available Resources

Support Materials

  • PEAR offers site-based consultations and professional development trainings based on the Clover Model
  • Various research articles published over the last decade show the history and evolution of the framework over time (e.g., Noam & Malti, 2008; Malti & Noam, 2009; Noam, Malti & Karcher, 2013; Noam & Triggs, 2016)

Programs & Strategies

  • Describes general practices and activities that support development in each domain
  • Advocates for a strength-based approach to helping students develop and strengthen competencies
  • Currently piloting Clover Groups, which are Clover Model-based social-emotional development curricula designed to help youth build social-emotional competencies through relationships with adults and peers

Measurement Tools

  • The Holistic Student Assessment (HSA) is a 61-item student self-report survey based on the Clover Model that measures the social-emotional development of young people in school and afterschool settings
  • Several variations of the HSA are in development to capture the perspectives of teachers, afterschool practitioners, and family on youth's social-emotional development

Key Publications

  • Noam, G.G. & Triggs, B. (2018). The Clover Model: A developmental process theory of social-emotional development. Retrieved from:
  • PEAR Institute website:
  • Malti, T. & Noam, G. G. (2009). A developmental approach to the prevention of adolescent's aggressive behavior and the promotion of resilience. International Journal of Developmental Science, 3(3), 235-246. Retrieved from:
  • Noam, G. G. & Malti, T. (2008). Responding to the crisis: RALLY's developmental and relational approach. New Directions for Youth Development, 2008(120), 31Ð55. Retrieved from:
  • Noam, G. G., Malti, T. & Karcher, M. J. (2013). Mentoring relationships in developmental perspective. In D. L. DuBois & M. J. Karcher (Eds.), The handbook of youth mentoring (2nd ed., 99-115). Los Angeles, CA: SAGE.
  • Noam, G. G. & Triggs, B. (2016). Positive developments during the transition to adulthood. In R. A. Scott & S. M. Kosslyn (Eds.), Emerging trends in the social and behavioral sciences, 1-15. Retrieved from

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