If a child is not reading on grade level by third grade,
they are four times more likely
to drop out of high school.
90% of brain development occurs by age five,
thus making the first five years of life a critical window for learning.
By age three, children from families on welfare have been exposed on average to one-third the number of words as children from high-income families,
a deficit of 30 million words.
of Houston children under the age of five live in poverty.
Children who do not have access to stimulating learning environments may be as much as
18 months behind their peers
when they start kindergarten.
Small Steps has implemented an approach to early childhood education called SET (Social Emotional Tools) for Life©, created by Michelle M. Forrester, PhD, which emphasizes a relationship- and language-based format to address the social and emotional needs of children. Small Steps employs four SET for Life team members: the Director of Student and Family Support and two SET Therapists—all with graduate-level degrees in fields related to mental health (requiring advanced licensure)—and a SET Interventionist. Additionally, Small Steps will partner with outside providers to offer student and/or family support, including mental health services, occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, early childhood intervention, and other community resources.SET for Life
Small Steps provides a secure, welcoming environment with predictable routines so children can worry less about unexpected challenges, allowing them to focus on playing and learning. Most of our families experience food insecurity, and Small Steps aims to fulfill the majority of each student’s daily nutritional needs during the school day. The neighborhoods in which our families live have almost no safe green space for children to run and play; Small Steps provides space for children to develop their motor skills and social skills as well as to connect with nature. For most low-income families, getting their children to an early childhood education program every day can be difficult due to work schedules or lack of transportation. Small Steps provides daily transportation to and from school for approximately 20 percent of our students.
Small Steps is accredited by AdvancED- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the leading accrediting organization for schools across the educational spectrum. The accreditation process ensures that we are held to the highest standards as well as continuously improving our program. The school maintains a low teacher to child ratio of approximately one to eight and utilizes the project approach to learning, which allows for the integration of each piece of our curricula. At Small Steps, language development is at the core of all learning activities. Our teachers also promote science, math concepts, and critical thinking skills through problem solving, observations, sorting activities, and investigations.
Small Steps was founded on the belief that we serve children in need as an expression of God’s love and treat each person as a unique creation. We demonstrate love to students through close relationships with teachers and through compassion shown by volunteers who support our program. Our program includes weekly chapel, prayer before meals, and daily staff devotionals.
Small Steps intentionally creates opportunities to strengthen relationships and foster a community of sharing, learning, and growing with our students’ families. To complete a minimum of 10 tuition hours (15 if more than one student) each school year, parents can attend parent education events, volunteer, or participate in other parent engagement opportunities. Teachers also conduct home visits with our families at the beginning of the school year to better understand family dynamics, observe the home environment, and identify family needs.