Our Program

Small Steps Nurturing Center provides a high-quality education, social and emotional support, a nurturing Christian environment, transportation, and nutritious meals to economically at-risk children ages two through six living in the Fifth Ward and surrounding areas of inner-city Houston, Texas.

The Need

Early intervention through early childhood education programs is a cost-effective way to invest in children and prepare them to learn the academic and life skills they need to become contributing members of society. Ninety percent of brain development occurs by age five, thus making the first five years of life a critical window for learning. The need for early intervention in these early years is especially great for children living in poverty. These children often experience high levels of stress, which affect their brains and can interfere with their ability to learn.

Small Steps Program Elements


Social and Emotional Growth

268A6229Small 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 three full-time master’s level SET for Life Program Specialists to meet the needs of Small Steps students. Additionally, Small Steps partners with outside providers to give parents the opportunity to have their children’s needs met. These services may include mental health, occupational, speech, and/or physical therapy services.

SET for Life


Physical Growth

DSC06823Small Steps provides students with two meals and a snack Mondays through Thursdays and two meals on Fridays (due to early dismissal), fulfilling the majority of their daily nutritional needs. Students have a safe, spacious playground at Small Steps where they can run and play, as well as a fruit and vegetable garden that provide students with an additional opportunity to connect with nature. Small Steps also provides transportation in staff-driven vans to approximately one-third of our students, who would otherwise have no way of getting to and from school.


Intellectual Growth


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. Small Steps also provides speech therapy to qualifying students with an on-site speech pathologist, as well as support with special education referrals and evaluations. 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.


Spiritual Growth

Jensen Christmas ChapelOur nurturing community demonstrates love to students through close relationships with their primary teachers and encouragement of students to take risks in a safe environment. Our program includes weekly chapel and incorporates the Godly Play curriculum in the classroom to teach children about the wonder of God.




IMG_3129Small Steps intentionally creates opportunities to strengthen relationships and foster a community of sharing, learning, and growing with our students’ families. Parents are required to volunteer a total of ten hours each school year, and families host teachers two times a year during home visits. Small Steps offers a parent education program, which educates and encourages parents to be involved in their children’s learning, well-being, and development.