Stepping Stones helps children of all ages to develop the social skills they need to make and keep friends. Stepping Stones is effective because of two critical factors:
- Parents meet in their own groups in tandem with their child’s group to learn skills they can practice at home with their child.
- The children and parents work diligently on skill development over a period of several months for the skills to take hold.
Stepping Stones is divided into phases, each one addressing a particular skill or set of skills in a step-by-step approach, beginning with basic social skills and moving on to more challenging ones. The program is designed to concentrate intensely on one skill at a time, thereby ensuring each skill is learned and easily practiced at home, at school and in the neighborhood. Parents learn techniques, strategies and exercises to help reinforce acquired skills.
Some of the building blocks of Stepping Stones are:
- Getting started/setting goals/developing a baseline
- Joining in/making a good first impression
- Communicating and conversing
- Actively listening
- Reading the body language and facial expressions of others
- Raising self-esteem
- Coping effectively with teasing and bullying
- Understanding the thoughts and feelings of others
- Managing stress
- Solving social problems effectively
- Resolving conflicts peacefully
- Managing anger and regulating emotions/coping skill development
“Dad and I have seen a lot of positive changes in you, your behavior and even your attitude since you began the group. The first thing we noticed was how much better you were able to sit still and pay attention in church, at home, and even at school. You have really improved in your conversation skills too. You ask thoughtful questions, you maintain eye contact, and you stop yourself from interrupting others. These are all very difficult skills to master, but you have done it!”
—Ann, Stepping Stones Mom