From their earliest moments, children observe life around them. They gather what is expected of them and what they need to do in order for people to approve and show affection. Some succeed early on to express and impress to receive that approval, while many others struggle in those attempts to fit into a world that does not easily accept or understand them.
Self-esteem suffers when a child begins to see themself as a failure or as imperfect. Children can and should practice all kinds of social skills like making eye contact or waiting their turn to speak. While these tactical skills are an integral part of matriculating into society, if children don't also find self-respect and joy, they run the risk of becoming robots instead of people. Experience has taught me it is possible to guide children to alternative behaviors without destroying what makes them unique. Seeking this through creative endeavors is one powerful way to help children realize their potential.
When we invite children to think reflectively, it nurtures their confidence. As they acknowledge their strengths, they learn to appreciate themselves and explore the world in their own way without fear. Whether it's through art or conversation, creative expression is not just an emotional outlet, but an act of empowerment.
What makes a social skills group setting truly remarkable is that kids learn to shift from me to we. Through sharing and collaboration, they are able to navigate struggles together. They grow stronger in the knowledge that they are not alone.
Pursuing their goals in a caring, trusting environment ultimately leads to mutual success with their peers.
It is my intention that every child who crosses our threshold feels safe, valued, and learns to explore the best ways to feel confident and happy. They will know that they are welcome here and that we are glad to see them. Along with empathy and self-acceptance, they will develop the two most important qualities they need to support their success; resilience and courage. When children discover these things for themselves, they learn that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. They will discover that life can be different. It can be better. It can be wonderful.