Social groups at Wings for Learning build self-awareness and celebrate neurodiversity. Members learn to connect with themselves and the broader community while practicing teamwork and collaboration skills. Although each social group has a unique goal, each group infuses executive function, social, and language supports.
Roots & Shoots in Houston Boots instills leadership skills as defined in the Compassionate Leadership Skills rubric created by Roots & Shoots International. The group meets for 4 Thursdays and 6 Saturdays each semester and spends about half of the sessions volunteering in the community.
Connection Builders focuses on the building blocks for creating relationships with others.
ROOTS & SHOOTS IN HOUSTON BOOTS
In spring of 2018, Jessica, Heather and Amanda attended South by Southwest Education conference in Austin. They were immersed in discussions about innovative educational practices including inquiry-based and student-led learning with creative thinking professionals from around the country and the world. It became apparent that students with learning differences were not included in these conversations. Seeing an opportunity to fill a community need, the idea for founding Roots & Shoots in Houston Boots was born.
At Roots & Shoots in Houston Boots, members are guided to explore characteristics of compassionate leaders using Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots framework, which focuses on introspection, acting with a purpose, thinking critically, empathy, collaboration and communication, teamwork, inspiring others, optimism, and adaptability and resilience. The following learning approaches are infused: 21st century skills, inquiry-based learning, language and communication supports, social emotional learning, relationship building, and executive functions.
PAST SERVICE PROJECTS
Buffalo Bayou Clean-up
Books Between Kids
Kid's Meals Houston
SEARCH Homeless Services
Houston Food Bank
PAST COMMUNITY OUTINGS
Downtown Mural Tour
Buffalo Bayou boat tour
Sam Houston National Forest
Connection Builders was created in response to families who had received social intervention in clinics but not seeing a generalization of the interpersonal and teamwork skills that help us be successful in relationships and when collaborating with others.
The group is community-based and focuses on building self-awareness and awareness of others as members learn to leverage their own strengths while appreciating those of others in a team setting. Each session ends with a community service project or an activity that serves others. Throughout the semester, members are exposed to strategic thinking frameworks, actively participate in project planning, and invited to reflect on various measures of success as determined by the group. It is facilitated by Speech and Language Pathologist and Special Education teacher who are able to provide dynamic, in-the-moment supports.
Connection Builders meets 6 times each semester and is designed for students under 12 years old. We see this program as a perfect stepping stone into our groups for older teens because members build foundational skills required for being out in the community and part of a larger group.