Stepping Stones is a not-for-profit organization registered in Shanghai, China.
Stepping Stones was founded in 2006 in order to organize volunteers to teach English in Shanghai’s primary schools for migrants in response to requests from schools’ principals, which struggled to provide a reasonable standard of English teaching to their students.
English is one of the three core subjects in the Chinese school curriculum, and the one that poses most challenges to rural and migrant children. The majority of migrant children do not make it to senior high school, and only a small handful are able to make the grade to attend university. Improvement of basic education is the key to helping children from rural areas to attend senior high school and university, and thereby improve the future prospects of rural families.
English level is therefore the biggest differentiator between urban and rural Chinese children, and this above all perpetuates the gap in educational and employment opportunities.
Shanghai benefits from a large expatriate and local English-speaking community, many of whom are eager for meaningful volunteering opportunities. Stepping Stones was founded to match this rich resource to a real need in the community. Stepping Stones recruits, trains, coordinates, and supports hundreds of volunteers to teach thousands of students in more than 30 migrant schools and community centers in Shanghai and Zhejiang province and more than a dozen of schools in rural China (Jiangsu, Anhui, Henan and Zhejiang provinces).
Stepping Stones is proud that classes taught by his volunteers been proven to increase students exam results, increase their confidence and interest in English, better prepare students for their key examinations, and expose youth to cross-cultural programming and the virtues of volunteerism.
Over the years, Stepping Stones has expanded its field of activity. It now carries out a wide range of programs that focus on children’s education and health.
English Teaching Programs
- Stepping Stones’ vision is equal access to a quality education and general welfare for all children in China.
- Stepping Stones’ mission is to improve the education and general welfare of disadvantaged children in China.
Our Program Objectives
- To increase students’ confidence and self-esteem;
- To optimise students’ access to better quality education and work opportunities in the future;
- To connect communities to promote inter-cultural understanding;
- To promote responsible and high impact volunteering
October 2006 – Stepping Stones’ work begins under the Loving Heart Association. 3 volunteers begin to teach at Aixin School for migrants in Shanghai Minhang.
March 2007 – Stepping Stones hosts its first volunteering weekend in rural China
December 2007 – Website launched to recruit volunteers and support them with online teaching resources
April 2008 – English First supports Stepping Stones with volunteer training
May 2008– Stepping Stones gets its name!
September 2008 – Standard orientation sessions implemented for every new volunteer
October 2008 – First eye care program at Jinhu School in Minhang
February 2009 – First major donation allows Stepping Stones to hire its first full-time Program Coordinator
July 2009 – Stepping Stones launches its first Summer program
December 2009 – HuaQiao Foundation donates office space to Stepping Stones
March 2012 – Stepping Stones secures funding from Shanghai Soong Ching Ling Foundation
6 December 2013 – Stepping Stones is registered as a non-profit organisation in Shanghai
July 2015 – Stepping Stones begins teacher training in Shanghai migrant schools
June 2016 – Stepping Up is launched – a new computer and life skills training program