Educators’ Top Choice

All Stepping Stone School families are special. However, we take particular pride in the fact that we are Educators’ Top Choice for preschool.

Parents who are also teachers choose us because they appreciate our expertise and understand the impact of early childhood education on future success — in learning and in life.

Inspired Project

One reason may be the key findings of the Inspired Project – a federal-grant-funded study of the pre-literacy experiences of children in pre-K programs in the Round Rock, Texas, area, as measured through the Phonological Awareness and Literacy Screening [PALS] test.

The study showed that Stepping Stone School pre-K students consistently scored highest on all criteria measured – including ABC upper, beginning sound, the concept of print, name writing, print knowledge, rhyming and verbal memory.

PALS study showing Stepping Stone School students outperforming their peers.

The success of Stepping Stone School’s pre-K students – clearly illustrated by the PALS results – verifies the superior strength of our research-based pre-literacy curriculum.

Educator Recommendations

Educators’ reasons for choosing Stepping Stone School for their own children reach beyond just charts and graphs. Here’s a sampling of what our parents who are also teachers or administrators say about us:

“When we began searching for schools for our son, we looked for kindergarten-readiness. That’s an important piece for me, especially as an educator. I know the value of what you learn prior to entering formal schooling. I like that [Stepping Stone School] is curriculum-driven, I like the fact that it’s structured and that there’s a focus. And it’s all research-based – they definitely know what they’re doing, and have the research and the data to prove it.

“When we go to pick up our older son, he’s three-and-a-half, and he’s got worksheets he’s done during the day. And they’re not just, for example, counting from one to ten, but using that information and applying it. That’s a higher-level skill, and I know that’s what will be expected of him in kindergarten and first grade and on. So the sooner we can get him exposed to that, the better.

“It’s a very caring environment for the children and a very welcoming family atmosphere for us. But his teacher is really an educator. Overall, that’s what Stepping Stone School is about to me – it’s not just a daycare, they’re not just taking care of my child. They are taking good care of him, and they’re taking care of his social and emotional [development], but also concentrating on his academic [growth].”

– Laurelyn A.
Associate High School Principal, Round Rock ISD
two sons at Stepping Stone School

“As a fourth-grade teacher, I can see gaps in the education of some students. I had a child who didn’t know how many days there were in a week. That’s the sort of gap I see every day – all the different things children aren’t getting because they’re missing early education. If they have the fundamental skills really learned, then children don’t have trouble with the secondary grades. But if they don’t, then they struggle every single day.

“As a mom, I don’t want my child to go through that. I want to make sure my daughter is getting the best education ever. When I saw Stepping Stone School’s curriculum, I said, ‘That’s the sort of education I want my child to have.’

“Because once you’ve got that baby in your arms, you’re not going to settle for something; I want everything for her.”

– Hilda D.
Fourth-grade bilingual teacher, Austin ISD
one daughter at Stepping Stone School


My son had come from a daycare that was terrible. Unfortunately, he was there for almost nine months before I realized the situation and got him out. I was worried about his adjustment to a new school, so I enrolled him with Stepping Stone School part-time.

“After telling his teacher what had happened with my son, she kept a close eye on and loving arms out for him. He was fearful at first. His teacher and I kept in contact throughout the day, and she told me of concerns she had with his behavior. Though he started at the new school with fear because of his old daycare, by the end of the first week, he was coming home happy, singing songs, and wanting to go to school – for the first time! He woke up in the morning asking to go see his teacher. I quickly changed his enrollment to full-time because of her.

I’m currently earning my teaching degree, and I’ve learned a lot about what makes a great teacher. My son’s teacher is encouraging, patient, kind, and shows such love and concern for every child. She is just terrific!”

– Susanne J.
Education student
one son at Stepping Stone School


“My son has just finished another great year, and I owe that credit to you and your attentive and patient staff. No matter who the caregiver was for my child this year, my son was treated with respect and his individual needs were important.

Thanks to your knowledgeable staff, my son’s academic progress has soared, his social skills have further developed, and he is potty-trained!

“Words cannot express how thankful my husband and I are that we have someone like you helping to guide our children.”

Debi T.
Gifted & Talented Education Specialist, Austin ISD
one son at Stepping Stone School

“I am writing to share my experience as a Stepping Stone School parent. Being a teacher myself, I am very particular as to where we decide to school our son! This combined with the fact that I have a special-needs child makes it a critical decision to make.

“These factors considered, we chose to make Stepping Stone School the school for our child. The principal and our son’s teachers have done a tremendous job with him. Their patience and understanding in the face of some severe situations has given me a peace of mind that was hard to find. They have gone beyond the call of normal duty in dealing with my son, and he is all the better for it.

“Because of my positive experience, I have become a living advertisement for your schools everywhere I go. I believe in your philosophy, and I believe in your team of teachers at Stepping Stone!”

– CP

I love this school! We are moving away from Austin and I wish I could bring this school with us! I definitely mean SCHOOL as well because the education is visible each and every day, at all ages. I had to put my daughter in full time care as a baby due to returning to work and was so nervous to do so BUT finding stepping stone was a gift! Every day I feel at ease knowing my little one is under the TLC of the staff at SS McNeil-especially with Donna as the director. I also work in education myself and feel that I can say with certainty this is a top-tier program with regard to content, care, and health and safety of the children. There are also many long-time staff members which is NOT easy to do in the field of early childhood. It really speaks to one of the many ways SS is a cut above many other centers or franchises. The owner is also very involved in the Austin community, including membership on austin’s early childhood council. The center is so welcoming, clean, and has joyful and calm energy. The outdoor play space/backyard is absolutely gorgeous. And the teachers TRULY know the little ones and give genuine love and care. Ms. Shafia and Ms. Shwetha, Ms. Katia, Ms. Paula, Ms. Melissa, Ms. Frances, Donna, and everyone on staff: thank you from the bottom of our hearts <3!

-Valerie Williams

It’s commendations like these that confirm our balanced, integrated, research-based approach works best for young children – with educator parents and otherwise – and help make Stepping Stone School the best.