What’s the connection between Ice Cream and Social Skills? Ask the students at IVDU LI who learned how to make homemade ice cream by working together as a group, following a group plan, and taking a role in the ice cream-making process.

Weekly social skills groups at IVDU LI this year are based on the Social Thinking Curriculum by Michelle Garcia-Winner. The method is known for its social-cognitive approach, which teaches a lot more than the typical eye contact and turn taking skills that make up other social skills programs.

Our students are learning to think like social detectives, to notice what others may be thinking and feeling and to understand how their actions affect those around them. While learning to notice “the group plan,” our groups, led by social work interns Sashi Hoschander and Sophia Blumenthal, read books that emphasized these lessons, and did collaborative activities like ice cream-making to practice these essential social skills, in-vivo.

At IVDU LI, social skills teaching is embedded throughout the school day, and all staff are trained to maximize real-life teaching moments with the hopes of shaping the next generation of social thinkers.