Sunflower Teen Exposure Programs

Sunflower Teen Exposure Program (STEP) 2022-23

Sunflower Bakery will offer our teen baking classes and work exposure for students in high school ages 16 through graduation, with a variety of learning disabilities, ADHD, high-functioning autism or Asperger Syndrome. These classes are a wonderful real-time opportunity to experience baking in a professional kitchen, learn basic baking skills, safe food handling, kitchen safety, and have a taste of job expectations. All classes will be held at our location in Rockville at 5951 Halpine Road.

Topics covered include following recipes, measuring and weighing ingredients, using equipment and tools, piping, mixing, scooping, rolling and cleaning. Students will be introduced to “soft skills” desired by employers in the food industry, such as following directions, sharing equipment/tools, appropriate communication, focus and being a team member. In our production bakery alongside professional chefs, teens are exposed to a real work environment.

Sunflower’s STEP is approved under the Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) program of the Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) to provide our teen bakery exposure classes. If your son or daughter has signed up with DORS for the Pre-ETS program, then you should inform your counselor that you plan to apply for one of our classes, so DORS can begin the approval process. There will be no needs assessment in order to qualify. If you live in Maryland and have not yet signed up for Pre-ETS, please contact the nearest office of the Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services, DORS, for assistance.

Students will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis for each session. All students must be at least 16 years old by the beginning of the session for which they are registered. In order to ensure safety from COVID-19, all students must be either fully vaccinated at least 2 weeks before the starting date for the session attending or have an approved medical or religious exemption. Proof of vaccination will be required. Guidelines may change as provided by the CDC or Montgomery County.

Enrollment through June 2023 is CLOSED. There will be 8 sessions between August 2022 and June 2023 and they are fully enrolled. The curriculum will be the same for all sessions. Each session will consist of four consecutive Sunday classes from 12:30-3pm.

Safety is of utmost concern in a kitchen with industrial equipment and sharp tools. Potential risk factors include uncontrolled seizures, difficulties with balance, control of anger or frustration, sensitivity to sensory irritants, and/or inability to remain standing throughout the 2½-hour class. If a student requires 1:1 assistance, their personal support person may attend the class. Generally, teens are expected to participate as one of 4 students with a professional Chef Instructor and two assistants.

The 2022-2023 sessions are now full. Please contact us at if you would like to add your teen’s name to a list to receive more information on future classes once scheduled, or if you have any questions or concerns.