For many years the United Way of Greater St. Joseph has brought business and community leaders to the table, together, for early childhood success. Called Success By 6, this initiative fosters community-wide partnerships to prepare young children for future success. The program works with parents, childcare providers, early education teachers, and local businesses to reach its goals. This also means coordinating a network for directors of early care and education. St. Joseph Youth Alliance also shares early childhood education as a focus and works with area childcare providers in 11 counties to offer customized technical assistance. The St. Joseph YWCA also helps area child development centers enhance the quality of services, including facilitating a nutrition education and meal program so that young minds have the fuel they need. CAP St. Joe unites parents, educators and community members for its Head Start and Early Head Start programs, with success built upon continuing, progressive education and training for all team members.
The St. Joseph School District has recognized the critical power of early childhood education for decades. The program helps establish measureable skills and milestones needed to help children succeed fully in school — across all abilities and income levels. The curriculum addresses the needs shared by parents, administrators, and teachers and aligns with the Missouri Early Learning Standards utilizing the High Scope Curriculum Framework. Parents as Teachers is an active extension of this belief, with weekly on-site group enrichment activities and a strong home-visit program. St. Joseph private schools offer early childhood education, with a focus on establishing an academic foundation for future greatness, as well as a foundation in faith.
INNOVATION ON AN INCLUSIVE LEVEL
Helping children and adults with disabilities, UCP of Northwest Missouri has served families in St. Joseph and the surrounding areas since 1968. With a Children’s Program, an Adult Program and Employment Services, UCP of Northwest Missouri serves more than 400 families with children or adults with disabilities each year. The UCP preschool offers children with and without disabilities a chance to learn, play and grow together as part of our city’s early childhood resources. The innovative “Under the Sea” play area has many unique sensory features — and the teachers and staff at UCP engage in multi-level professional training and continuing education. Head Start, Early Head Start and the School District preschools also serve children with disabilities. The new Jumpin’ Jungle play area, located just behind the YMCA North Campus, offers sensory learning, music stations, unique swings and play equipment designed for children of all abilities.
PRESCHOOLS AND LEARNING CENTERS
Across our city, you’ll find an open door to quality early childhood educational resources. Options include St. Joseph School District preschools, Cathedral of St. Joseph, St. Joseph Christian and St. Paul Lutheran. Long-standing names like Wyatt Park Christian and St. James continue to have full programs on flexible schedules. The YMCA early childhood program and the YWCA Discovery Child Care program offer many payment options. Head Start and Early Head Start have experienced teachers and innovative, inclusive classroom activities at several locations. And this is just the beginning.