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New Joplin Early Childhood Center Offers Special Services and Sp - KOAM TV 7

New Joplin Early Childhood Center Offers Special Services and Space for Growth

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Joplin, MO -

An open house lets the public see inside Joplin’s new Early Childhood Center.
The school district held a ribbon cutting this afternoon for the center located on South McClelland just north of Irving elementary.
An open house was held from five to seven.

The $9.7 million dollar early childhood center creates more space to serve another thirty to fifty students next year making sure they’re all ready for kindergarten.

In one room on Thursday, kids were cleaning up  toys in a class room at the  new early childhood center.
Social and behavior skills are part of the program for kids who are referred here.
Director Mindy St. Clair explained, “Through Parents As Teachers, we identify children to attend the school here so we can better prepare them for kindergarten.  And we work on things such as letter sounds, letters, numbers. We also  help them with  language skills. We help them with social skills and learning to get along with each other.

But it is  not all academics based. Physical therapist Kayla Spencer works with special needs students here.
Spencer is thrilled with the new building. She said, "Just to have a permanent space is such a game changer. We have been in several different locations, but to have a beautiful state of the art facility with everything our kids need has just, its wonderful. We can’t wait."

There's a room for all students to work on gross motor skills. And every part of the hallway is used for play based learning nooks or places for children to create. And the new building puts all early childhood services together under one roof for better communication.


Patty Wheeler, the coordinator for Parents As Teachers explained the benefits.  "Even after we make a referral, we can check with the teacher. How are they doing?  What things do I need to be doing with the family in the home to encourage what you're doing in school? So, it’s just having that open communication more accessible is just gonna make things wonderful."

An area near the center of the building is called the  Learning Grove.  It has a track for kids to ride trikes and sand tables and water tables.

St. Clair said those allow kids, “To play, discover and explore. And it’s also an indoor track so that when the weather is not good outside,  they still have the availability to go to a different space and play.

Spencer's  son attends here now, as did her daughter,  as a peer model.
"They've gotten so many benefits that I wasn’t expecting  as a parent. They’ve built friendships, social skills,  just really gotten them ready for their next steps."

The new facility was built with funds from two community development block grants from the city of Joplin and state of Missouri

 

Before its new permanent home,  early childhood was  located at  Washington Education center, Memorial middle school,  in trailers behind McKinley elementary and then the past year at  the old  Duenweg elementary.
 


 

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