August 2023

St. Louis Region 13 Community Leader Approach

Helping area families ensure their children are safe, healthy, and ready to learn!

Ready Communities

Current work within the Community Leader space has been extended through September 2023.​ Starting in September, the state will continue to invest in Community Leader work through the Early Care and Education Resource and Referral Network Contract.​

United 4 Children, the state's new Early Care and Education Resource and Referral Network, will work with current leader groups to identify between 2 and 4 community leaders in each geographic region ​of Missouri by September 2023.

Community Leaders, in partnership with United 4 Children, identify and connect families with resources that ensure children are safe, healthy, and ready to learn. Community Leaders also coordinate early care and education efforts in their region.

You Can Nominate A Community Leader Here

Are you meeting about early childhood in St. Louis? We want to learn more about you!

One of our St. Louis Community Leader activities is to increase collaboration across entities and to share resources that impact the lives of children and families. We invite you to fill out our survey to help us learn more about when people are convening about early childhood in the St. Louis Region. 

Please complete our brief survey to share details about your organization's meetings by clicking the button below.

Thank You!

Early Childhood Meetings Survey

The St. Louis Area Early Learning Landscape (STL-ELL) regional data tool was designed to strengthen data available for decision-making and community planning that will enhance the regional early learning system. There is a visual map available to provide an interactive visual depiction, as well as reports to offer an overview of the data. MARC developed this tool utilizing recent Census and other data related to the early learning landscape in the Greater St. Louis region. 

Check Out The Tool Here

Ready Families

Play can be a powerful learning tool. When your child plays, they are using their creativity and imagination. They use physical, cognitive and emotional skills which are key to healthy brain development. Children can begin learning through play at a very early age. They also learn how to engage and interact with the world and people around them.

Check out this video below to learn more about how you can help your child learn through play. You can also learn more on the early connections website here.

Resources for Families

Community Resource Link is a leading social care network through Healthy Blue that connects individuals and families with free and reduced-cost social services in their communities.

This no-cost “find help” tool connects individuals with identified social drivers of health needs such as access to healthy food, housing, education, employment, utility assistance, and clothing. Social drivers of health are the conditions or environments where people live, learn, work, and more that impact each individual’s health, quality of life, and risks. 

Use The Tool Here 

Early Care and Education Resource and Referral

As Missouri’s Early Care and Education Resource and Referral Network, United 4 Children will focus on coordinating and providing resource and referral services to early care professionals, children, and families throughout Missouri. 

  • They help parents and guardians: Locate and select high-quality Early Care and Education services that meet their needs.
  • They offer early educators in all types of childcare settings: Connections to local resources to support their service to children and families.
  • They help community advocates and social workers: Connect families to local childcare options and resources throughout the state of Missouri.

Talk to a Community Support Specialist:

1-866-583-2392 | [email protected] 

Temporary Hours of Operation for July – August:

 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday

Ready Schools

Transitioning To Kindergarten

The start of the school year can be exciting, but also scary for parents and children. Kindergarten teachers know that chlildren are individuals who start kindergarten with a variety of skill levels. Parents do not need to focus on ensuring their child has letters, numbers, and facts memorized before the school year starts. However, there are some things parents can do to help prepare their child for transitioning into kindergarten.

For instance, it might be helpful to start new routines such as adjusting bed times or wake up times a few weeks before school begins. That can reduce stress during the first week of school.

You can also read books together about starting school to reduce anxiety around school starting. A few books that might be fun for parents and children to read together are:

  • Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten, Joseph Slate (Illustrated by Ashley Wolff)
  • Seven Little Mice Go to School, Kazuo Iwamura
  • Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes, Eric Litwin (Illustrated by James Dean)
  • Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten, Hyewon Yum
  • Yoko Learns to Read, Rosemary Wells

You can read more tips for transitioning into Kindergarten here.

The Office of Childhood is contracting with Wonderschool -- an all-in-one child care management system used in several states to help child care programs launch or grow their business. Using the Wonderschool platform, child care programs can: learn more about enhancing connections with families, managing enrollment, obtaining a child care license, and more.

Learn More Here

RESOURCE! Get your new 2023-2024 Growing Strong Calendar


Are you an early childhood teacher or parent? Check out this fantastic free resource from Brookes Publishing: Covering 16 months, this printable calendar has colorful photos, quotes from expert authors, and practical tips and activities that promote healthy child development. You can print the calendar for your home or office and use it throughout the year to support the skills they’ll need to succeed in school and in life.

Get Your Calendar Here

Upcoming Activities

11 a.m.-12 p.m.

August 11

Missouri Association for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Early Childhood Gathering. Join this supportive network for those working with babies and children birth to 5, to promote healthy social-emotional development and an awareness of infant/early childhood mental health.

Click here to learn more.

5-8 p.m.

August 11

Back to School Bash | The Crossing at Grant's Trail

Join us as we kick off another school year. We want to celebrate our students, educators and parents as the 2023-24 school year begins. We will have free food, carnival games, prizes, petting zoo, free haircuts, back to school physicals and much more.


United 4 Children can hold free, private training sessions for your early childhood education team from the A Place for All Children training list. Contact United 4 Children Education Manager Amy Flesher-Dunnegan to learn more: 314.531.1412 ext. 185 | [email protected]

6:30 p.m.

August 18

Back to School Bash

End your summer break with a bang! Join us at The River at Eureka for some free foamy fun! On Friday, Aug 18th at 6:30 pm, Crazy Fun Foam St. Louis will be on our lower lot, filling it up with a sudsy good time. We will also have inflatables, snowcones, and an outdoor movie once the sun starts to set. This event is free, and all are welcome!


Early Connections

Join the Office of Childhood Email List

Nominate an Educator