St. Louis Region 13 Community Leader Approach

Safe, Healthy, and ready to learn

“Early childhood care and education is more than preparation for primary school. It aims at the holistic development f a child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs in order to build a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing. It has the possibility to nurture caring, capable and responsive future citizens.” – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

We know that children need to be safe and healthy in order to be ready to learn. Ensuring Missouri’s children are safe, healthy and successful learners is the cornerstone of the Office of Childhood’s Community Leader initiative. Learn more below about the Community Leader approach and efforts to support children, families, and early educators in the St. Louis Region.

Kindergarten readiness

One key goal of the community leader work is to support our region in understanding Kindergarten Readiness. Did you know there are five components to Kindergarten Readiness? Different programs, states, and the federal government all define school readiness a little differently. However, there is a general agreement that school readiness includes aspects of: child, family, community, services, and schools.

For children: School readiness is about being prepared and having skills in social and emotional, language and literacy, cognitive, motor, health and physical well-being, as well as positive attitudes and behaviors toward learning.
For families: School readiness is about ensuring a safe environment for children to grow and learn. It also requires an understanding of their children’s current health and development.
For communities: School readiness is about offering families access to community resources. It requires acknowledging and uplifting the key role of early learning.
For early care & education (ECE) services: School readiness is about offering access to services to all families in the community and providing services based on needs of each family.
For schools: School readiness is about creating a welcoming and accepting environment for all children. It’s about uplifting educators to encourage student growth and success and to partner with families.


St. Louis Area Early Learning Landscape Data Tool

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 interactive tool here.

Community Resource Link

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. Click here to use the tool.

Community Leader Email Newsletters

Catch up on Region 13 Community Leader email newsletters for 2023:

March 2023: Click Here To Read

April 2023: Click Here To Read

May 2023: Click Here To Read

June 2023: Click Here To Read

July 2023: Click Here to Read

August 2023: Click Here to Read

September 2023: Coming Soon

Learn More About Parents As Teachers
Learn More About United 4 Children
Kindergarten Readiness Work Team Report

In Summer 2022 Turn the Page STL director, Lisa Greening, brought together numerous pubic and private schools, organizations, and community members to discuss and find solutions to help our young children successfully transition to kindergarten.

The conversation and learnings, captured by University of Missouri St. Louis, can be found in the Kindergarten Readiness Work Team Report.


Learn More About Developmental Milestones

Check out this interactive tool to learn more about developmental milestones for your child at every age. 

Community Leaders Across the State

There are community leaders across the entire state to support families and communities! The state recently updated the regions for community leaders. You can view the updated community leaders map here:


U4C Named as Community Leader

March 2021: The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and its Office of Early Learning named United 4 Children as the community leader for a new St. Louis Regional Hub – a coordinated support system that will guarantee families have the knowledge and resources to make informed decisions that impact the safety, health, and education of their children. 

Rockwood R-VI School District Named as Community Leader

June 2021: The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and its Office of Early Learning, named Rockwood R-VI School District as a community leader for the new St. Louis Regional Hub. 

Defining a Regional Hub Approach

The MO Early Connections site teaches us that a regional hub approach is a coordinating body that provides resources in a designated area in Missouri with a focus on supporting families with children birth to age five. This coordinated support system is designed to ensure families have the knowledge and resources to make informed decisions about the safety, health and education of their children. The ultimate goal of a regional hub model is a coordinated system of Early Care & Education Connections with a place for every family to access resources and services that promote safe and healthy learning environments for young children. 

Office of Childhood Created

January 28, 2021: Governor Mike Parson and the Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Health and Senior Services, and Social Services announced nearly all early childhood programs across state government will be consolidated into a single Office of Childhood. Previously, each state agency provided various services for children and families. The transition to one office will allow early childhood work across state government teams to become more streamlined and effective. 

This new office ensures children and families across the state have better access to more consistent, quality programs and services. DESE houses the new office, and provides a comprehensive approach to early childhood care and education, including all programs related to childcare, home visiting, early learning, and early intervention. Ensuring Missouri’s children are safe, healthy and successful learners is the cornerstone of this initiative. 

Community Leaders Establish Goals for 2023

Rockwood Parents as Teachers and United 4 Children as community leaders focused on ensuring Missouri’s children are safe, healthy and ready to learn in Region 13- St. Louis City and County, by creating a comprehensive Early Childhood Community Plan to work on through June 2023 in partnership with their Community Leadership Team.  

Goal One: Create one landscape analysis of all early childhood meetings in the area. As of January, we are working with the team to build a spreadsheet to hold this data. 

Goal Two: Create and send newsletters to include a focus on school readiness and local early childhood resources and events. We set a meeting to plan and create the first newsletter. 

United 4 Children, Rockwood PAT and The Alliance Partner to Honor Educators

The Gateway Early Childhood Alliance and St. Louis Regional Approach Community Leaders United 4 Children and Rockwood Parents as Teachers have partnered to share more of our local community’s early childhood educator stories. The group honors a St. Louis educator monthly with a digital spotlight of their personal story and a small gift to thank them for their dedication to our region’s children. You can learn more about the childcare providers and teachers who have been recognized so far and nominate someone you want to highlight by clicking the button below.

United 4 Children empowers caregivers to nurture whole-child development through early childhood and afterschool programs.

U4C's Main Line:
(314) 531-1412

Inclusion Services:
(800) 467-2322

Missouri's Early Care and Resource and Referral Line:
(866) 583-2392

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