- Founded in 1886 by 15 Unitarian women.
- Largest early childhood center in south St. Louis.
- Enrolls 98 children, ages 6 weeks to pre-kindergarten.
- Open from 7:15 am-5:45 pm Monday-Friday, year round (except for major holidays).
- Licensed and accredited by State of Missouri.
- We are a proud member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis and have been funded by the United Way or its predecessor, the United Fund, since the 1940s.
- We are a Head Start partner with Grace Hill Head Start and an Early Head Start partner with Youth In Need.
Who We Serve
- In our new building (projected opening 2014) we will be able to accommodate up to 42 additional children from all income levels.
- Families living anywhere in St. Louis City are welcome to enroll; most of our children live in the surrounding neighborhoods of Benton Park West, Fox Park, McKinley Heights and Gravois Park.
- We are a diverse community, with enrollment comprised of 65% Hispanic children, 18% African-American, and 17% bi-racial or other, including several different nationalities.
- About one-third of our children (twice the natoinal average) have a developmental delay or disability and receive services at SouthSide.
What We Do
- Our primary goal is to prepare children for success in kindergarten and beyond.
- We teach children using an evidence-based curriculum called Creative Curriculum. It is based on child-directed play in centers including math, science, art, sensory, reading and writing.
- Our quality early education reduces the achievement gap between white and minority students; reduces the number of children enrolled in expensive special education in elementary school and the number of students repeating grades; improves language and literacy skills; and increases the probability a child will graduate from high school and have increased earning power as an adult.
- We support parents and guardians by providing referrals to services such as energy and food assistance, employment resources, transportation, legal and domestic violence services. Monthly parent meetings and mothers’ support groups (in English and Spanish), and special morning events for dads are part of our effort to strengthen and support the family.
- We hire full-time teachers with college degrees in early childhood, psychology or social work, and experience with young children.
- Several teachers, our Family Services Manager, Administrative Assistant, Mental Health Coordinator and Disabilities Coordinator are fluent in Spanish.
- We have a mental health specialist, disabilities specialist, mentor teacher and family support person on staff.
- Our cook prepares breakfast, lunch and snack every day from fresh ingredients, including several daily servings of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Our preschool garden operates from April through October, providing lessons in science, nutrition and math, as well as an abundance of homegrown produce, herbs and flowers.