Early Childhood Development and Health Services

Why is Early Childhood Education important?

The first five years of a child’s life are critical to their development and will form the fundamental building blocks of their future. This is the time when the foundation is built that will shape a child’s future development, health, happiness, and success in school, in the community, and in life.

Early experiences where children are able to develop relationships and build confidence, while learning through play, provide a strong base for lifelong learning.

The YWCA St. Louis Early Education Program offers opportunities for children to develop socially, intellectually, physically, and emotionally to ensure that each child’s first school experience will inspire a lifelong love for learning.

With the help of our families and the community, we build confidence and competence of all children and their families.

Creative Curriculum

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool is a comprehensive, research-based curriculum that promotes exploration and discovery as a way of learning, enabling children to develop confidence, creativity, and lifelong critical thinking skills.The components of The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos were designed specifically to provide in-depth support for the unique demands of each day in an infant, toddler, and twos program.

Missouri Accreditation

Missouri Accreditation provides quality standards for programs serving children from birth to school-age within the State of Missouri. Programs that achieve accreditation become a member of an elite and unique group because they have achieved a high standard of quality. All YWCA St. Louis Early Education Centers and Child Care Partners are accredited by Missouri Accreditation.

Transition to Kindergarten
We work with local school districts to ensure the transition from our program to Kindergarten is smooth and seamless. During the Pre-K year, and to be sure that families have a positive transition experience, parents are provided with on-going support, training on school readiness, and school district registration information.

Health Requirements for Enrollment

Physical Exam

(first year children must include a “participation statement”)
Required at time of enrollment, if done within the last 12 months.

Blood Tests – Lead and Hemoglobin

Should be included as part of the physical exam unless a physician refuses to provide, which requires a signed and dated statement from the physician.

Dental Exam

At the time of enrollment, if done within the last 12 months.


Required at the time of enrollment, prior to entry.

Well Baby Check

(first year children must include a “participation statement”)
Required at the time of enrollment, if done within the last 12 months.
Well Baby exam presented must be one that is closest to the child’s current age.

Blood Tests – Lead and Hemoglobin

Required at 12 months or 24 months

Dental Screen

Done as part of the Well Baby Check.


Required at the time of enrollment, prior to entry.

Evidence shows that the health of students is linked to their academic achievement.

– Health and Academic Achievement, Centers for Disease Control

Oral Health

Healthy Bedtime Routine
Brush Up On Oral Health – Healthy Bedtime Routine information sheet link
Oral Health and School Readiness
Brush Up On Oral Health – School Readiness information sheet link

Nutrition Services

Healthy eating habits are essential to being ready to learn! Breakfast, lunch, and two snacks are provided throughout the day.

Healthy Food Choices
All meals served meet the guidelines of the Child and Adult Care Food Program and are provided through a catering service. To keep parents informed, we provide monthly menus of what is being served for meals and snacks.
Family Style Dining
Family-style dining encourages children’s independence and decision making by allowing them to help set the table, serve themselves, and choose the foods and amounts they want to eat. Children are encouraged to take small portions and can help themselves if more is desired. They are encouraged to taste, but are not forced to eat. Classroom staff, Parents, and volunteers model social skills, proper table manners, the use of utensils, and positive eating habits by sitting, eating, and practicing these behaviors.
A Food Experience
Mealtimes are an opportunity for children to learn about nutrition, new foods, colors, flavors, and textures while developing math, science, communication, and social skills. We encourage children to try new and unfamiliar foods by offering opportunities for exploring and sampling different foods, including foods from different cultures.
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