United Way of Central Missouri has championed the Early Childhood Initiative for over ten years. Through this initiative we support early childhood programs in the central Missouri area to ensure children birth through 5 years old receive quality early learning opportunities, aid parents in positive parenting practices and support strong transition programming into kindergarten.
The United Way of Central Missouri Early Childhood Initiative supports early childhood providers, facilitates the annual Week of the Young Child activities and events and provided the resources for the Born Learning materials at Memorial Park. This initiative also promotes the training and coaching of the Conscious Discipline approach to Early Childhood professionals. Conscious Discipline provides a proven and comprehensive approach to discipline that empowers parents with the self-awareness, brain information, developmental knowledge and usable skills necessary to create safe, connected, problem-solving skills.
In 2021, the United Way of Central Missouri Early Childhood Initiative provided opportunities for Early Childhood Professionals and parents to attend Conscious Discipline Trainings and offered a training series to Early Childhood Directors to provide support and training to implement the Conscious Discipline model in their Centers. Fifteen programs participated with about 27 key staff. In addition, we offered evening Conscious Discipline trainings for childcare providers, parents and other volunteers/organizations. Most recently the United Way of Central Missouri Early Childhood Initiative implemented a Conscious Discipline Pilot Program for Elementary School Principals and key staff to ensure Conscious Discipline continues into the elementary schools.
In July of 2021, United Way was asked to be part of a Regional Childhood Leadership Group to support Early Childhood efforts in Cole, Moniteau, Miller and Osage counties. This is a Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education project under the new Office of Childhood. The goal of this is to provide and collect resources to ensure that each family has the support they need to parent and raise their children to their full capacity so incoming Kindergartners are healthy, loved and ready to learn.