Pre-K | St. Louis Public Radio


Mia Mims, 4, poses for a photo as her mother drops her off for preschool Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019 in Affton.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

The lines of students snaking through the hall of the Affton preschool were squiggly.

It will take some practice, just like how to use the bathroom and wash hands before returning to play time. 

Everything was new for the 200 students Tuesday morning for their first day at the Early Childhood Center in Affton. 

Setting children up for academic success is Annie Watson’s driving passion.

The Kansas City, Missouri, native is the director of early education and parent success at Turn the Page KC, a non-profit that aims to have all children reading at grade level by third grade.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 27, 2013 - A White House proposal to increase spending on pre-school would mean 5,900 children in Missouri and 12,000 in Illinois could get a jump start on their education – a benefit that Education Secretary Arne Duncan calls a return on investment the nation cannot ignore.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 28, 2009 - Senate Bill 291 started out as a modest plan to expand virtual schools across Missouri. Its sponsor, Senate President Pro Tem Charlie Shields, R-Kansas City, probably didn't expect his bill to become a magnet for a variety of proposals, some routine, others far-reaching. No fewer than two dozen changes were wrapped into SB 291 before lawmakers approved it.

"There was more education reform in that bill than I've seen in my previous eight years in the Legislature," says Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, who previously served in the House before being elected to her first state Senate term last fall.