|New green-oriented preschool opens|
|Written by Jane Reed|
|Thursday, 26 July 2012 21:57|
Sisters Dawn Killeen Kamler and Molly Killeen Maxwell speak in unison and think in unison when they talk about their new venture Wise Little Owls Preschool & Childcare Center, located at 401 West Washington. What has been a dream for a few years is taking shape amidst construction and planning in the two-story house on Route 66 in the Historic Mural District of Cuba. The preschool is almost full, but there are a few slots open for the before- and after-school program.
The sisters’ eyes lit up as they conducted the tour through their facility and spoke of their passion for childhood education and a healthy lifestyle as their catch phrase, “We have a good thing growing,” attests.
“We are going to try to stay away from processed foods and teach the kids to make healthy choices in their eating. Exercise will be part of their daily activities too,” Molly said.
Molly graduated from Fontbonne University with an early childhood education degree and will be the school’s director, although the sisters are both committed to their new venture.
A core part of the facility is the large L-shaped counter in the kitchen, where kids can mix, measure, and pour to help prepare foods and eat together. The sisters believe in a hands-on, active approach to learning, and they want to foster earth-friendly projects that recycle and reuse when they can.
They plan to foster healthy bodies and minds at their school in a structured learning environment that includes crafts, Missouri state-learning objectives, meal planning and cooking, a healthy and green lifestyle, gardening, and even old-fashioned board games.
“We want to create an environment where kids can learn and be free to be kids in their play,” Dawn stated.
The licensed facility will operate from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and their goal is a mid-August opening to correspond with the new school year. Based on the applications that they have received, the school’s preschool for two- to five-year-olds is almost full, but there are some openings left for their before- and after-school K-5 program. The before- and after-school program will be in a separate part of the facility and involve a Homework Club for those who want it, and also daily and weekly projects and activities for the kids.
They chose the historic district and two-story home for their school because it was centrally located, spacious, and had a great fenced yard for creative play and gardening.
Dawn said, “My mom actually mentioned this house a couple of years ago as a place for Molly and me to open the school that we were always talking about opening some day. Then, after we looked at it, we decided it was perfect for our plans, and we haven’t stopped talking about it.” The spacious garages and outbuildings are filling with supplies for the school while construction goes forth.
Terry West of T. West Construction is helping the sisters to bring their dream to reality. He is a builder who is dedicated to green construction with a recycle and reuse philosophy, and lives a healthy eating lifestyle himself. West is reconfiguring the house to meet state guidelines and the sisters’ plans. He also helped build the raised garden beds in the backyard that the students will use as part of their outdoor classroom.
Dawn stated, “Everything about the school just seems to come together like it is meant to be. Next year, we hope to have a seed to table program, so that the students can see every aspect of their food growing. This year, we just had to start with plants.”
Yoga, dancing, singing, crafts, learning, play, fresh healthy meals, and naps: kids have all the fun. Call Dawn Kamler at 573-259-3110 or Molly Maxwell at 314-420-6770 for an application to Wise Little Owls, or visit their Wise Little Owls Preschool and Childcare Center Facebook page.
Molly said, “When the Wise Little Owls kids go to kindergarten, we want the teachers to recognize that they were in our preschool because of their skills, behavior, and healthy habits.”