Parkway Early Childhood

SEPTEMBER 2021 Newsletter

Big picture

This Month at Parkway Early Childhood:

9/6 | Monday NO SCHOOL Labor Day

9/9 | Thursday 8:00 pm PAT Parents Only Group Connection "Breastfeeding with Confidence" via Zoom

9/15 | Wednesday Early Release Day

From the Parkway Early Learning Director:

Dear Early Childhood Families,

Welcome to Parkway Early Childhood, home of Parker the Panda!!!! We are excited to see our returning families and to welcome new friends into our amazing school community. We strive to offer a variety of high-quality experiences for our families through our preschool and early childhood special education classes, Parents As Teachers, Kids Morning Out, Partners In Play and family events. We believe children learn best when they feel valued, loved, have a sense of belonging and are given ample opportunities for hands-on discovery of topics of their own choice, in a playful setting. Our motto is, “We play to learn! We learn to play!” Learning to play with friends is just one of the important social skills we practice in our early childhood programs. Parker the Panda teaches students our four character values, “Take care of yourself. Take care of each other. Take care of your school and home. Take care of your world.”

We strive to put the most highly qualified educators in front of our children and families and provide a wide variety of rich professional development opportunities for our team. This year, all of our programs will be collectively focused on our character education, equity and inclusive work to ensure all students feel valued, worthy and have a sense of belonging at our school. Additionally, our classroom teachers will be fine-tuning their teaching craft by exploring ways to pull nature and outdoor learning into our student-led project-based learning. Our teachers have also spent extensive time this summer digging into our curriculum standards and designing kid-friendly targets to help students be a part of their goal setting. Our Parents As Teachers, Kids Morning Out, and Partners in Play educators are partaking in professional learning around Conscious Discipline on Social Emotional Learning: Foundations and Resiliency in Infants and Toddlers. While this is a lot to take on, we strongly feel putting the most highly trained educators in front of our students is one of the ways we can ensure quality learning.

We believe that parents are an essential part of helping to create this kind of positive, nurturing and inclusive culture we strive for and would love for you to get involved in all the great work we are doing in the school community. While we are still limiting the number of adults in our buildings for the safety of students, we will be sharing opportunities for families to get involved in our outdoor learning and through reading or sharing a family custom or talent with us virtually. We know it's not easy to send your precious littles off to school so, from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for entrusting us with their care. We look forward to getting to know your family and forming a strong partnership to support all of our youngest learners. Please feel free to reach out anytime!

With gratitude,

Dr. Elena Polson

Director of Early Learning

Big picture
Big picture
Parkway Preschool News

Link to Preschool Web page

Welcome Dr. Kim Ragsdale!

Dr. Kim Ragsdale is the new preschool coordinator. She supports the preschool program at our seven preschool sites throughout the district. Dr. Kim has her Elementary Bachelor's, Early Childhood Master's, Educational Leadership Master's, and Educational Doctoral degree from Maryville University. This is her 11th year in Education. Her whole educational career has been in Parkway. Dr. Kim has taught Kindergarten at Ross for most of her teaching career. Dr. Kim has three children of her own: Adam (5), Lucas (3), and Charlie (22 months). She is so excited to be joining the Panda Family to support our families and young learners.

Current Covid Guidelines for Preschool, Kids Morning Out and Early Childhood Special Education:

  • Classes will be held on a traditional in-person schedule with typical class sizes.

  • ECSE Itinerant services that are provided in Parkway buildings will still occur.

  • Families are welcome to wait outside socially distanced on our benches or wait in their car.

  • Playground and outdoor classrooms are for students only during school hours.

  • Arrival and dismissal will take place outside. Each classroom will have a designated door to meet their teacher.

  • All Parent-Teacher conferences and IEP meetings will take place virtually.

Parents As Teachers

Link to Parents As Teachers Preschool Web page

Welcome to PAT 2021-2022!

We are excited to meet with our new and existing PAT families! No matter what is happening in the world around us, our little ones continue growing, learning and developing! We are intent on providing the same quality developmental information to parents and assisting Parkway families in any way we can.

  • Families have the option to have their personal visit scheduled virtually or at their home or nearby park in an outdoor space.

  • Parent educators and families will participate in symptom checks before the scheduled arrival of an educator.

  • Educators will use consumable materials or learning materials from the parent's home to avoid contamination.

Parents as Teachers Families: If you haven't already, please complete the Visit Preference Form 2021-2022 sent on August 23. Thank You!

What is Parents as Teachers?

Parents as Teachers (PAT) is a parent education program offered by the Parkway School District at no charge, serving families who are expecting a child or have children under the age of kindergarten entry. PAT helps to establish positive partnerships between the home, school and the community and plays a vital role in supporting families and children from the very beginning toward school readiness. The program is designed to support you as a parent, help your child learn, grow and develop to realize his/her full potential.

To enroll in Parents as Teachers call (314) 415-6973 or start the process to enroll online. A representative will call you to complete enrollment.

Breastfeeding with Confidence

Parent Only Group Connection
Achieve your breastfeeding goals with lactation-specific education and support from a certified lactation counselor. Tips, techniques and troubleshooting are included for your nursing experience. You will have the opportunity to share your questions if time allows. This is a parent-only group connection.
Date: 9/9/2021 8:00-9:00pm
Location: Virtual via Zoom
Fee: No charge
Presented By: Chelsea Dunlap RN,BSN,CLC

Click Here to Register

Kids Morning Out

For more information about KMO including all forms

Margaret Donnelly is PEC's New Early Childhood Coordinator!

We are excited to announce Margaret Donnelly is Parkway Early Childhood's new Early Childhood Coordinator overseeing the Kid's Morning Out and Partners In Play programs. Margaret has been with Parkway Early Childhood for the past 10 years, most recently she served as the Preschool Coordinator. She is excited to serve our community in this new role!

KMO is off to a great start! Our sections at the Early Childhood Center and McKelvey Primary are currently full. If you would like to be added to the waiting list please contact Stephany Wren at 314.415.6954

The Kids Morning Out program is designed for children turning three after August 1. Parents drop off their children for this program that blends a developmentally appropriate curriculum with wonderful opportunities for social growth.
Partners In Play

Link to Partners In Play web page

Partners in Play classes are canceled for the first quarter and will be re-evaluated for the second quarter.

Please check out the Partners in Play course catalog for a list of future classes. If there is a class you would like to take, you can add your name to the waiting list. You will be contacted if the class runs. Partners in Play Course Category

Developmental Screening

Link to Screening Web page

Big picture
Do you have a child who turned 3 years old over the Summer? If so, please call to schedule a Play-Based Developmental Screening. Learn about your child's development, including a hearing & vision screening. This Free screening service is for all Parkway children 3-5 years old (not in Kindergarten). Call 314.415.6969 or Click Here to schedule.
  • This school year, screenings will be held in person at the Early Childhood Center or virtually based on parent preference and community spread.
  • Virtual screening is still an option.
  • There is a limit of one adult per student participating in screening and no more than 3 children per screening set. We ask that other arrangements be made for siblings at this time.
  • Adults & children must wear masks while in the building

Counselor's Corner:

Big picture
From the Nurse....

Links to web page with access to information on Common Health Concerns, Health Forms, Health Screenings, Illness Guidelines, Immunization Requirements and Medication at School.

Parkway Early Childhood’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) promotes communication, interaction and support among parents of young children in the Parkway School District and the Early Childhood staff. If your family participates in any Parkway Early Childhood program including Preschool, KMO, PAT or Partners in Play you are already a member of PTO and we need help from parents like you! Our executive board currently has many openings, and we are also actively seeking site reps from each preschool location. If you are interested in any of these positions or if you would like more information, please email Also, check out the PTO website at for information about upcoming meetings, events, volunteer opportunities, and all things PTO-related.