• The Waynesville R-VI School district offers multiple opportunities for students ages 3 to 5 who live in the district to build a foundation for learning that will help them be successful throughout their entire educational careers.  

    “Our highly qualified, certified teachers and staff members work with students on skills that help prepare them to be successful learners in kindergarten and beyond,” said Dr. Molinda Mitchell, principal of Williams Early Childhood Center and administrator over the Parents as Teachers program.

    The free programs include: 


    1. Parents as Teachers

    Parents as Teachers is a free program that helps build a partnership between the family, school and community to encourage whole child development. Two, full-time Parents as Teachers educators provide information and support to:

    ALL families with children age birth to age 3, regardless of income or military status 

    – families with children age 3 to 5, if there are developmental and/or speech concerns

    Parents as Teachers includes:

    • Personal visits focus on parent-child interactions and educators offer practical ideas on ways to encourage learning, observe developmental milestones and manage behavior.

    • Developmental screenings help parents understand their child’s development. 

    • Group connections/play groups:  Parents meet to enhance their parenting knowledge, discuss problems and solutions, learn from others and share their experiences with other parents. In addition, child development information is shared and social connections are fostered.

    • Resource network: Parent educators help families access community resources, bridging the gap between resources available and families’ needs. 

    1. Williams Early Childhood Center-PACE (Parent and Child Education)

    To be eligible for Williams Early Childhood Center’s free (regular education) preschool services, children must be 3 years old by Aug. 1, 2023, or 4 years old by Aug. 1, 2023. Additionally, families must call the school at 573-842-2650 to schedule an appointment for a screening. This screening looks at the areas of motor (gross motor and fine motor), concepts (pre-academic skills) and speech language skills. The district uses Title 1 funding for this program and therefore students who have the greatest need are identified, through the DIAL-4 screening, as having priority to get into the program. A waiting list is maintained for students who have been screened but not placed in a classroom. Students who are placed in the PACE program attend either the morning session (8:15 a.m.-11:15 a.m.) or the afternoon session (12:15 p.m.-3:15 p.m.).  Transportation is not provided. 

    1. Williams Early Childhood Center-ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education)

    Williams Early Childhood Center also offers free, specialized instruction for students who have been identified as having special needs such as developmental delays, language delays, autism, orthopedic impairments, or disabling health conditions. Students are sometimes referred to Williams Early Childhood Center through Parents as Teachers, the Missouri First Steps Program, a doctor or outside therapist, or parents/guardians. 


    Students go through a comprehensive evaluation process to determine eligibility.  Students must meet criteria set forth by the state of Missouri to qualify for special education services. If a child qualifies for special education services, they may begin services at Williams Early Childhood center on their 3rd birthday. 


    Services that are provided at Williams may include, but are not limited to, speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and specialized instruction. Students are placed in either the morning session (8:15 a.m.-11:15 a.m.) or the afternoon session (12:15 p.m.-3:15 p.m.). Students who are identified as having a disability are NOT placed on a waiting list, but are offered services as soon as eligibility is determined. Transportation is provided for students who qualify for special education. 

    Parker Preschool

    A fourth option for families is the new Parker Preschool housed inside the Parker Educational  Center that opened in August of 2022 and serves 40, four-year-old students in two classrooms.  Parker is a full-day option for families (8:15 a.m.-3:15 p.m.). Students are selected for enrollment through a lottery each spring. Students who are not immediately enrolled at Parker are placed on a waiting list. Transportation is not provided for Parker students. 


    Students at both Williams Early Childhood Center and at the Parker Preschool receive instruction based on the Missouri Early Learning Goals though the Emerging Language and Literacy Curriculum.  


    Should you have any questions or need additional information, please see the contact information below:


    Williams Early Childhood Center

    Dr. Molinda Mitchell, Principal

    12225 Pulaski Avenue

    Fort Leonard Wood, MO 65473

    (573) 842-2650


    Parker Education Center

    Mrs. Ruth Ann Justus, Administrator

    1001 Historic Route 66

    Waynesville, MO  65583

    (573) 842-2350


    Parents as Teachers

    Beth Armstrong, Sheila Layman, Educators

    12225 Pulaski Avenue

    Fort Leonard Wood, MO  65473

    (573) 842-2656