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Alumna Opens Learning Center in Kennett, MO

Krista Beard in front of her school and a sign that says Spirited Child Early Learning Center

In 2020, Krista Beaird earned her degree in Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) with an emphasis in Child Development and Education.  During her studies at Mizzou, Krista took the class HDFS 4570: Administration of Programs for Children and Families, with Dr. Michelle Mathews who was also her advisor and the Director of the MU Child Development Lab.  A major assignment in this course included conceptualizing and planning an early childhood program for 100 children. According to Dr. Mathews, Krista excelled in this project, thinking through every detail of her proposed program, “The Spirited Child.”

Krista was enthusiastic about this course and was determined to make her class project a reality. “Inspired by the Child Development Lab on campus, I began planning my own early childhood program in 2020. I applied for a grant from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education,” Krista said. In February of this year, Krista was notified that she received the Start-Up and Expansion grant and her original vision for The Spirited Child Early Learning Center would become a reality. 

Krista’s center opened to the public on Monday, September 26th with enrollment for 40 preschoolers in Kennett, Missouri. Krista is helping to provide early childhood learning experiences in rural Missouri – a service that is much needed. The mission of the program is to “nurture a child’s desire to learn and encourage their development through a same, stimulating, and developmentally-appropriate environment.”

Krista credits the hands-on experience she received as a student for helping her achieve her professional goals. “The [HDFS] program at Mizzou prepared me for this venture through hands-on experience, practicing in-detail childhood program planning, and instruction and leadership from seasoned early childhood educators!”

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