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State-of-the-art early childhood center opens in north St. Louis

“We want to rebuild this community,” said Cortaiga Collins. “Access to high quality early childhood education is the greatest way to do that.”

ST. LOUIS — A new, 7,000 square-foot early childhood education center will soon call north St. Louis home.

5 On Your Side got a sneak peek inside Good Shepherd Preschool and Infant/Toddler, the new $3-million facility that's aiming to give children more than a head start.

Owner Cortaiga Collins said she had one goal in mind when she originally opened the center in 2009.

She never imagined that exactly 13 years later she would open the doors to the much larger early education center at the intersection of Page Boulevard and Amherst Place.

“We want to rebuild this community,” said Collins. “Access to high quality early childhood education is the greatest way to do that.”

Equipped with seven classrooms, Collins is taking aim at the education gap in north St. Louis.

“We’ll be able to get children the much-needed developmental screenings so that we will be able to identify any delays,” said Collins. “The most important thing is to get them the delays that they need when those delays are detected.”

That’s why she felt it was important the facility have a stand-alone therapy room, along with a lactation room for new mothers, and a state-of-the-art teaching kitchen.

“Children will be able to learn math, science and even reading through cooking experiments, and then be able to see the transition of those foods in the kitchen and consume the food they were able to prepare,” said Collins.

Once the doors open in May, Collins will be able to add another 70 children to her roster.

“Seventy more children will enter kindergarten prepared—academically and socially prepared,” said Collins. “It means seventy more children will be less likely to drop out of high school. Seventy more children will be less likely to become prison involved.”

But spots at Good Shepherd are filling up quickly. Visit the center's website for information on enrolling a child.

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