Grants enable continued expansion of child care center at Missouri S&T

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On February 29, 2024

In its first two years, the Child Development Center at Missouri S&T has expanded to serve over 80 children. Photo by Michael Pierce/Missouri S&T.

The Child Development Center at Missouri S&T has continued to grow since opening in January 2022. In its second year of operation, the center was able to hire a new teacher and take on 10 more students with the help of grant funding.

The center received over $800,000 in grants for the 2023 calendar year, much of it through Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Much of the money went to staff salaries, which meant the center could use more of its budget for student enrichment.

“Grants like these provide a financial cushion,” says Dr. Beth Kania-Gosche, professor and chair of the education department at Missouri S&T. “With the basics covered, we can get a little extra for our kids—not just supplies or toys, but providing experiences for them, that we might otherwise not be able to.”

Each classroom at the center has at least one full-time professional teacher. In addition to the center’s staff, students in Missouri S&T’s teacher education program contribute their time and energy to create lessons and materials for the center. The center also employs a few local high school students as part-time interns, giving them childcare work experience.

At its opening in 2022, the center had space for 76 children from ages six weeks to 5 years, as well as a number of spaces for after-school care for older children. One of this year’s grants, from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Discretionary Funds, provided $70,000 for adding a new classroom. The classroom enabled the center to accept 10 more students in the 2-5 age range.

In addition to hiring a new teacher, grant funding covered furniture, books and toys for the new room. It also covered the purchase of a second fridge to ensure the center’s kitchen can keep up with breakfast and lunch for over 80 children.

“Not only were we able to add more kids immediately, but having greater capacity in the 2-5 age range will help when some of our younger kids age out of their current classrooms,” says Kania-Gosche. “It’s all contributing to greater peace of mind for their families.”

Every open spot is valuable, especially in a state like Missouri. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that as of 2021, there were over 1,000 children under the age of 5 in the 65401 ZIP code alone. While many of them have a parent or other family member who can care for them at home, many do not — and there are far from 1,000 childcare slots available.

As one of the conditions of its initial funding, the Child Development Center reserves one third of its enrollment for subsidy-eligible families (those making under 150% of the federal poverty level).

“By providing high-quality care on a sliding scale, we can help increase the economic security of these families,” says Kania-Gosche. “You can’t ask parents to return to work if they can’t trust that their children are taken care of.”

About Missouri University of Science and Technology

Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,000 students located in Rolla, Missouri. Part of the four-campus University of Missouri System, Missouri S&T offers over 100 degrees in 40 areas of study and is among the nation’s top public universities for salary impact, according to the Wall Street Journal. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit

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