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Northwest Missouri State University

Leet Center (Photo by University Photography)
Leet Center (Photo by University Photography)
Leet Center (Photo by University Photography)

Cindy Scarbrough

Welcome to the Phyllis and Richard Leet Center for Children and Families

It is my highest pleasure to introduce you to the Phyllis and Richard Leet Center for Children and Families.  At the Leet Center, family relationships and children are our passion!  At the heart of our learning together you will find educators who see children as capable learners.  Children learn through investigation, exploration and communication.  Our pre-school environment is a natural home-like atmosphere that is filled with inquiry and joy each day.

The Leet Center is also home to our developing outdoor classroom and we believe that all the learning that happens indoors can also be present in the outdoor spaces.  Open-ended materials and carefully cultivated spaces provide a place for collaboration, thinking and representation of ideas.  Our learning community includes educators and university students who are working together to listen and learn with children. Children, educators and families each play an important role in honoring the intellectual and emotional integrity of children. 

We look forward to becoming a part of your child’s life journey.  

Our Best,

Cindy Rouner

Dr. PatetEmpowering Mathematical Minds Through Play - by Dr. Pradnya Patet

Article talks about the current emphasis on STEM learning and the Common Core State Standards is drawing attention to the importance of math in early childhood. Research suggests that early math skills are a more accurate indicator of later academic success than early reading skills (Stipek, Schoenfield, and Gamby 2012). It is important therefore that early childhood teachers are better prepared to teach mathematics. The concern however, is that this emphasis on early childhood math education may encourage some to fall back on traditional teaching methods (e.g. rote counting and memorization) that may be easier to use but are quite detrimental to children. Rather than preparing them for math, they may instead drive them away from their intuitive interest in problem-solving (Hachey 2013).

Early childhood educators can testify to the mathematical activity that children engage in naturally through play. Children building a unifix cube trail across the room to calculate and measure the distance or young chefs following a picture recipe to make a classroom snack are obviously engaging in mathematical activity. Children may naturally demonstrate their intuitive knowledge about math in the process of play but mathematical proficiency does not just emerge on its own (Copley 2010). For example, children do not necessarily learn to count out change correctly simply by playing with a cash register. Rather, playing at
the pretend grocery store can provide an opportunity to learn and teach the concept of counting money
in an effective context.

Article: Young firefighters in training

Children at the Leet Center interacted with Captain Phil Rickabaugh and firefighter Nick Muller. Preschool children attended the safety presentation. Link to the article