Every child has potential, but not every child has opportunity. At SouthSide, we know that early childhood education can be the difference between being left behind and leading the way. Our mission is to create lasting opportunity in the lives of our children—and their families—by providing the best in early childhood education and support services. 

We put our mission into action through our four pillars of education, health, connection, and advocacy.




Education creates opportunity.

High quality early childhood education is life changing. With 80% of our students living below the federal poverty line, and 25% of our students possessing developmental delays, early childhood education can be the difference between being left behind and leading the way.

Our research-based curriculum encourages creativity, exploration, and problem-solving in a play-based setting. With degreed teachers in each classroom—and specialized speech-language, motor, and cognitive support for children with special needs—kids get the attention that they need to thrive at SouthSide.

Every child has potential, but not every child has opportunity.




Children learn best when they are healthy.

Something as seemingly small as a toothache or earache can dramatically interfere with learning. This is why SouthSide provides a wide range of health services through partner agencies, including dental, hearing, and vision screenings, as well as weekly visits from nurse practicioners. Families are also enrolled in health insurance.

Families living in poverty experience stress at toxic levels. Our on-staff mental health professional helps children explore their inner worlds and cope with stress through play therapy. Parents also have the opportunity to participate in positive parenting programs. We know that children also learn best when their homes are stable.

Healthy kids are ready to learn. Healthy families can support success.




We connect with families in order to connect them to the resources they need.

Isolation often accompanies life on the edges of society. For the refugee, immigrant, and disadvantaged families that we serve, this isolation affects both parents and children, and can perpetuate the cycle of poverty for generations. At SouthSide, we believe that connection is the answer.

We connect with children and families where they are, and work to help them create measurable change in their lives through our Family Partnership Program. By removing barriers, such as language and cost, families can connect to the resources they need. Whether it’s help with family budgeting or the support needed to become a stronger parent, SouthSide is there.

Connection is transformative and can break the cycle of poverty.




We have been pioneers in early childhood education for over 130 years. 

Kids can’t advocate for themselves. But we can advocate for them. We work locally and throughout the state year-round to make sure that early childhood education becomes an increasing priority in the state of Missouri. Every day, we write and rewrite the future by how we choose to support children.

We know that every dollar invested in early childhood education saves communities $16 by decreasing the need for special education and social services.* When you help kids access the resources they need, you advocate for replacing dependency with worlds of opportunity.

We are accustomed to putting our beliefs into action.


An Unstoppaple Team

Pioneers. Leaders. Teachers. Allies. Our SouthSide family is unstoppable, just like our children.