The St. Joseph Early Learning Center in Martinsburg, Mo., is preparing for a new school year under the direction of Mrs. Kirsten Huff. Mrs. Huff is from Wellsville, and has been with the Early Learning Center since August 2012, at which time she began teaching in the 4-5 year-old classroom. Huff became the director in February, 2014. She is married to Randy Huff and they have two children, Jacob, 14, and Emily, eight. She received her Associate of Arts in Psychology degree in September, 2013, and is currently working on her Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She has coached Little League for the past four years and she has also taught swim lessons.
Mrs. Huff stated, “I want the children to not only learn the necessary tools that they will need to start Kindergarten, but to also have fun along the way. We provide a safe, loving, educational, and fun environment for each child and we feel blessed to be a part of their lives.”
The Early Learning Center opened in August, 2001 in St. Joseph School, and moved to its present location on January 7, 2002. Care is provided to infants age six weeks to children age five. Each classroom is designed with the intent of reaching certain goals by the time they move on to the next classroom. The classrooms also have a Bible lesson each week. They read a Bible story for the week and do crafts for that story.
Mrs. Allison Scott is the care provider in the Infant Room having recently relocated to this area from Chicago. She is married to Caleb Scott and has two children, Evelyn, who will attend Kindergarten at St. Joseph School this year and Cole, 15 months old. Her goals for the babies in her care are to be able to identify the basic shapes and colors and tell what sounds animals make as well as build with blocks and draw with crayons.
Miss Amber Hanneken teaches the children in the age two-three classroom. “Miss Amber” lives in Centralia and has worked at the ELC since August, 2010. She has been active in 4-H as a volunteer horsemanship leader/chairperson for nine years and shooting sports coordinator, rifle, and pistol instructor for seven years. Prior to this, she was a 4-H Junior Leader for five years. She attends St. Brendan Church in Mexico and volunteers to teach CCD as needed. She also enjoys baby sitting her seven nieces and nephews. Hanneken graduated from Centralia High School and attended college at Moberly Area Community College, graduating with an Associates of Arts degree. She works with her class on recognition of colors, shapes, numbers, and letters. They also work on opposites, name recognition, and simple writing/tracing skills. Her goal for her class is to recognize many of those things as well as their names.
Mrs. Amber Mueller is the teacher for the four-five age group. She is married to Ethan Mueller and they live in Montgomery City. “Ms. A” has experience with children obtained from helping with her mother’s day care business and is working toward her Bachelor Degree in Psychology. Her goal for her classroom is to teach the children important base knowledge so they can grow and be successful when they go to Kindergarten. Mueller also wants students to have fun and expand their imagination in a learning environment. In the four-five year old room they work on writing their numbers and their letters, as well as sounding out each letter, and recognizing the sounds they make. Students also do “show and tell” for each letter at the end of the week. “Ms. A” continues to work with the children on practicing their names as well as other fun activities. This class will also visit the Kindergarten classroom at St. Joseph Catholic School on Fridays this school year.
Miss Madison Wieberg is the afternoon teacher having recently graduated from Community R-6 High School, and she is currently attending college to work on her degree in education.
Mrs. Nicki Poindexter stated the following about the ELC, “My husband and I have a three-year -old and a six-month-old attending St. Joseph’s ELC. We are very happy with the quality of care they provide for our children and we enjoy watching our three year old blossom as she progresses through their curriculum.”
The Early Learning Center is open year round, but they start a more “school-like” atmosphere when school is in session.
They are anxious to begin their school routine, provide great care, and a learning atmosphere for the children in their care.
The Early Learning Center currently has openings for children age two-five both full and part-time. For more information contact Mrs. Kirsten Huff at the Early Learning Center at (573) 492-6398, or visit the parish website at stjosephmb.org.