June 19, 2024

We just wrapped up our first spring at City Preschool! Read below about how our first semester went from director Candace Hulsizer.

When you think about what goes on in a preschool, what comes to mind? Kids sitting at colorful tables, their fingers dipped in paint? Squeals of excitement and wide-eyed curiosity? Children sitting on the floor, while the teacher reads a book?

If you visited City Preschool in January, you would have seen tentative yet inquisitive children, uncertain yet hopeful parents and a slightly nervous but very excited staff. And now, here we are at the end of our first semester, gearing up for the fall. We’re so thankful and excited about the growth and developments of the past months. Here are just a few:

  • Installation of our new playground
  • Two students heading off to kindergarten
  • Partnership with Daniel Boone Regional Library
  • Two family field trips to the library
  • Five community members volunteering regularly
  • Three mamas with refugee backgrounds taking English, artisan, computer and cooking classes while their children were learning and playing with us
  • Parents making connections and forming friendships, across cultures and despite language differences

All of this and more, in the span of just a few months. 

I have the privilege of seeing the growth in children daily. Which was always my favorite part of teaching when I was in the classroom. But another part that I love is watching the parents begin to connect with each other and with one another’s kids. They’re truly becoming “our” kids. Here’s what I mean:

  • A dad from Ukraine asks a dad from Sudan what he does for work. They use their new common language of English to share. 
  • A mom from Burma offers a high five to a child from another part of that region.
  • A mom who speaks Karenni acts as interpreter for a mom who speaks Rwang, they communicate through Burmese. 
  • During a school trip to the library, a US-born mom personally invites each family to a day at the river, carefully explaining how to use the QR code to register for the event.

This may not be what people expect to hear in a conversation about preschool, but it’s all about the connections. Connections between native- and non-native English speakers, connections between kids and other kids, kids and adults, adults and other adults. This is how we wish the world to be, and at City Preschool, it’s a culture of connection that we are so blessed to cultivate everyday. Speaking of cultivating, take a peek at what we’re looking forward to in the coming months:

  • Starting a small garden where children can get in touch with nature as they learn about cause and effect, patience, caretaking, healthy eating and science
  • Working more closely with local and state professionals and practitioners so that teachers and I continue to learn and grow, as we help guide our students
  • Providing richer experiences for students by taking more excursions into the community
  • Hopefully opening our arms and our classrooms to welcome an additional class of kiddos. Fingers crossed!

As the Director of Education and Director for City Preschool, what you think matters. But I don’t want people to send their kids here simply because of the “novelty” of a cross-cultural experience. We want to provide a high quality early childhood education for every child who walks through the door. We want children to leave here with a sense that they are valued and cared for. Loved. And we want them to be able to see that same value in those around them, regardless of their language, race, nationality, social economic status or family background. We want these kids, our next generation of doctors, preachers, teachers, homemakers, carpenters, police officers, spouses, parents – to exude compassion and empathy for those around them. How fortunate we are to have a hand in giving them a good start. 


Candace Hulsizer

Director of Education

JOIN US this Saturday for our first ever Summer Market: In Celebration of World Refugee Day! The market will feature:

  • Over 35 vendors, both refugee and local, offering a variety of items
  • An assortment of food and beverage selection including Toms Travelin’ Coffee and Leftys Kettle Corn
  • Activities for the kiddos such as The Art Bus, Rawry with Bonkers, Pinewood Derby racing, water play, face painting, and access to our brand new City Preschool playground
  • Live Entertainment
  • City Boutique open for shopping
  • A sneak peak and first taste of City Cuisine

Free admission and something for everyone in the family to enjoy! The Summer Market will be 9:00AM-12:00PM at the City of Refuge building, 10 N Garth Ave. Come support and celebrate those forced to flee and resettling in Columbia, MO!

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