MARC Head Start facility celebrates first year

Jun 03, 2024
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Great Beginnings at Paradise Park

Faculty, staff and community members from the Lee's Summit School District in Missouri recently celebrated the first year providing care instruction at Great Beginnings Early Education Center at Paradise Park, 1021 N.E. Colbern Rd., Lee's Summit, Mo.

This new Great Beginnings site is one of the MARC Head Start and Early Head Start facilities. The center also provides the Parents as Teachers program, early childhood special education and the federal Title 1 program.

In June 2020, the Lee’s Summit School Board approved a letter of intent to purchase Paradise Park, founded by Jon and Juli Ellis in 1991. This acquisition allowed the school district to expand its early learning program making it the second facility dedicated to early learning. The first facility, Great Beginnings at Legacy Park, is located at 905 N.E. Bluestem Dr., Lee's Summit, Mo., and has been open since.

Art on the wall at Great Beginnings at Paradise Park
Art on the wall at Great Beginnings at Paradise Park

Great Beginnings Principal Jeanie Cook said the inspiration for the center’s physical environment came from the children’s book "We’re Going on a Bear Hunt." With a comfortable, storybook-like setting, Cook said the center provides the perfect backdrop for children to take safe risks and build confidence.

In her remarks before the ribbon cutting, Cook spoke about the community partnership with Jon and Juli Ellis that made the Great Beginnings Early Education Center at Paradise Park a reality. She shared one of her favorite quotes from Helen Keller, symbolizing the community partnership that brought everything together. "Alone, we can do so little. Together, we can do so much."

“We are so grateful to the Ellis family,” Cook said. “Their generosity is making such a huge impact on education in LSR7. Great Beginnings staff are the true heroes. They took this building and brought life to it. We’re here to support children and get them ready for school.”