Your childhood learning sets the stage for how strong and healthy your future family life will be. That’s why Grace Hill puts so much emphasis on our Head Start programs, serving 3 to 5 year-old children and their families in St. Louis City. This comprehensive school readiness program is recognized as one of the most cost-effective and successful programs in the nation.

We believe that the parent is their child’s first educator — and together we guide and nurture the child. Grace Hill Head Start places a special focus on academics, social and emotional development, health and family support. This Federally funded program also provides education, support and leadership opportunities for many of St. Louis’ most vulnerable families.

Kindergarten Readiness Framework

Our Head Start program seeks to converge three essential focus areas: Cognitive & Academic Development, Social & Emotional Development, and Availability & Readiness to Learn. We call this approach our Kindergarten Readiness Framework, implemented across our centers. Through it, we help prepare children for lifelong learning and emphasize a two generation approach — working closely with parents on becoming their child’s first educator while they are on the path to social and economic stability. Grace Hill outperformed national averages on all of its required measures, including emotional support, classroom organization and instructional quality.

Every Head Start Center is a Community Center

Whether you walk in our doors at our Water Tower Hub or Patch Center, or pick up your children at Carondelet, Grace Hill is here to welcome you into our community. Full-time family engagement specialists and case managers are there to connect parents to resources that help them become healthy, financially stable and secure a mutual support system. Whether these resources are on site, like at our neighborhood hubs, or a simple phone call away, Grace Hill works to ensure that every child, every family and every community is strong.

Wherever you walk through our doors, Grace Hill is here to welcome you into our community.

Healthy Children

Through referrals and resources provided by Head Start staff, 91% of children received physical exams, 86% dental exams and 92% were up-to-date on immunizations. In addition, our Head Start centers put a strong emphasis on mental health — alongside partners like Vision for Children at Risk and Project LAUNCH. Through these efforts, our children show up to school ready to learn by being physically healthy, with resources for strong social & emotional development.

Grow Up Great

In 2010, PNC Bank brought their game-changing national early childhood initiative — Grow Up Great — to Grace Hill Settlement House. Through the Grow Up Great program, our Head Start centers have incorporated learning opportunities with four of St. Louis City’s largest cultural institutions: Missouri Botanical Gardens, St. Louis Symphony, Saint Louis Art Museum and Saint Louis Science Center. The program provides enriching experiences for our children in Head Start with coordinated professional development for the teachers — and early indicators show significant gains in student assessment scores for children enrolled in Grow Up Great.

The Takeaway:

Grace Hill’s best in class Head Start centers focus on kindergarten readiness, healthy families, community connections, and ensuring that all have the opportunity to grow up great.

Learn More:

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Tamala Stallings, M.S., M.B.A.
Vice President of Education Impact/Head Start
and Early Head Start Director

Grace Hill Health Centers is now Affinia Healthcare.

You can find them at or by calling 314.814.8700.