Southwest Play School is the first parent-owned and operated preschool in Columbia and has been educating children for almost 50 years. Sharen Garrett started teaching at Southwest 19 years ago. She’s been teaching her whole life, and now plans to retire. Garrett teaches at the co-op weekdays, while parent-volunteers work alongside the children for a set number of days each semester.
“The needs for co-ops have changed," Garrett said. "I just love what I do. I love the children, I love their parents. You know it’d be terrible to go to job every day you didn’t love what you did.”
In his State of the State Address, Gov. Jay Nixon outlined his proposal to boost funding for early childhood education by $17 million, saying, “early childhood education is a smart investment, with a big return.”
Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid plans to run for a second term and is putting extra importance on issues that he says still need resolving. McDavid thinks transportation is the key to improving Columbia’s economy in the coming years.