Provider Spotlight  – Megan Sierk is the founder and director of a center and experienced advocate!

Megan is a current provider fellow with KWM and is the Owner of the Launchpad Schoolhouse in Republic, Mo. Megan is passionate about providing a “space for children who are given the opportunity to feel inspired, supported, and can develop to their full potential.” Read her story below!

How did you become an advocate for early childhood education?

I fell into advocacy slowly and didn’t realize it until I became involved with Kids Win Missouri this year. Prior to this, in 2021, I did some advocacy for my own students. The majority of my students coming to my program that year had not been in a childcare setting because of COVID, and many had missed some developmental milestones. I partnered with local therapy services and our district EC program to ensure all students in my program got necessary screenings and parents were educated and offered quality therapy services before they entered Kindergarten to help close any gaps. 

Then, during the spring of 2022, I developed some relationships with my local (city) government and business chamber members as I began advocating for community support with zoning regulations to help expand our program when ARPA grants were being offered. 

And now, I am learning the ropes of Advocacy on a state level thanks to my position as a Fellow with Kids Win Missouri. 

Why do you think it’s important to be an advocate as a provider?

Advocacy is essential to promote and educate lawmakers and policymakers about issues we see as experts in our field. Our youngest citizens do not have a voice, so it is our job to be the voice that speaks on their behalf. Quality early care and early learning opportunities lay a strong foundation for children to be successful in public school and as future members of our workforce. Through advocacy, we can create awareness around these important accessibility issues that directly affect Missouri’s children.

Why should Missouri invest more in child care and early education?

When quality care for children is accessible to parents, we see an increase in our quality workforce. Increasing the number of working adults in our state increases family security. Increased family security means more state income through sales tax. The business economy is directly affected by less turnover and employee loss. There is less money spent on long-term therapies due to developmental delays. When children have a quality early education, they are more successful when they reach public schools and, in turn, more successful young adults join our workforce. We spend less time reacting to deficits in our communities and more time proactively planning and growing. Quality early care and education for our youngest citizens is essential to helping state economies grow and prosper.  

In one sentence, what does the ideal child care and early education system look like for Missouri families?

A nurturing and enriching early experience that supports healthy development for every child.

What is one thing you’ve learned about advocacy that you’d like to share with others?

I like this quote by Janna Cochola, “No voice is too soft when that voice speaks for others.” I can’t think of a better cause than to advocate for than our children.

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