The Children's School at Stephens College is a premiere private pre-K and multi-age elementary school in Columbia, Missouri.

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  • Half-day and full-day preschool for ages 3-5
  • K-5 Elementary School (students are grouped by ability rather than age)
  • Before- and after-school care options are available for students enrolled in the Children's School.

Ready to take a tour, get started on enrollment process, or just learn more? Complete our interest form!




What Makes CSSC Different?

Our arts-infused curriculum and classroom activities are designed to promote independence, problem solving, creativity and critical thinking.

Founded in 1925, we believe children should be active learners who have a variety of opportunities to test ideas in real-world situations.

We go beyond helping children recall information; we challenge them to actively use what they've learned in the classroom to ensure they understand what they’ve learned, and why it’s important.


The Children's School has a new home on campus!

Hickman Hall, located at the corner of College and Broadway, is a light-filled, spacious facility at the heart of Stephens' beautiful, historic campus. The new spaces, both indoor and outdoor, foster innovation, imaginative learning and play, and is perfect for our multiage group structure. We are especially proud of our beautiful new non-structured playground that uses natural features to foster child-led play.

Our move places Stephens College education classes in the same building with Children's School classes, bringing the education department and campus lab school even closer. Come see the new home of CSSC at our open house on Aug. 18! Fall 2021 is a great time to enroll your child and transition to CSSC.  


Children, by virtue of their age and status, are constantly being told "no." For a child like my son, that is especially true. But CSSC is always open to entertaining my son's ideas. If there is any way to engage him and reap some educational benefit from his idea, no matter how whacky or outside the box that idea might be, they are open to it. I want to express how extremely grateful I am for this culture of entertaining the possibility of 'yes.' It has made all the difference in my child’s attitude toward learning and what a school can/should be."

Become a CSSC Family


Tuition + Fees

Half-Day Preschool

8:30-11:30 a.m.


Full-Day Preschool or Elementary

8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.


Morning Extended Day

7:30-8:30 a.m.


Half-Day Preschool Lunch Hour

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.


Afternoon Extended Day

3:30-5:30 p.m.


Morning and Afternoon Extended Day



Hourly Extended Day





Financial Aid

Financial assistance may be available. Please email [email protected] or call (573) 876-7260.

Stephens College employees or undergraduate students should contact Human Resources to determine if they are eligible for tuition benefits.

Plenty of schools can say they have low teacher-student ratios and things like that, but what makes CSSC so different is the overall attitude of allowing kids to be their unique selves."

Meet the Staff

Elizabeth Watson
Beth Watson
Ph.D. candidate in Learning, Teaching and Curriculum (ABD); M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction

Elizabeth Watson is the director of The Children’s School at Stephens College and continues to work with preservice teachers. Her passion for education has been shaped over the past 16 years as a classroom teacher in both preschool and elementary and as an instructor in the college classroom. She started her career at Stephens College as an undergraduate student from Minnesota and received her early childhood degree and teaching certification. After her first year of teaching, she continued her education at the University of Missouri and received her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Reading. She is now ABD and will finish her doctorate at the University of Missouri in Learning, Teaching and Curriculum with an emphasis in Reading. As an early childhood and elementary educator, she believes the best way to enhance learning is to provide students with hands-on experiences that will create thought-provoking experiences for students to become independent creators.


Preschool Teachers

Lisa Huskey
lisa huskeyM.Ed. in Curriculum Instruction-Leadership; certified in Early Childhood and Elementary Education

Lisa Huskey is a part of our preschool team and has many years of experience in early childhood meetings, including the Children’s School when her own four, now grown, children attended. Lisa has a bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies from The University of Missouri, a master’s degree in Curriculum Instruction-Leadership from Emporia State University, and is certified in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. In her spare time, she volunteers for Columbia Second Chance and enjoys gardening and spending time with family and pets (three dogs and two cats).

Taylor Midgley
M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction

Taylor Midgley received her Bachelor of Science in Education in 2012 and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. Taylor has been teaching preschool at The Children’s School at Stephens College since 2013. She has a passion for early childhood development and believes the key to unlocking a child’s full potential is through developing a safe, nurturing and loving learning environment. 



Elementary Teachers

Rachel Johnson

Rachel Johnson

M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction

Rachel Johnson is proud to be a Stephens alumna, receiving her B.S. in Elementary Education in 2004 and M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction in 2010. A seventh-year teacher, Rachel has also worked as curriculum coordinator and director of Crossing Kids. She is passionate about learning alongside her students, teaching tolerance and social justice, and cultivating a love for reading. Originally from Colorado Springs, Rachel enjoys hiking, camping and all things in nature, but savors a good book, a cozy chair and a cup of coffee just as much.


Peter LaMear

Peter LaMear

M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction; certified in Elementary and Middle School Education

Peter LaMear teaches in the open elementary classroom at the Children’s School, working primarily with fourth and fifth grade students, and teaches Foundations, Family and Community, and Inquiry into Education in the education department. His scholarly interests include psychodynamic theory, creativity, learning, learning to teach, and depictions of teachers in narrative and documentary film. Previously, he has worked as an English and math teacher in public schools in Chicago, Illinois; Chelsea, Massachusetts; and Fulton, Missouri. He has trained teachers with Harvard Teacher Fellows, developed an integrated ESOL/Know Your Rights curriculum with Boston College’s Center for Human Rights, and taught sections at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Peter holds degrees from St. John’s College and Harvard University. He is certified in Elementary and Middle School Education.


Sarah Parks
Sarah parksM.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction; certified in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and Middle School Science

Sarah Parks graduated in 2006 from Mizzou with her B.A. in Sociology, and 2010 with a B.S. in Education and 2011 with a M.Ed., both from Stephens. She is certified in early childhood education, elementary education, and middle school science. Sarah has a passion for children’s literature and teaching science. She is a Columbia native and lives with her husband, Nick, a small dog named Pax, and a large orange cat named Elwood. They welcomed their son, Finn, last May. In her spare time she loves walking in the woods with their dog, taking Finn on adventures, going to the movies and concerts, and being foodies.


Teacher's Aides

Tracie Huffman

Tracie Huffman works at the Children's School with all ages. She graduated from Stephens College with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and a minor in Equestrian studies in 2020. She is currently in the Master of Education in Counseling program to become a school counselor. When she is not working or doing school work, you will find her under a tree with a good book, wandering, and exploring the great outdoors, horseback riding, and/or volunteering for Second Chance.

The Children’s School at Stephens College

(573) 876-7260 [email protected] 105 Melbourne St., Columbia, MO 65201

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