Phone: 417-724-6300


Degrees and Certifications:

Degrees: B.S. Elementary Education, with an emphasis in Early Childhood (College of the Ozarks, 2008) M.A Educational Administration (Lindenwood, 2012) Ed.D Educational Administration (Lindenwood, 2017) Certifications: Early Childhood Education (Birth-3rd) Elementary Education (1st-6th) Early Childhood Special Education (Birth-3rd) Mild/Moderate Cross-Categorical (K-12th) Principal (K-12th) Superintendent (K-12th)

Dr. Lara Wilbur

Dr. Wilbur has been the principal of Nixa Early Childhood since 2014. She started her educational career in 2008 with Branson Public Schools, teaching Special Education at the early childhood and high school levels. Beyond the classroom, she was an assistant coach for the men's and women's high school soccer teams. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a focus on Early Childhood from the College of the Ozarks. She continued her studies, obtaining a Master of Arts in Educational Administration and a Doctor of Education in Educational Administration from Lindenwood University. 


"Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood."

~Fred Rogers

  • A Message From our Principal

    Posted by Lara Wilbur on 1/4/2024

    The vision of Nixa Early Childhood is to nurture creative, confident, lifelong learners with 21st-century skills who explore their world through active discovery. All of our classroom teachers are certified teachers for the state of Missouri, as you would find in an elementary school, and we participate in high-quality professional development to ensure we are implementing current best practices when it comes to early childhood education. Our classroom teachers provide high-quality, research-based instruction for all students. 

    Our classroom assessments and instruction align with the Missouri Early Learning Standards and Individualized Education Program Goals. We utilize a number of methods within the classroom in order to educate the whole child. One of these methods is inquiry-based teaching. This style is an active, student-centered educational method. The basis of the inquiry-based approach is to facilitate student-generated questions and ideas as the core part of the learning process. Students are then driven to be active learners because they are part of the planning process. Because this method is very child-driven, it is not uncommon to see less cookie-cutter artwork/ worksheets and more child-planned and created items. Lessons and activities are planned with purpose, based on observations and data the classroom teacher has collected. This method is also very hands-on and play-based. During play-based learning, students do so much! During play, children engage in conversations, talk things over, and exchange opinions and ideas during routines and activities. They are encouraged to make predictions, form connections, seek answers, and solve problems. Adults ask open-ended questions to support children’s efforts, stimulate new ideas, and encourage divergent thinking. 

    In order to meet the educational needs of all students, classroom teachers differentiate their instruction by monitoring and adjusting instructional practices based on a child's learning style and ability.  

    At Nixa Early Childhood, our focus is to educate the whole child. To get our bodies ready to learn, we utilize a motor lab. At the preschool level, a child's social-emotional skills are just as important, if not more important, than the pre-academic skills. We want to send students to kindergarten ready to learn. In order to be ready to learn, students need to know how to regulate their emotions, interact with peers, solve problems among peers, and communicate their wants and needs. We use Conscious Discipline to help us teach these skills. We truly believe the social-emotional skills we are teaching our students will be skills they carry on with them for life. We also know there are high kindergarten expectations, so we have developed a grade card that aligns with the Missouri Early Learning Standards.  

    Parents, you are your child's first teacher. This is why, at Nixa Early Childhood, we believe in forming partnerships with families to help your little eagle soar.

    Nixa Early Childhood also offers services through our Parents as Teachers program. If you are expecting or have a child under the age of 5, this is an exciting program for your family. Parents as Teachers is a free and fun program designed to give parents an understanding of how  

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