Early Childhood center to help fill community need
Construction of the Holy Family Early Childhood Learning Center officially got underway last week with ground being broke at the corner of Sixth and J streets, according to released information from Aquinas and St. Mary’s Catholic Schools.
The grounds, located to the east of St. Mary’s School, was demolished to clear the way for the new, 4,600-square-foot structure being erected by the Aquinas Building Trades Program. As a result of the project, the program won’t have to complete a home build this school year, the released information says.
School representatives, through a released statement, said that they are excited that trade students will have hand in creating a space that benefits the entire school system, numerous families and the greater community as a whole.
“Aquinas-St. Mary’s is very interested in the continued growth of the David City and the Butler County area,” said the Rev. Sean Timmerman, chief administrative officer for Aquinas and St. Mary’s Catholic Schools. “Our new Childhood Learning Center will help families who desire to move to here find high quality, affordable and Catholic Christian formation for their children.”
The new center will have a capacity of 80 children. It will consist of four classrooms housing infants, young toddlers, 3-4-year-olds and pre-kindergarten students.
Mary Coufal of David City has been hired as the new director, according to released information from the schools. The current and temporary home for the center is in the St. Mary’s convent where the facility was approved by the state to accept 12 children.
Sarah Zook, principal at St. Mary’s Elementary School, said there are already qualified child care providers in the community but that the need is surpassing the number of available spots. Additionally, the released information says the Catholic schools believe this is a great chance to help more parents with the social, academic and faith formation of their children.
“Families have continually expressed how difficult it is to find child care for their little ones, especially infants,” Zook said. “This need will increase as more families move to the David City and surrounding areas. St. Mary’s is committed to providing faith-filled, developmentally appropriate activities and opportunities for the children in its care now and in the new center. This center will be a blessing for the entire community and a real help for young and incoming families.”
Another important goal the new child development center will help meet is the opportunity to receive new young families into the Catholic school system. With the close proximity of the center to St. Mary’s, pre-school children can easily be walked back and forth from the center, and parents will not need to arrange picking them up when pre-school is done.
Timmerman said that the new center will be at the upper echelon in regard to providing attendees the best possible learning environment.
“Around our state and country, a lot of energy and resources are being put towards early childhood development, he said. “Holy Family Early Childhood Learning Center will be on the cutting edge of best practices from educational leaders and programs in the State of Nebraska and the National Catholic Education Association.”