Diocesan News

Schools establish Early Childhood Learning Center

DAVID CITY (AHS/SNR) – Aquinas and St. Mary’s Catholic Schools in David City recently announced the establishment of the Holy Family Early Childhood Learning Center. 

Property across from the east side of St. Mary School, on the corner of 6th and J streets, was generously donated to the school. The house there was demolished to clear the lot for a new, 4,600-square-foot structure that will be constructed by the Aquinas Building Trades program.

The Building Trades Course provides students with an opportunity to get a real hands-on experience in constructing a full-scale home with commonly used tools and materials. Since 1999, Aquinas students have completed a house during each academic school year. Because of the Holy Family project, the program will not have a house for sale during the 2018-19 school year, but Aquinas High School is excited that the students will be able to participate in this new project that will benefit the entire school system, families and the greater community. 

“Aquinas-St. Mary’s is very interested in the continued growth of the David City and the Butler County area,” said Father Sean Timmerman, chief administrative officer for Aquinas-St. Mary’s Catholic Schools. “Our new Childhood Learning Center will help families who desire to move here to find high-quality, affordable and Catholic Christian formation for their children.”

He said the community has good childcare providers, but the need for child care is greater than the spots available. The establishment of the new center is therefore an opportunity to help more parents in 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,” said Mrs. Sarah Zook, principal at St. Mary Elementary. “This need will increase as more families move to 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,” she continued. “This center will be a blessing for the entire community and a real help for young and incoming families.” 

Another important goal of the new child development center will be the opportunity to receive new young families into the Catholic school system.  With the close proximity of the center to St. Mary School, 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.

“Around our state and country,” Father Timmerman pointed out, “a lot of energy and resources are being put towards early childhood development. 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.”

The new center will have a capacity of 80 children. It will have four classrooms – for infants, young toddlers, 3- to 4-year-olds, and pre-kindergarten. Mary Coufal of David City has been hired as the new director. 

The current and temporary home for the center is in the St. Mary convent, where the facility was approved by the state to accept 12 children at the current location. Construction on the new center began last week.

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