March 21, 2008

NCEA Convention

St. Mary’s Child Care Center helps children reach their potential

Thousands of archdiocesan school children recommended their favorite restaurants to convention attendees.

Thousands of archdiocesan school children recommended their favorite restaurants to convention attendees.

Special to The Criterion

For more than 45 years, St. Mary’s Child Center in Indianapolis has been a leader in providing a full range of services for children who are desperately in need.

St. Mary’s Child Center believes that every child deserves a childhood that allows the child to be successful in early years, in school and as adults.

Through its programs, St. Mary’s Child Center, in partnership with the family, enables children to reach their potential.

The Diagnostic Clinic at St. Mary’s provides evaluation and diagnosis of learning problems for more than 110 children ages 6-18 annually. A plan for school success is developed with the children’s families based on the results of the evaluation.

St. Mary’s Early Childhood Program provides direct services daily to 208 children age 3 to 5 who are impacted by poverty, abuse and violence.Transportation, nutrition services, social work services, play therapy and home-based family support is provided.

The program is of the highest quality. It is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and inspired by the pre-primary programs of Reggio Emilia of Italy, heralded to be the best early childhood program in the world by Newsweek magazine.

In addition, St. Mary’s Child Center offers professional development opportunities to our community and beyond.

The Seminar Series introducing the Reggio approach is offered each semester, and one-to-one mentoring is offered to other programs serving poor children.

St. Mary’s Child Center provides financial support for educators working with children in poverty.

St. Mary’s is a member of the Indianapolis Reggio Collaborative (Butler University, Warren Township Early Childhood Program, Lawrence Township Early Learning Centers and St. Mary’s Child Center) and participates in the Butler Summer Institute, drawing educators from all over the Midwest.

Significant, positive, lifelong outcomes are experienced by children who participate in a high quality early childhood program, particularly children who face extreme barriers to development.

Research studies show compelling evidence that children involved in these programs have higher IQs, achievement scores and graduation rates. They are less likely to be retained, enrolled in special education or incarcerated later in life.

No child has ever been denied services at St. Mary’s Child Center because a family is unable to pay. The clearly defined mission has the support of the entire community. Individual donors, foundations and the corporate community fund the programs.

Many of the largest companies in Indianapolis support St. Mary’s Child Center and its approach to educating the whole child. Through the collaboration of these businesses, the leadership of the center and the archdiocese, St. Mary’s is able to serve the neediest of children in the city.

These same businesses have extended their support to the Mother Theodore Catholic Academies in the center city that also work to provide educational opportunities to the economically disadvantaged children of Indianapolis.

(For more information contact Connie Sherman, St. Mary’s Child Center director, at †

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