The Ministry Corporation of the School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province announces that Notre Dame Preschool, located at 320 E. Ripa Ave. on the Notre Dame campus in south St. Louis County, will close at the end of the 2012-13 academic year.
Notre Dame Preschool began in 1974 in response to an unmet need in early childhood education. Over the years, the enrollment steadily increased from the first group of 25 children until it reached its peak of 237 children in the 1994-95 school year. It is estimated that more than 5,000 children have been served by the preschool in its 39 years.
The preschool, however, had experienced continuous decline in enrollment since 2000. During this time, other early childhood programs, including several parish preschools, began and are serving many of the families that formerly were served by Notre Dame Preschool. In an effort to keep the school open, an analysis of the preschool was conducted, several changes in the program had been implemented and fundraising increased.
Sister Ann Marie Bonvie, SSND, director of Notre Dame Preschool, is working closely with the parents to find appropriate preschool settings for their children for next year.
“As we move through this transition time, we will celebrate with each other the work that God has done through Notre Dame Preschool these past 39 years,” Sister Ann Marie said.
The Provincial Council for the School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province acknowledges that Notre Dame Preschool has provided excellence in Catholic preschool education since its inception and continues to do so today.
“We extend our deepest gratitude to Sister Ann Marie Bonvie for her dedication to the children and their families, for her leadership among the teachers and staff, and for her commitment to the mission of the School Sisters of Notre Dame,” said Sister Mary Anne Owens, SSND, provincial leader.
“The success of Notre Dame Preschool would not have been possible these past 39 years without the support of the 30 School Sisters of Notre Dame who served there, and the lay teachers and staff, parents and donors who supported the program,” Sister Mary Anne said.
The School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province is part of an international community of women religious whose mission is to proclaim the Good News, directing their entire lives toward that oneness for which Jesus Christ was sent. The sisters live and minister in 57 dioceses, 24 states, the U.S. territory of Guam and eight countries. They continue the sacred work of their foundress, Blessed Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger, to transform the world through education, giving special emphasis to women, young people and those who are poor.