Change and excitement are in the air for Saint Mary Villa Child Development Center staff and families as the program prepares for its mid-August move to the former St. Vincent de Paul School at 1704 Heiman Street in North Nashville.
The program, with roots going back 150 years, will be leaving the 30 White Bridge Road site it has occupied since the late 1970s.
Saint Mary Villa Child Development Center (SMV CDC) at St. Vincent, an affiliated service of Catholic Charities of Tennessee, will provide quality child care for children ages six weeks to five years with an approach that promotes intellectual, physical, social, and moral development in a safe, healthy, nurturing, and multi-cultural environment. The school is enrolling students now, with an anticipated St. Vincent de Paul opening date of August 15. Tuition is determined on a sliding-fee scale.
"This center has demonstrated an on-going early childhood education commitment to excellence and caring from its start," said Clarie Givens, executive director of Saint Mary Villa Child Development Center (SMV CDC) at St. Vincent. "Our staff is excellent and highly experienced. They are our biggest assets."
The program has earned a consistent three star rating for organization and performance in staffing, training, family involvement, and services. This is the highest rating given through the state of Tennessee Star Quality rating system.
"We are very excited about this move," said Givens. "We are very fortunate to have some wonderfully dedicated people, including: board members, Catholic Charities staff members, diocesan staff members, St. Vincent de Paul community members, volunteers, and our contractor on the team to help smooth out the process. We would not have been able to make this move, had all of these people, and Bishop Choby, not been involved and supportive. Our staff and families have been tremendously supportive, too."SMV CDC will occupy the entire first floor classroom area of the former St. Vincent de Paul School, Givens said recently. There are seven large classrooms. Two will serve as infant rooms; two will be home for the one-year-old program; and there will be one each for two year old, pre-Kindergarten, and pre-school programs.
"We will have good space within which to operate," said Givens.
"This move is part of a larger commitment by Nashville Bishop David Choby and the Diocese of Nashville to the North Nashville community," said Bill Sinclair, executive director of Catholic Charities of Tennessee. Catholic Charities has entered into a 10-year lease with St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church for the former St. Vincent de Paul School space.
"In addition to the Child Development Center opening for business on August 15, our Senior Enrichment Center will be moving from White Bridge Road and opening in another section of the school's first floor in mid-August, too," he said. "Catholic Charities will be adding several social service programs on the second floor of the school building, as well."
"Our goal for the St. Vincent de Paul campus is to create a second resource center for social services for the North Nashville community." Catholic Charities has operated its North Nashville Outreach program in several community locations over the past 30 years, first on 7th Avenue, then on Buchanan Street, and now at the McGruder Family Resource Center on 25th Avenue North.
The two locations, Heiman Street and 25th Avenue North, are 1.2 miles apart. Catholic Charities is the lead agency at the McGruder Center.