St. Mary’s Child Center was founded in 1961 by a group of concerned parents who saw an urgent need for quality services for children with learning and emotional challenges. St. Mary’s Child Center began providing intensive, high quality early intervention to the children as well as support, mentoring and education to the families.
Twenty two children were housed in a dilapidated building until 1986. With little money to continue their efforts, the staff was hoping for a miracle. That miracle arrived in the form of 33 generous community leaders who built a new school and are now referred to as St. Mary’s Child Center’s first “Godparents”. What they accomplished is an epic tale of good heartedness, good fortune, and series of mysterious miracles that resulted in what Bob Thompson, called “the biggest little building in Indianapolis”.
St. Mary’s Child Center has grown since 1986. We expanded our program in 1998 to the Gilliatte building at Fort Harrison in response to the increasing demands for our services. A preschool classroom was opened in the IPS/Butler University Laboratory School in August 2011. An additional preschool classroom was opened at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in August 2015. In 2016, we partnered with St. Anthony’s to operate their two preschool classrooms. Today, we serve 280 three to five year-olds in five beautiful buildings.
In September 2007, St. Mary’s Child Center began the Educational Outreach Program. Since that time, we have worked with early childhood educators in our community and beyond, providing professional development opportunities to teachers with the intention of improving the quality of experiences for the children in their classrooms.