of the Most Pure
Heart of Mary
Mr. Demoia, chef
Our mission at St. Benedict’s Day Nursery is to provide a holistic, pre-school education for the children of working parents in a Christian atmosphere in which they grow spiritually, intellectually, physically, emotionally and socially.
Preparing the Children of Today for the World Tomorrow
St. Benedict’s Day Nursery, a Catholic non-profit day care center, was founded in 1923 by The Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, at the request of Cardinal Hayes, Archbishop of New York. It was established under the auspices of Catholic Charities in response to the needs of working parents in the Harlem community.
Initially, St. Benedict’s provided mostly custodial care. However, it has evolved into one of the first pre-school educational programs in the United States. The Franciscan Handmaids of Mary recognized pre-school education and its importance. Today, the day nursery has a long waiting of list of students whose parents understand how crucial this education is for their children.
Originally located on West 132nd Street, the Day Nursery moved in 1953 to the Kennedy Center on West 134th Street to make room for the Lenox Terrace. In 1999, St. Benedict moved to its current facility adjacent to the Franciscan Handmaids’ Motherhouse, at 21 West 124th Street.
Children, ages 3 to 5 years old, are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis regardless of race and or creed. They are provided with a highly academic, comprehensive, developmentally, age appropriate holistic educational program. The well balanced schedule provides stimulating activities for the spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional, and social growth of the children.
School activities relate to mastering age- appropriate concepts in religion, reading, writing, math, social studies, science, art, music, and physical education.
The preschool literacy program, which serves as a model for other schools in and beyond Harlem, enables our children to read a year or more above their age level. Trips to such places as the Museum of Natural History, the New York Aquarium and the Bronx Zoo help the children learn more about the world in which they live.
Ms. McGraw's class of three-year-old students and Mrs. Barbour
They are encouraged to share with others and to give to the community.This lesson is learned by visits to residents at the Northern Manhattan Nursing Home for Halloween, Christmas and Easter.
Sister Leonie, FHM, and her class wearing their St. Benedict t-shirts
The success of the program at St. Benedict’s is due to the love and dedication of a committed religious and lay staff, the cooperation of parents, and the support of many generous benefactors and volunteers.
Ms. Montazor's class, 4-year-old students
St. Benedict’s Day Nursery does not discriminate on the basis of race, color sex, religion, national origin, or ancestry.