St. Richard Early Learning Center

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St. Richard is a dynamic parish that has served the spiritual needs of Catholics in the Jackson area for more than six decades. We are a thriving faith community with more than 1,300 families and are blessed with active lay leaders and flourishing ministries. We are the largest parish in the Diocese of Jackson. We are proud of our outstanding grade school – our parish’s most vibrant ministry. Founded in 1953 by the Sisters of Mercy, our school is passionate about educating the heart and mind. The school is dedicated to its mission of academic excellence and instilling a reverence for God, a respect for life and a commitment to serving others.

Though our school is strong, it faces challenges involving elementary enrollment, and demand for preschool and early learning programs.

Our school offers an outstanding preschool program, which serves 3-and 4-year-olds. Our parish and school constantly receive calls from parents seeking day care and early learning programs for infants and other children younger than age 3. But we cannot help them because we lack programs for children in that age range. Availability of affordable, high-quality, faith-based preschool and care programs is limited in Jackson. Families both in our parish and the community struggle to find desired care. Serving the needs of families is an important parish mission, but we are hindered in fulfilling it completely. Enrollment Though our preschool is going strong, enrollment has declined over the years in our elementary grades, just as it has nationally. Our school provides an essential ministry and has the biggest impact on our parish and its future. We must boost enrollment to ensure the long-term sustainability of both our school and parish. Simply put, a healthy school equals a healthy parish.

After careful study and discussion, parish leaders have identified a project that will address our challenges and position our church and school for an even stronger future. Construct Early Learning Center {Estimated Cost: $2 million} This free-standing building of approximately 9,000 square feet will be constructed at the corner of Manhattan Road and Lynnwood Drive. The center will offer care and learning programs for infants and children through age 3, expanding our already popular preschool offerings. The center will house our current program for 3-year-olds, while the program for 4-year-olds will initially remain at the grade school.

The center will:
• Provide a feeder of students to our grade school, boosting enrollment and ensuring a strong future for our elementary program and parish.
• Expand our mission and strengthen our outreach by providing additional care options to families both in the parish and the greater Jackson community.

THE NEW CENTER WILL INCLUDE: • Ten classrooms, with separate spaces
for children based on age
• Capacity for 130 children
• A large, multipurpose activity area
• Seven restrooms
• Secured entry
• Kitchenette
• Office area
• Sickroom
• Outdoor play area
• Storage