Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

New St. Anne Children and Family Center opens next month

the Inland Register

(From the Aug. 19, 2004 edition of the Inland Register)

St. Anne Children and Family CenterThe new St. Anne Children and Family Center boasts a “whimsical, child-based environment.” The Center opens next month. (IR photo from Catholic Charities)

Whether from the perspective of a child or of a parent, the new St. Anne Children and Family Center is a great place to be. Opening next month, Catholic Charities’ new facility on the corner of Fifth and Browne is a state-of-the-art childcare facility. The building will have room for 200 children.

“I’m very excited about this facility,” said Lee Williams, the new director. “The classrooms are set up so that children’s needs and learning abilities are taken into consideration. And staff will be selected to ensure we will meet the National Association for the Education of Young Children) criteria.”

Why would parents want to send their child to St. Anne?

For one thing, said Williams, it has a premium security system. Unauthorized persons will be unable to access the Center, and there are floor-to-ceiling windows in every classroom.

Furthermore, the Center has cutting-edge technology to help parents stay connected: each classroom will be equipped with a web-based internet camera, so that parents can log on at any time of day just to see what their children are up to. Williams says that this is important not only as a security measure, but also to allow parents to get a real feeling for how their children are spending their days: “Parents are very busy,” she said. “This is a way to let them take a minute to see how their child’s doing, how the children are spending time.” Viewing the children online can also start a dialogue between parents and teachers, as parents will be able to ask questions about particular activities. The system is protected by passwords that will be given only to authorized persons.

Why would a child want to go to St. Anne?

Williams suggests they will love the whimsical, child-based environment.

“The facility itself is beautiful, and was built with caring for children in mind,” she said. She describes the atmosphere as playful, citing the four outdoor play areas (one of which is a well-protected rooftop play area with an awning for outside activity, even if it’s wet), the kids’ kitchen, and the large indoor play area, which is flooded by natural light from skylights.

“The design of the lobby is also unique,” she said. “There’s a place for families to sit and transition into the day. There are footsteps in the floor leading to the play area, and an aquarium with a stuffed cat watching the fish and a stuffed dog watching the cat. There’s a ‘pond’ carpet with koi, and the ottomans and chairs are placed like rocks around the ‘pond.’ As you move up the ramp toward the preschool area, it looks as if there’s a railroad track leading the kids to their own special area. It’s a friendly, warm environment that invites kids in.”

The Center will be available for families of all faiths on a private-pay basis and for those receiving Working Connections Child Care. Enrollment for the new Center began on July 22. For information, call Catholic Charities at 358-4250.

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