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St. Patrick’s Preschool joins Catholic Diocese of Rochester’s school system

Teachers at St. Patrick's Preschool dress up for St. Patrick's Day on Thursday.
St. Patrick's Preschool
Teachers at St. Patrick's Preschool dress up for St. Patrick's Day on Thursday.

After a months-long process, St. Patrick’s Preschool is now one of 17 schools in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester’s school network.

Jim Tauzel, superintendent of Catholic schools, said St. Patrick’s is the first stand-alone early childhood education center in the system. The preschool is in Victor, a key area where the diocese did not have formal programming before, Tauzel said.

“Our mission in preschool is really to help foster a good relationship between the entire family and the church,” Tauzel said. “So hopefully, the experiences that they have in preschool are leading not just the child but the entire family to a closer, more active relationship with God.”

Nancy Kolb, a secretary at the school, called it an opportunity for their staff and teachers to receive more training and professional development through the diocese.

“It doesn't mean a big change for us here, how things are going to look to teachers or families or that sort of thing,” Kolb said. “We'll just have more resources available to us through the diocese.”

While not all students are Catholic, aspects of religion are woven into their school day. That includes prayer, holiday events, and visits to the church next door. Kolb said it’s interesting to see how children interpret those lessons.

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“We had the Christmas pageant and baby Jesus, and the kids all knew that. So then just a few months later, we're walking through the church and one of the kids asked me, ‘Who's that statue of?’ and there's this big statue in the back of the church. I said, ‘That's Jesus.’ And he said, ‘Boy, he sure grew up since Christmas,’” Kolb said with a chuckle.

Those are teachable moments unique to the school, she said.

The school is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Noelle E. C. Evans is WXXI's Murrow Award-winning Education reporter/producer.