St. Nicholas Hall: 6 Weeks-6 Years
Infants are the tiny poets of a world yet unspoken, their coos and cries painting the first strokes of life’s masterpiece. Full of energy
and curiosity, children in early childhood classes and preschool are setting the stage for a bright future at Cotter Schools. Our
caring educators help these young learners establish a strong foundation for learning and social interaction that will carry on throughout the years.
Opening June 2024 - Now Enrolling
As previously announced, Cotter Schools acquired the Tau Center from Winona State University with the intent to refurbish it into an Early Childhood Center. The development of the Early Childhood Center is making significant strides. Renamed St. Nicholas Hall, the facility will cater to childcare needs for children aged 6 weeks to the first day of Kindergarten, offer preschool programs, and Montessori Toddler and Children’s House programs. St. Nicholas Hall is scheduled to open in June 2024.
St. Nicholas was a Bishop of Myra during the 4th century and is one of the most popular saints in the Christian tradition. Associated with the Christmas giving season because of his great generosity, the Catholic Church celebrates his feast day on December 6. A person of deep faith, St. Nicholas is a role model for all of us reminding us to stand up for what is right and to be kind to all people. His story inspires us to use our lives in service of others. St. Nicholas is also recognized as a Patron Saint of Children.
Christine Nichols, Early Childhood Director said, "I am extremely excited with the opportunity to welcome more children from the Winona area into our Early Childhood Center. The growing emphasis on quality programming for the early childhood population makes the opening of St. Nicholas Hall a dream come true for our community."
The energy-efficient and secure building boasts numerous exciting attributes, encompassing a new cafeteria, three fenced-in playgrounds with two utilizing poured-in-place surfaces, and a designated "Natural State Playground," along with a new library. The Rotunda is undergoing transformation into a spacious large motor area that can be partitioned into two separate spaces or expanded for assemblies and paraliturgy. The generously sized classrooms feature attached bathrooms and ample open space to encourage children's exploration. Additionally, an outdoor garden space will be visible through expansive windows near the entrance lobby.
“We are excited to be able to provide our youngest Ramblers with a beautiful space to learn and grow. The classroom environment has been designed to meet their needs, and they will enjoy wonderful access to outdoor learning spaces and our natural environment as well. We feel incredibly blessed to be able to increase the number of students and families we serve, and we hope that the new infant care program will meet some of the childcare needs present in our community,” said Mary Eileen Fitch, President of Cotter Schools.
St. Nicholas Hall will enable Cotter Schools to increase enrollment in early childhood programming. St. Mary's is currently licensed for 150 children in EduCare through Preschool. St. Nicholas Hall will be licensed for 250 children from infant care through Preschool, providing the capacity to grow by nearly two-thirds.