Our Mission and Philosophy
The Sisters, Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts, operate and direct the activities of Our Lady of Grace Nursery School and Kindergarten as an integral part of their charism and profound religious commitment. Since 1962, the school and its educational programs have offered a tangible service to the local community - regardless of race, nationality, gender or creed.
The Sisters affirm their total commitment to the educational and emotional development of children and strive to provide an environment that nurtures the potential for discovery, learning and growth. The Sisters and staff work to provide quality care and interactive learning opportunities for children in an atmosphere where Christian values and love are evident.
Our Lady of Grace School is committed to the development of the whole child and fosters spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social and physical development on several levels. In an environment where young children are made to feel loved, secure and self-confident, specially designed programs help to prepare children, in every possible way, for elementary school and beyond.
We believe that parents are the primary teachers of their pre-school child. We also recognize that parents offer us an awesome responsibility when they entrust their child to our loving care. Accordingly, each family is an integral part of our school structure, where interaction between parents, teachers and staff is considered an all important factor. We strive to work together for the successful development of each and every child.
Recent studies indicate that a quality preschool experience provides a lifetime of benefits to participants and the communities in which they live. For every $1.00 invested in educating a child between birth and age 5, $10.00 is returned in saved costs of remedial and special education, increased graduation rates, reduced drug and incarceration costs, and increased numbers of young citizens joining a skilled work force and participating in higher education opportunities. Early education is one of the most effective ways to close the achievement gap in our schools.
Monsignor Francesco Maria Greco was the pastor of a poor but expanding parish in Acri, a town located in Calabria, Italy. In 1894, he petitioned several religious congregations to send Sisters to provide secular and religious education to the children of the town.
When every religious community refused his request, Monsignor Greco approached a devout catechist named Raffaella DeVincenti and asked her assistance in starting a new religious congregation. Together, Monsignor Greco and Sister Maria Teresa DeVincenti founded the religious community known as Le Piccole Operaie dei Sacri Cuori – The Sisters, Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
From its humble beginnings in Acri, the work of the congregation spread rapidly throughout Calabria to Rome and northern Italy. Founded in charity and with a particular devotion to the poor, the congregation became actively involved in several apostolates – education (nursery school, kindergarten, elementary school, high school, university and catechetics); the staffing of orphanages and parish ministries; social work; and the care of the aged and infirmed in hospitals and nursing homes.
In October 1948, nine Sisters left Calabria to begin a new apostolic mission in the United States. They came specifically to Stamford to expand their catechetical work… namely the formal education and spiritual development of young children and adolescents. Upon their arrival, the Sisters staffed Saint Basil’s Preparatory School as well as the Bishop’s chancery.
With God’s help, the Sisters eventually established two educational institutions in Stamford- Our Lady of Grace Nursery School and Kindergarten in 1962 and Villa Divino Amore Nursery School in 1989. Both of these facilities have provided a much needed service to the local community that has particularly benefited the children of working parents. For close to 45 years, over 4,500 children have been educated in a loving and nurturing environment.
In addition to the efforts in their own schools, several of the Sisters are involved in religious education programs in local parishes in Stamford including Our Lady of Montserrat and Saint John the Evangelist.
The Sisters subsequently established nursery schools in Philadelphia, Washington and Riverdale, Maryland. Internationally, they have opened new convents across Italy and established missionary houses and novitiates in Argentina, Albania and India.