Holy Trinity Catholic Early Childhood Centers strive to develop the whole child

Four-year-old preschoolers at the Holy Trinity Catholic Early Childhood Center in St. Paul bend down to offer a view of the center’s new sign, painted by two art students at Holy Trinity Catholic Junior/Senior High School in Fort Madison. Preschool teacher Ramona Stevens and associate Christy Kempker stand on either end.

The old adage “experience is the best teacher” applies to everyone, but especially to very young children. The Holy Trinity Catholic Early Childhood Center teachers and staff in Fort Madison and St. Paul have child development training and know that from the moment of birth, very young children learn through their senses and by interacting with their environment and people. 

The HTC early childhood programs stimulate the development of the whole child through age-appropriate, interactive learning activities that help the children achieve goals aligned with the Iowa Early Learning Standards.

The HTC Early Childhood Center in Fort Madison houses kindergarten, pre-kindergarten, preschool, daycare and school-age care programs with 97 children enrolled this year. It is licensed by the Iowa Department of Human Services and has earned an Iowa Quality Rating System Level 4 on a scale of 5. The center provides child care from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The preschool, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs are in session from 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. 

ECC Director Kathy Osipowicz has 30 years of experience in early childhood education, holds a National Administrator Credential for child care, and received a Children First Early Childhood Advocate Award in 2005 for outstanding service and commitment to Iowa’s youngest children.


The St. Paul HTC Early Childhood Center is completing its second year. It offers preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds on alternate weekday mornings. The center achieved an Iowa Quality Rating System Level 1  its first year, and is applying for a Level 3 rating in June. The teacher, Ramona Stevens, uses Creative Curriculum to plan activities based on Iowa Early Learning Standards for her students.

Twenty children from surrounding communities in north Lee County attend the preschool. The students recently combined primary colors in clear beakers to make new colors and matched the colors to things around them. Children First Empowerment grants have provided educational materials and equipment for the preschool, including a new playground climber for 2- to 5-year-olds, which parent volunteers installed this year. St. James Parish in St. Paul shares the building with the preschool.

The staff at HTC Early Childhood Centers wants children to discover that learning is fun! They follow the words of world-renowned child psychiatrist Peter Jensen:

“The best predictor of kindergarten and first-grade success is not whether children know their letters and numbers. It’s whether they can get along with other children, follow instructions and be interested in learning.”   

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