BearSt. Francis Early Learning Center


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St. Francis of Assisi History

Cardinal Dougherty established Saint Francis of Assisi (SFA) Church on June 9, 1923. In September 1924, the cornerstone of the school was laid and on September 7, 1926 the school was opened. In 1968 the school annex (now home of the Early Learning Center) was constructed, making St. Francis one of the largest schools in the area at that time. In 2007, Reverend Vincent F. Welsh became Pastor of St. Francis. Early in his administration, Fr. Welsh began planning improvements to the parish, one of them being the development of the Early Learning Center.

In December 2008 the St. Francis Early Learning Center opened its doors to the Norristown community. With experienced, trained and qualified staff, the St. Francis Early Learning Center offers high, quality early childhood education to children ages 6 weeks to 4 years. The center has quickly grown from 15 children in December 2008 to over 90 children in 2011. The centers commitment to quality is demonstrated in their advancement in the Keystone Stars Program. The center in 2 years has reached Star 2 and with the assistance of United Way Success By 6 Program, is positioned to reach Star 3 in 2012.




Mrs. Erica Gonzalez - Director

Mrs. Gonzalez earned a BS in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Temple University and an MBA from Arcadia University. She has worked in early childhood since 1996 and served as a Director of two Philadelphia Archdiocesan child care centers for nine years prior to joining St. Francis Parish in August 2008. Mrs. Gonzalez is committed to early childhood education, dedicated to lifelong learning, and believes in providing quality services and building partnerships with families. In addition to her years of formal experience working with children, Mrs. Gonzalez has 2 children of her own, ages 5 & 7. In her spare time she enjoys reading and traveling with her family.


Mrs. Minerva Rivera - Assistant Director

Mrs. Rivera joined St. Francis Early Learning Center in November 2008 after having worked at Catholic Social Services for four years. Her time there provided her with much experience in the early childhood field. Mrs. Rivera has always enjoyed working with children and has 3 older children of her own. Mrs. Rivera loves to sing, dance, and travel and during her free time she enjoys spending quality time with her family.