A few words about the past and present
St Mary’s Playschool (Pyhän Marian lastentarha) is a playschool situated in the shelter of Kaivopuisto. It has been in the same address, Puistokatu 1, already for 50 years.
The roots of the playschool date back to the beginning of 19th century, when the Catholic Church returned to Finland after the Reformation. In 1855 the parish of St Henrik was established in Finland. This also forms the beginning of Catholic Church’s children’s educational work as schools, orphanages and nurseries were established.
In 1924, the Dutch Sisters of the Holy Hearts of Jesus established the school of St. Mary’s. The nursery was established later in 1930. Before moving to Puistokatu the school was operating at Edefeltintie and Engelinaukio. In these areas there were many embassies and also diplomats’ children who needed schools. Many of the embassy children did not speak Finnish and therefore English was taught in the playschool from its very beginning. This tradition is still alive, and even today the children at the playschool learn both Finnish and English.
In the spring of 1985, the Sisters of the Holy Hearts of Jesus gave the playschool over to the Polish Ursuline Sisters, who continue the work today.
The Ursuline Sisters have dedicated themselves to educational work all over the world. The founder, Ursula Ledochowska (1865-1939) wanted to give children and young people care and love. She believed it was desirable to provide children with the best possible growth environment and surround the children with security and happiness. At the same time she emphasized the importance of the example given by the caretakers - “By setting an example ourselves of a loving relationship between an adult and a child, and demonstrating that the relationship will last through difficult times, it will be easier for a child to gain self-confidence and to overcome the challenges in life. “