Gianelli’s Early Learning Center is founded by the Daughters of Our Lady of the Garden in the educational spirit of St. Anthony Gianelli. We believe that respect for God, others and self contributes to a family-like atmosphere. We are committed to creating “lifelong learners” and to nurturing spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical growth in a caring and safe environment.
For those who do not know much about the Sisters or our order, we are the Daughters of Our Lady of the Garden. Our congregation was founded in Italy by St. Anthony Gianelli in 1829. We are an international congregation, serving in 13 different countries on 5 continents. Our world headquarters is in Rome. Our main apostolates are education, health services and parish ministry. In the United States, we also serve in Providence, RI, and in Staten Island, NY. In this community here in Middletown there are 6 sisters who are not only from 4 different countries but also from 4 different continents!
We have a wonderful staff, all dedicated to the total well-being of the children and partnering with parents in the formation of their child. Every employee and volunteer who has contact with the children has been trained in the VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children program as part of our safe environment priority.
The Daughters of Our Lady of the Garden purchased property in Middletown, Connecticut with the intention of establishing a home base in the general area of their first American missions. Soon, the sisters discovered that there was a great need for quality early childhood education in the Catholic tradition in the greater Middletown area and that working-class parents needed and wanted a safe haven for their very young children.
In 1972, Gianelli Early Learning Center opened its doors for the first time. Fifty years later, this mission and ministry still impacts the families that it serves. Over 4,500 children have received their earliest instruction in faith and in academics from the sisters who lovingly care for them and provide spiritual and material help for their parents.
In addition to the daily classes and special activities conducted by the sisters, the community of sisters stationed at Gianelli’s serves as catechetical instructors for local parishes and operates a Summer Camp program 2 – 5 years olds each summer. Enthusiastically encouraged by the priests stationed at St. Sebastian Church in Middletown, the reputation of the sisters as educators and friends of the local population has grown over the years.
The founding community, Sr. Mary Antoinette Cappelli, Sr. M. Consolata Paglia, Sr. M. Eugene Sanità, Sr. Luisa and Sr. M. Sophia, laid a wonderful foundation for the work that continues today. The present community is comprised of Sr. Juana Olmedo, local superior and director, Sr. Eugene Sanita, dietician and teacher assistant of 3 year olds, Sr. Mary Pattasseril and Sr. Marykutty Edavazhickal, teachers of 4 year olds, and Sr. Lizzy Chirackal, teacher of 2 year olds. They are assisted by a dedicated lay staff, formed in the charism of St. Anthony Gianelli, as well as an Advisory Council.