Program History

WSU was founded in 1858 as the first “Normal School” west of the Mississippi. Preparing teachers and honoring children is a proud part of WSU’s history and displayed through our program’s chronology:

1973: The WSU Nursery School was established by the Education Department in Howell Hall, providing a classroom setting for early childhood education students and 40 preschool-aged children from the WSU and greater Winona Community.

1988: Student Services opened the WSU Child Care Center to support student parents’ academic success in space rented from Central Lutheran Church. The program served 45 children aged birth to age five.

2000: Maxwell Children’s Center was created by blending the Nursery School and Child Care Center programs. A new model was envisioned combining early education and care ideals. The new program moved into a newly designed facility in Maxwell Hall serving 170-185 children aged birth to grade five.

2006: Through a partnership between the Winona Area Public Schools, City of Winona and Semcac Head Start, a second site opened in the Madison Elementary School with two classrooms serving 30 children, aged 22 months through Pre-K.

2006: The Maxwell Hall site is relocated to Wabasha Hall. The program becomes officially known as the WSU Children’s Center Program.

2012: The Early Childhood Professional Development Center and Curriculum Lab opened serving early childhood teachers and providers in southeastern Minnesota.

2014: The Center opens a second infant classroom and works in partnership with the Winona Public Schools to open a second elementary Pre-K site at W-K Elementary School.

Present: The vision for children and families continues as the center currently serves 190- 220 children yearly and provides over 250 field experiences for WSU students. Our partnerships continue to grow as we support children, future and practicing professionals.