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Early Learning Should Be Fun

March 23, 2023
Walking through the Early Learning hallway of the Baxter YMCA, a center with the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, you’re instantly greeted with the sounds of giggles and squeals of delight. Peaking in through the windows, you see little ones making “cookies” with playdough, building castles out of blocks, and reading books in bean bags with friends. At YMCAs in Greater Indianapolis, the Early Learning programs are the happiest spots in the building.   At the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, we strongly believe that learning should be fun and that all children should have access to a welcoming and developmentally appropriate environment. According to NAEYC, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, “All children should be afforded opportunities to play, regardless of their racial group, socioeconomic class, and/or disability.” These core beliefs are evident as you explore the YMCA’s Early Learning classrooms, and see the following foundational elements in action.  

Our Learning Fundamentals

  1. Toys, games, and activities are readily accessible. At the Y, kids are able to choose many of their activities for the day. Essential life skills, like fine-motor skills and teamwork, are developed through hands-on exploration and play! Providing kids the power to choose what they’d like to play with creates autonomy and encourages active engagement. Young girl playing
  2. YMCA spaces are colorful and kid-friendly. YMCA Early Learning spaces are filled with colorful furniture, rugs, and decorations, creating an inviting space where kids feel comfortable. Tables and chairs are specially sized to fit the age groups we serve, reading nooks are comfy and cozy, and spaces are set up to be easily cleaned on a regular basis. Each Early Learning classroom was designed to have the kids’ best interests at heart! Young boy playing
  3. Instruction is individualized. The YMCA uses a “Creative Curriculum” as the foundation of our Early Learning programs. This research-based strategy uses individualized instruction to respond to each child’s strengths and needs for the most effective learning and growth. Additionally, a “Creative Curriculum” promotes the development of the whole child by supporting academic learning alongside social-emotional, cognitive, and physical development. Teacher with child
  4. YMCA staff are engaged. It’s important that kids create lasting and meaningful relationships with staff in their Early Learning program. At the Y, we’ve found the best way to do that is through engaging one-on-one to create a fun and inviting environment to connect. Our staff are trained to lead their classrooms through positive and impactful interactions.  Teacher with child
  5. YMCA kids develop both their bodies and their minds. Physical activity is incredibly important to develop healthy habits at a young age. In fact, according to “Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures,” evidence shows that kids who are active tend to have fewer behavioral concerns, perform better in school, and have increased attention spans than kids who are inactive. Plus, active games are FUN and a great way to get those wiggles out.   Young child laughing
At the Y, our Early Learning programs are so much more than childcare. They are a space to safely grow and develop in a caring and inviting environment. The YMCA offers Early Learning programs for ages 1-5, along with half and full-day options, at multiple locations across Indianapolis. We invite all interested families to visit our YMCA Early Learning programs to see if they would be a good fit for you and your family.

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