“My son has been attending the program ever since he turned 2 years old. First as a half-day student, then moved to the full day program when he turned 2 and a half. As a working mom, I want my child to attend a quality program, but is also important that the hours work with my schedule. I get both at the YMCA. The program is year-round and the staff make my child feel like he is family. It gives me one less thing to worry about knowing that he is safe and well taken care of,” said Megan, mother of 3 (and a half) year old, RJ.
[caption id="attachment_15388" align="alignright" width="158"] Megan & RJ enjoy the Member Pool Party, one of the many family events at the YMCA[/caption]
Created for the community
The Benjamin Harrison YMCA Early Learning Preschool Program was created in 2014 to provide half-day early learning care for those attending Ivy Tech Community College Lawrence Campus. The program now serves the entire community with quality year-round child care for children ages 2.5 to 5 years. The main goal of the program has always been to promote the children’s emotional, social, physical and cognitive development.
The Benjamin Harrison YMCA Early Learning Preschool is an Unlicensed Registered Ministry through Indiana State Licensing. The preschool also participates in the federally funded Child Care Food Program and accepts child care vouchers such as On My Way Pre-K and CCDF.
“My son has grown so much from beginning the program, socially and academically. The classes take part in field trips, learn how to swim, experience different forms of art and play, and build relationships. No other program that I looked at lets the children experience as much as the Y does,” commented Megan.
[caption id="attachment_15387" align="alignright" width="331"] RJ and his classmates enjoy a look inside an ambulance during Career Week.[/caption]
Recognizing each child as an individual
Children can explore, make discoveries, use senses and physical movement. Through hands-on activities, they learn and develop at their own pace. The staff recognizes each child as an individual, expanding where they are, not where we want them to be.
"We foster an understanding of diversity among people by expecting and modeling behavior based on mutual and unconditional respect for self and others. We pursue every available opportunity to celebrate and explore individual and cultural differences," explains Cassondra Revilla, director of Early Learning.
Learning through play in preschool
Educators at the Y believe that children learn best through play, and play is the legitimate and genuine work of young children. When children are engaged in purposeful play, they are discovering, creating, improvising and expanding their learning. The programs are structured so children are active participants in their own development and learning.
The YMCA uses the Creative Curriculum, which includes activities such as dramatic play, language, science, math, social studies, music, art and large and small motor development.
“The Creative Curriculum has worked very well for RJ. He’s a kid and he loves to play. I like that this method lets him still ‘be a kid’ but incorporates learning and he’s really picked up what he’s been taught. I am very thankful that my child is in this program,” stated Megan.
Staff make the difference
The teachers and assistants are experienced, trained professionals chosen for their warmth, creativity, experience with children, and commitment to excellence. The staff environment encourages mutual respect for each individual’s personal characteristics and teaching style, opportunities for shared leadership, and provision for providing professional growth.
“We have a great group of staff that are very dedicated to the children and their families. Many of our staff have continued their education in achieving their CDA certifications. In the last four years the program has grown substantially, and I thank staff for their hard work to make this happen. I am very proud of the work that has gone into making this program what it is today,” said Revilla.
[caption id="attachment_15386" align="alignright" width="331"] Playdough is a great interactive activity that all children can enjoy with Miss Lisa.[/caption]
Across Central Indiana
The Benjamin Harrison YMCA Early Learning Preschool is currently full for the Fall Session, but children can be added to a wait list by visiting Member Services and will be contacted if a spot opens up. You can also check out the other YMCA early learning programs across Greater Indianapolis.