YMCA Playing to Learn Preschool Kelowna

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Registration is now open for the YMCA of Okanagan’s preschool and early learning programs for this fall, a set of offerings based on the Y’s proven Playing to Learn curriculum.

The YMCA is Canada’s largest not for profit child care provider and has developed its Playing to Learn philosophy thanks to years of experience and the latest research findings. It prepares children for lifelong learning as well as getting them ready for kindergarten. 

With one of the highest Playing to Learn curriculum scores across the country, the YMCA of Okanagan is providing a safe, caring environment – a “home away from home.”

But, most importantly, it’s just plain fun.

“A child who is successful in preschool is one who enters kindergarten socially and emotionally ready to learn,” says Danielle Miranda, YMCA of Okanagan’s senior manager of child care. “They feel secure away from their parents, participate in group activities, feel confident, show independence and build relationships with their peers and their teacher. That’s what kindergarten readiness truly is.”  

That is what the Y aims to provide: a place your child can learn to be away from mom or dad, those first tentative steps from the nest. 

Financial assistance may also be available to families in need.

YMCA of Okanagan staff realise not every family can afford preschool. That’s why the Y offers financial assistance and works alongside the provincial government; Y programs are also eligible for the B.C. Child Care Subsidy.

The Y’s Miranda has seen firsthand what happens when children aren’t ready to begin school: it creates an “achievement gap”, starting them off behind their peers in literacy and numeracy skills. If that gap isn’t closed by Grade 3, then a child’s chance of high school graduation is already diminished.

“This starts all the way back in their preschool and early learning years,” she said. 

Miranda explains that it is important families understand the Y doesn’t want anyone to feel excluded.
“It’s equal access for all families,” she said. “It’s making sure that your child is emotionally and socially ready for a transition to kindergarten. When children feel emotionally secure then learning happens. This is when they learn the alphabet, how to write their name and other exciting milestones.”

“Our preschool and early learning programs are meant for all, and that’s really important,” she said.

Preschool is for children three to five years old. For younger children – or for children three to five who need all-day care – the Y offers early years care at the YMCA’s Little Scholars Child Care at Okanagan College in Kelowna and at their newest location at Kelowna Secondary School. Trained, nurturing staff can provide customized schedules for your children while ensuring they receive stimulating, supportive attention.

The YMCA’s Playing to Learn curriculum is based on research that proves playing is the easiest and most effective – not to mention, most fun – way for kids to learn. It works by nurturing natural curiosity and development.

When you enter a YMCA Playing to Learn Preschool, you’ll notice it is filled with natural elements – plants or maybe even a fish tank for kids to care for. Children set the pace under the guidance of qualified early-childhood educators. The ratio of educators to children is 1:10.

Not to say there isn’t serious work happening. The Y prepares children for an easy transition to school by using similar curriculum to what they’ll find once they begin kindergarten.

It’s all in an effort to ensure children have the best chance to succeed in life.

To further provide benefit, all children enrolled in preschool and early years care receive a free membership to the Kelowna Family Y or H2O Adventure + Fitness Centre, including swim lessons, programs and child minding.

YMCA Preschool and Early Learning programs are offered at various locations throughout Kelowna and West Kelowna. Depending on location, parents may be able to choose from either two or three days per week, morning or afternoon programs.

“Children are always ready to learn, and at this age they learn best through play,” says Miranda.

Registration is now open for fall early years care and preschool programs at the Y. 
Visit ymcaokanagan.ca for details.