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Summit Area YMCA Offers Child Care and Early Childhood Education

The Alternative Press Staff

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 • 2:02pm

SUMMIT, NJ - The Summit Area YMCA, which includes the Berkeley Heights YMCA, the Summit YMCA, and the Learning Circle YMCA, offers a wide range of Child Care and Early Childhood Education options for families in the community.  As a non-profit focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Summit Area YMCA infuses its core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility into all of the programs for the children.  

The demand for quality child care and education has been the driving force behind the expansion of the Y’s programs over the years.  “There is a growing need in the community for quality child care and early childhood education,” stated Darrell Johnson, President and CEO of the Summit Area YMCA. “The Y is all about youth development.  We understand how important it is for parents to know that their children are in a safe and nurturing environment where they can learn, grow and thrive.  Our goal is to provide that for more families.”

The Summit YMCA offers Pre-school, Kindergarten Wrap, and Before and After School Care programs for children entering pre-school though fifth grade in Summit, New Providence and Springfield.  Flexibility is key to the programs with each providing 5, 4, 3, and 2-day options.  Pre-school, for children age 3-5, features a structured, curriculum-based program that focuses on language arts, math, art, science, Spanish, physical education, and swim time.  The Kindergarten Wrap program, as a supplement to the public school schedule, meets the NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards, and includes the same academic focus areas of the Pre-school program.

Children in first through sixth grades can participate in the Before and After School Care program at the Summit YMCA, which includes bussing to and from the schools. After Care activities include homework time, snack, elective activities and enrichment classes.

Extended Care till 6:30 p.m. is available for all of the Summit YMCA programs. The Kindergarten Wrap and Before and After Care programs are available to students who attend Brayton School, Franklin School, Washington School, Lincoln Hubbard School, Jefferson Schools, and Wilson School in Summit; and, Walton School, Sandmeier School, and Caldwell School in Springfield.

“I believe our staff is top of the line,” mentioned Bridgette Byrne, Youth Development Director at the Summit YMCA.  “We focus on making sure that children and parents alike feel welcome and cared for – a family feeling, like home away from home. There is a strong sense of community in our program.”

The Learning Circle YMCA, located in Summit, offers comprehensive programs including Child Care for infants age 6 weeks to 18 months and toddlers age 18 months to 3 years, as well as Pre-school for children age 3-5 years and All-day Kindergarten for children age 5 years or older. Dedicated to the care of children, The Learning Circle YMCA caters to working parents and focuses on enriching the lives of the children throughout the early years of development. Program options include Pre-school Enrichment Classes, Kindergarten Wrap with meals, and Extended Care with meals.

This past year, The Learning Circle YMCA expanded its Child Care and Early Childhood Education program by moving the Kindergarten to a new building and reconstructing the main facility to allow more families to participate in the Kindergarten and the Pre-K programs. All-day Kindergarten is based on a solid curriculum that meets the guidelines of the Department of Education and is led by two certified teachers. The curriculum is enhanced by academic technology in the form of a Smart Board, as well as a garden to aid the children in learning and exploration. Registration for All-day Kindergarten for the 2014-15 school year will be held the week of February 3-7, 2014.

“By providing the children with a structured environment with a staff that is caring and nurturing, the children feel comfortable to learn and explore,” commented Joyce Klimaski, Executive Director of the Learning Circle YMCA. “It is wonderful to watch how the children develop physically, emotionally and academically over the years as a result of our well-rounded program.” 

With a focus on Youth Development, the Summit Area YMCA branches offer continuity of care from young children through young teens, which allows children to feel secure in their surroundings and to grow in a structured, enriching environment. The Y also infuses its focus of Social Responsibility in all of the programs through various activities to help the children build character and understand how meaningful it can be to help others.

All of the Y’s Child Care, Early Childhood Education and School Age Child Care programs integrate Healthy U, a  statewide initiative that includes nutrition education and physical activity as a means to  promote healthy living and prevent childhood obesity.

For more information about Summit Area YMCA Child Care and Early Childhood Education, visit www.theSAY.org.

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