Learning starts here
As the nation’s leader in early childhood and school age programming the YMCA offers learning programs and readiness opportunities for all children six weeks through middle school. With so many demands on today’s families and the increased focus on early brain development, families need all the support they can get to nurture the potential of youth. That’s why Child Care and Early Learning programs at the Y focus on holistically nurturing child development by providing a safe and healthy place to learn foundational skills, develop healthy trusting relationships and build self-reliance through the Y values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.
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We’re committed to helping children
What sets us apart? By embracing the Y’s core values — caring, honesty, respect and responsibility — our Child Care Centers pave the way in programming for children and youth. We partner with parents to help children grow physically, cognitively, socially and emotionally through programs tailored for each age group: Infant/Toddler, Preschool and School Age.
Our full- and half-day programs for children six weeks through middle school include:
- Outstanding academic program with developmentally appropriate curriculum
- Caring staff professionally trained in child development, health and safety and curriculum
- Safe environments fostering education and encouraging a healthy lifestyle
- A full range of activities that may include weekly swimming lessons, physical fitness programs, enrichment classes, seasonal field trips and so much more
Infant Toddler Care
Infant Toddler Care is designed for children as young as six weeks old. While in our care, children engage in social, language and sensory development through a wide range of daily activities. From taking their first steps to learning to how to be individuals, we strive to provide the highest quality care for our youngest children.
Preschool classes are available for children ages 2-1/2 to 5. We offer full- or half-day options to help children prepare for their next major milestone — Kindergarten! Our curriculum allows children to experience both individual and group activities focused on fun and learning, as they transition from toddlers to little boys and girls.
Before and After School Care, Kindergarten Extended Days (KEDs), Holiday Care and Summer Day Camp opportunities are offered for children in Kindergarten through Middle School at many of our locations. Our staff will engage youth in physical activities, learning opportunities and imaginative programs that encourage them to explore who they are and what they can achieve. Students will have the opportunity to begin their homework, participate in STEM activities (science, technology, engineering and math) and join in a variety of programmatic and activity options to explore and develop their interests and talents. HEPA (healthy eating & physical activity) habits are strongly encouraged and a daily part of our programs. Before/after school bussing is included to and from many of the local schools, so working parents can relax knowing that their children are in a safe, supervised space.
For specific information on each Child Care Center please click here
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Depending on the center, children are encouraged to be potty-trained prior to entering preschool. If a center requires potty-training and your child is not yet trained, we do offer alternative toddler programs in a majority of our centers.
Our goal is to have all the children rest so they have energy for our afternoon activities. However, all children are different and not every child will fall asleep during rest time. We do encourage all children to take a break and “rest”, however the children who do not fall asleep will be provided a quiet alternative.
New Jersey’s law requires all children under the age of 5 years attending an Early Learning program (infant/toddler/preschool) receive a mandatory flu shot by December 31 each year. A medical or religious exemption is possible in some instances; the Center Director will direct you to the appropriate paperwork.
The State of New Jersey Department of Education recommends several approved preschool curriculums. We utilize The Creative Curriculum in our early learning programs.
Many of our child care centers are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The YMCA prides itself on following higher standards for health and safety, NAEYC standards provides us the tools and guidance to ensure high quality. The NAEYC Accreditation system was created to set professional standards for early childhood education, and to help families identify high-quality preschools, child care centers, and other early education programs. To earn NAEYC Accreditation, a program must meet each of the ten NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards. Programs are accredited by NAEYC for a five-year period.
Select child care sites offer a Kindergarten Extended Day program. This program supports the curriculum followed at the public school to ensure that all children receive a full day of learning. The YMCA of Colonia, Ken Shirk Child Care, Our Savior Child Care, Edison Branch YMCA, and Metuchen YMCA all offer a Kindergarten Program.
Yes! We have a wonderful summer camp program that runs for 10 weeks during the summer. We service children from 5 to 12 years old. The children in our summer camp program travel to the pool twice during the week and go on one weekly field trip. A half-day program for children 3 to 5 years old is available at some locations.
Yes, children will be placed in groups of 10 children per room. Infants will be limited to 8 per room. Children & staff will remain with the same groups, thereby minimizing the risk of spreading infection. The forming of groups may prohibit the number of children we are able to accommodate so registration will be on a first come, first served basis.
Yes, the children will play outside daily, weather permitting. Each class will have their own outdoor play time to avoid mingling of groups.
No. To minimize the number of people in the building and the risk of cross-contamination, parents and guardians not be permitted to enter. We ask that only one adult drop off and pick up their child(ren). Parents should wear a mask during drop off and pick up.
- Daily health checks for all staff and children, including temperatures checks prior to entering the building.
- Parents/caregivers & other visitors are prohibited from entering the Center.
- Children’s belongings will be kept in individually labeled containers.
- Staff and children will be required to wash their hands upon arrival to the Center.
- Staff will work with one assigned group as much as possible to limit the spread of germs from group to group.
- Children will remain in the same group to limit the spread of germs from group to group.
- High-touch surfaces, tables, toys will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day.
- Playground equipment will be disinfected between groups if shared, as well as, at the end of each day.
No. We are asking parents to provide all of the child’s meals, snacks and refreshments to prevent cross-contamination. Lunches should be sent in a lunch box with an ice pack if necessary.
Yes, staff will be required to wear face coverings.
The child will be isolated from the other children and a face mask will be placed on the individual. Any staff member near the child will be required to wear a face mask and gloves. The parents/guardian will be notified to pick up the child immediately. Parents/guardian is asked to notify the Center immediately if the child is diagnosed with COVID-19.
Children will be in groups of ten to maintain safe ratios and are called “families”. Families will play stay and play amongst their own members. All shared items and equipment will be properly cleaned and disinfected between uses throughout the day. Shared high-touch equipment will be limited and designated equipment will be assigned. There will be limited indoor activities offered. Indoor programming will be segregated by households and children will be staggered to ensure appropriate social distancing indoors. Children will have labeled containers to hold their own supplies as much as possible, including but not limited to: crayons, pencils, scissors (as age appropriate), etc. The use of shared items (balls, blocks, manipulatives, etc.) will be limited to families and cleaned and disinfected between use by other families.
This could vary by Center based on community needs.
We will ensure proper hand washing of at least 20 seconds upon arrival, before eating, after using the bathroom, after blowing their nose or coughing, after coming in from outdoor play, before and after activities and a multiple times during the day. Our daily itinerary will have scheduled breaks throughout the day for cleaning & disinfecting surfaces and hand washing. Disinfectants and sanitizers will be available. We will disinfect all surfaces multiple times throughout the day.
Water fountains will not be available for mouth-to-fountain use. Best practice is for children to bring their own refillable water bottles appropriately labeled with their name.
In order to reduce interpersonal contact and to limit potential exposure to the coronavirus, we will not be organizing field trips this year. However, age appropriate “virtual” field trips may be offered.