We don't just teach people how to swim — we teach children and adults how to stay safe in and around the water — and we’ve been doing it for 130 years!
Swimming is more than just a hobby — it's a life-saving skill that could prevent thousands of deaths each year. That's why our swim lessons help focus on water safety, building character and increasing self-confidence. We’ll teach your child to swim confidently at his or her own pace, and enlist you as an active participant in the learning process.
All campers participating in Traditional Day Camp are required to put down a non-refundable deposit per week of camp. If you are using the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and have a copay under $100 or have siblings with $0 copay, no deposit is needed.
All Specialty Camp registrations must be paid in full at time of registration.
All campers must be fully registered and paid in full by the Wednesday prior to attending the week of camp. A $15 late fee will be added for registrations and payments made after the Wednesday before the week of camp, which is due before the first day of the camp week. Vouchers on the account will be applied to childcare balances.
Once your summer camp week(s) ends and if you do not plan on further using your Y membership, the membership must be canceled by the membership department/front desk. Please note, there is a minimum of 5 business days’ notice before your next drafting date that is required. Any membership cancellation will be effective as of the next billing cycle. The cancellation may be made in person or email with receipt of confirmation.
Fifteen—YES, FIFTEEN—locations across Chicagoland offer Day Camp!
These locations include:
- Buehler YMCA
- Elmhurst YMCA
- Foglia YMCA
- Fry Family YMCA
- Hastings Lake YMCA
- Indian Boundary YMCA
- Irving Park YMCA
- Kelly Hall YMCA
- Lake View YMCA*
- McCormick YMCA
- Rauner Family YMCA
- Sage YMCA
- South Side YMCA
- YMCA Camp Duncan
- YMCA Safe ‘n Sound*
*Day Camp programming is held at neighboring schools throughout the summer. More information will be available as part of the registration process.
No! The Y is for everyone, and you do not have to be a member to participate in Day Camp. However, members do receive a discount* and early access to registration.
*All campers must hold an active and valid Youth, Parent & Child, or Family membership or Youth Program Pass at the YMCA of Metro Chicago to receive the member rate, and it must remain active and valid until at least September 1, 2023. If membership is terminated prior to September 1, 2023, the non-member rate is due on all camp registrations after the date the membership is terminated.
Yes, most meals are provided by a food vendor that supports all dietary restrictions. Check with your local preschool for more information on the meals served.
Yes! We work hard to create a positive environment for all of our members, including those with disabilities. View our Inclusion Services page to learn how we work to make each member feel welcome and supported.
Children are not required to be toilet-trained before starting the preschool program at the Buehler Y. However, diapers and pull-ups must be supplied by the parent. We encourage toilet training and will work with families in helping with the transition in our full-day programming.
Each afternoon children in our full day programming will have a designated rest time. Each child will have their own cot or mat (provided by the YMCA). Children under 6 years of age who are not enrolled in kindergarten or elementary school who remain 5 or more hours shall have the opportunity to rest or nap. Children 3 years of age and older (until they are enrolled in kindergarten) generally shall not nap for more than 2 hours or rest without sleeping for more than 60 minutes. Children in this age group who do not sleep may be permitted to get up and shall be helped to have a quiet time with equipment or activities that will not disturb the napping children.
Kindergarten and school-age children shall not be required to sleep or nap. However, floor pillows, sofa, carpet, bean bag chairs, padded chairs or cots shall be provided for lounging or resting.
Preschool children can be grouped by age: ages 2 to 5.
Registration can be completed online, at your local Y, or via phone. If you prefer to contact our team, please call 773-905-5115 (Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.).
Visit the Buehler YMCA preschool and meet with your Early Learning Manager! They are more than happy to give you a tour of our space and assist you in the process of signing your child up for preschool!
Contact your Early Learning Manager, Jenn Stricker, via email ([email protected]) to set up a time to visit, learn more, or register for preschool at the Y!
We strive to provide your child with a constructive and rewarding learning environment! Our YMCA preschool programs implement the Creative Curriculum in all classrooms. We also provide academic assessments and developmental screenings such as Ages and Stages (ASQ). Together, this information supports the teachers in understanding where each child needs more support.
Children typically start preschool around the age of 3 years old. However, some children and programs will start preschool as early as 2 years old.
The YMCA’s preschool teachers are Teacher Qualified per Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) regulations. Each of our teachers also receives a minimum of 15 hours of continued professional development every year.
The YMCA is committed to the health, safety, and wellbeing of all of our campers!
Sign-in and sign-out procedures at pick-up and drop-off will occur curbside, or outside of the building/camp area.
Handwashing procedures are reinforced and integrated into activities throughout the day.
Campers should bring a labeled water bottle with them every day. Touchless water filling stations will be made available to campers and staff.
Enhanced cleaning protocols are in place, including the frequent sterilization on high touch objects, surfaces, and toys, as well as overnight deep cleaning of our facilities.
Staff will go through extensive training to be prepared to carry out all the safety procedures required.
The Buehler Y preschool operates two options for preschool: half-day (9 a.m.-12 p.m.) or a full-day (7 a.m.-6 p.m.).
Note: the full-day preschool option includes breakfast, lunch, and two snacks.
The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago works to create a positive environment for all of its members, including those with disabilities. If your camper requires a modification due to a disability, our Inclusion team is happy to work with you to create a plan for support. Look for and select the modification request on our registration platforms online, in-person, and on paper enrollment forms. For more information, please visit our Inclusion Services webpage.
Our YMCA preschools prioritize a safe learning environment. We follow the required Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) regulations for teacher to child ratios:1 teacher per 8 children age 2 and 1 teacher per 10 children ages 3 to 5.
The Y’s typical Day Camp schedule includes a welcome activity, opening circle/check-in, experiential learning time, snack time, physical activity, lunch, literacy, intentional choice time, closing circle, and checkout/goal review. Weekly activities may also include swimming and/or offsite field trips — and your Camp Director will have additional information on special activities as the summer approaches!
Before care typically runs from 7 to 9 a.m., camp programming from 9 to 3 p.m., and after care from 3 to 6 p.m. Please check with your camp site for specific program times. Before and after care are included with your registration at no additional cost.
Our preschool program's daily schedule is built around a creative curriculum that allows time for children to have free choice and large motor activities, as well as small group learning activities. During group time, children will work on fine motor development, large motor development, and kindergarten readiness activities.
Camp deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.
All cancellations must be requested in writing at least 14 business days prior to the start of the registered camp week, and if approved, you will be issued as a voucher for use toward other YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago fees. All cancellation requests must be in writing, either submitted to the Membership desk or emailed to the camp director
Refunds required due to third-party approval will be processed two weeks after the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) approval letter arrives at the center. CCAP balances will be the financial responsibility of the parent/guardian.
No refunds are given for missed days due to camper illness.
Our YMCA preschool programs use a redirection and choice providing approach which is designed to support children in the learning process.
- Active, comfortable clothing (anything you don’t mind getting dirty)
- Close-toed shoes
- Water bottle
- Swimsuit & towel/life jacket if required for swim level
- Lunch and snack*
- Mask (optional)
- A positive attitude and desire to have fun!
*To find out if your camp will provide a pre-packaged meal or snack for your child, please contact your Camp Director.
Registration for preschool at the YMCA is accepted year round, provided that there are openings in the classroom.
All paperwork, including the emergency packet, is due the Wednesday before your child attends camp. Campers will not be permitted into their day camp without receipt of these documents. Documents are provided to you when you register your child(ren).
If your camper has a medical need requiring medication during camp (routine or emergency medication), the Permission to Dispense Medication form must be completed and turned into your Camp Director. Additionally, any camper with an allergy requiring emergency medication must have a Severe Allergy & Anaphylaxis form on file as well.
Signing up your child for preschool is an exciting time! There are many benefits of attending preschool. It provides structure and consistency for children and teaches them social skills, self help skills, and independence. Preschool also supports cognitive development, preparing children for kindergarten.
Every child develops at their own pace, so there's no rule of when your child should start preschool. If you're unsure whether or not preschool is currently a good fit for your child, visit your local YMCA preschool and meet with your Youth Development Director for more information.
We’ve got the best in the (day camp) biz — and our Day Camp leaders are here to help you navigate our camp offerings and find the best options for our campers!
Youth Development Director, Buehler YMCA
847-410-5217 | [email protected]
School Age Manager, Buehler YMCA
847-410-5233 | [email protected]
Early Learning Manager, Buehler YMCA