A teacher and child
Apr 26, 2022

Investing in Our Youngest Learners

With one preschool student and another preschool alum at the Rauner Family YMCA, the Hart family counts on the Y to instill healthy habits, cognitive skills, and emotional wellbeing—core competencies that support school readiness and lifelong learning.

J’tia Hart shared the following sentiments at our virtual Recognition Dinner in October: “That is the power of these programs: they develop the whole person, they give you your path, they give you your runway, and they let you launch.”

At the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, we believe in showing up for families at every stage of life. This means investing in our community’s kids early on and providing the nurturing, attentive care infants and toddlers need to reach their full potential.

We’re proud to offer foundational early learning experiences across several Chicagoland locations, including in neighborhoods like Little Village and North Lawndale, where affordable, high-quality child care is an urgently needed community asset.

Our early learning programs, which serve 529 young learners weekly, pair developmentally appropriate curriculum with the positive human connections and resources our youngest learners need to thrive. Essential supplies, such as formula, diapers, and wipes are provided to enrolled families at no additional cost, and funding from Early Head Start, Preschool for All, Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), and the Y’s Scholarship Fund make it possible for us to make early education accessible to all.

Meanwhile, the Y’s licensed preschool programs bring our mission anchors of academic readiness and character development to life, preparing young learners aged 3-5 for anything life throws at them. Aligned with state and national Early Learning Standards, our preschools promote language, anti-bias literacy, math, and critical thinking skills by encouraging children to explore their own interests in a supportive environment.

Providing children a safe, nurturing environment in which to learn and grow is the utmost priority at every one of our child care locations. All YMCA teachers are highly trained, DCFS-certified, and carefully selected based on the Y’s core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. As we continue to adapt to the changes and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve adapted our early education programming to adhere to IDPH guidelines.

The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago is committed to building a healthier, more equitable Chicagoland, and that starts with intentional investment in the youngest members of our community.