Contributed by Michelle Whitney
My daughter, Emilia, started kindergarten this September. It was a bitter sweet moment. She has been a cherished part of the Eau Claire daycare and we both miss the daycare that was her second home. Both of us started our day warmly greeted by staff and made to feel like we were welcomed and belonged.
Various stations would greet the children; some days it was a dress up, circus, restaurant or a veterinary clinic. Other days the children would get their bathing suits on for swimming lessons and pool play time. Children participate in outdoor activities either on a field trip or on the outdoor play structure. My daughter loved field trip days – she travelled to the zoo, Home Depot, pet stores, the library and even a farm! Tanya, her teacher, loves the park and Emilia would regale me with the great adventures they had.
Below freezing days would see the children upstairs in the YMCA gym participating in games and performing tumbling activities. Plus 15 adventures ensured everyone stayed warm but had the opportunity to get moving.
I loved the open door policy – I would travel upstairs and have lunch with my daughter and her friends and teachers. Communal meals and snacks were such an important part of socializing.
The daycare follows the YMCA Playing to Learn philosophy which, as an educator, I find to be an effective way to engage and educate children. Children would express an interest in an activity and the rest of the week would be centred on that activity. For example, the children were interested in babies. Tanya brought in baby food for the children to taste test, which proved to be quite funny. The children studied a baby’s actions to determine it’s needs, learned about human development and about safety. This activity also taught the children about empathy.
My daughter was very well prepared for kindergarten. Children thrive on structure and stable environments. She takes pride in knowing that it is appropriate to put your hand up if you would like a turn speaking in a group. She understands the importance of ‘indoor’ and ‘outdoor’ voices. She can write her name, knows her alphabet and can count to twenty. Fine and gross motor skills were practiced at the YMCA through a range of play-based activities. She was allowed to freely express her imagination and felt safe in taking risks. Through physical activity she has become agile and confident.
I would highly recommend the Eau Claire YMCA centre to any parent. In fact, I was responsible for referring a parent whose child starts next month. The staff are well trained and professional but are also warm and empathetic. They do not hesitate to smother my daughter with hugs when they see her come back for a visit. I was confident that if she scraped her knee she would be gently snuggled and her hair stroked until she felt better. After all, as a parent this is all we want for our child – to know that they are loved.
YMCA Calgary operates licensed Child Development Centres in our Eau Claire, Saddletowne and Shawnessy locations. We are preparing to expand our impact with new centres in YMCA facilities in Quarry Park, Rocky Ridge, and Seton. These amazing new spaces will help us support young children to belong, grow and thrive!
- Blog - Featured
- Camp Chief Hector YMCA
- Camp Riveredge YMCA
- Community YMCA
- Grade 6 Membership
- Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA
- Melcor YMCA at Crowfoot
- Quarry Park Child Development Centre
- Remington YMCA
- Saddletowne YMCA
- Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge
- Shawnessy YMCA
- South Health Campus YMCA
- Success Story
- Success Story - Featured
- YMCA News