Tag Archives: YMCA Childcare

YMCA Child Development Centres in Quarry Park – Kindergarten Transportation

The Remington YMCA Child Development Centre opens July 1 and we anticipate that the Quarry Park Child Development Centre will open mid August 2016.

It has been great fun preparing the spaces to welcome children and we have greatly enjoyed getting to meet families during tours and orientation meetings.

We are excited to announce that bus transportation will be available to Douglasdale School for kindergarten-aged children attending both the Remington YMCA Child Development Centre and the Quarry Park Child Development Centre beginning Fall 2016.

Please contact us for more details:

Remington YMCA – Trisha Skinner, Childcare Director    T 403-351-8287

Quarry Park Child Development Centre – Trudy Halvorsen, Childcare Manager    T 403-351-6688

For more information about YMCA Calgary Child Development Centre please visit our website


Staying cool in the pool

Swimming has always been one of my favourite things to do during the summer months and it isn’t often I have the opportunity to go swimming during the winter. Recently, however, I had the opportunity to expand upon my role as the YMCA Childcare Administrator by participating in recreational swim time with the adventurous children of the Saddletowne Child Development Centre. I had such a great time experiencing how the children and staff interacted with one another in the playful and exciting pool environment.

When people imagine young children in the pool they can easily envision a formal lesson or playful splashing fun. What I saw was a wonderful combination of children having fun while also having an educational experience. Children encouraged each other to try new things such as jumping off the ledge into the water or using the slide to enter the pool. Some children were a bit timid but, with encouragement and support from their teachers and friends, everyone either took the leap or slide. And, most importantly, everyone had a great time and experienced a true sense of accomplishment.

What I found most interesting during my time in the pool was how the caregivers blended play with the teaching of water safety habits – walk on the pool deck to avoid injury, jump into the pool feet first, sit on your bottom to use the slide and tips for floating while wearing a life jacket. All of this was accomplished with gentle reminders inserted at just the right moment during activity time.

I really enjoyed making some new friends and look forward to the next time an opportunity presents itself for me to join one of our childcare groups on a play-filled adventure.

YMCA Calgary currently operates three licensed childcare centres. Days are filled with intentional play-based activities that provide for developmentally appropriate learning opportunities. Recreational swim time is one way we support young children to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.


YMCA Child Minding

YMCA Calgary’s Child Minding is available to members and non-members who require short term care for their children while they are in the facility pursuing their health and fitness goals. Children, aged six-weeks to 10 years, may be booked in for a maximum of 2 hours per day.

The Child Minding environment is often a young child’s first introduction to the YMCA. Caregivers take the well-being and safety of the children very seriously, aiming to ensure that their experience is a positive one. Through providing a warm welcome, ensuring an effective check-in and helping to ensure children settle comfortably into the area, caregivers set the tone for each child to have a positive and engaging time.


Recognizing that Child Minding can be a busy place, our caregivers want to maintain a calm, welcoming and supportive environment. They do this through:

– careful management of our booking system to maintain staff:child ratios that meet children’s developmental, health and safety needs

– utilizing wonderful volunteers within the area who are available to provide extra cuddles and attention to our young charges

– providing age-appropriate toys and equipment for children of all ages

– utilizing additional space, where available, during busy periods so that smaller group sizes can be maintained

For more information about our Child Minding service please visit our website or contact us at one of our participating branches – Crowfoot YMCA, Eau Claire YMCA, Saddletowne YMCA, Shawnessy YMCA

Caring and Respect Shine Within YMCA Child Development Centres

Young children are naturals when it comes to giving hugs and expressing their fondness for the special people in their lives. They are also very willing, and able, to contribute to the happiness and well-being of others through their kind actions.

Children aged 19 months – 6 years attending licensed YMCA Child Development Centres learn about and practice our four core values – respect, caring, honesty and responsibility. Caregivers provide opportunities for children to practice demonstrating these qualities as well as identify and celebrate situations in which children have done so.

The holiday season easily lends itself to providing ways for all of us to demonstrate the core values of respect and caring. Our childcare centre staff, volunteers and children support this by –

  • hosting family events so families can connect with one another
  • having children and caregivers work together to create seasonal room and centre decorations
  • having children prepare thoughtful cards and gifts for others
  • supporting families in need through branch and centre initiatives such as Adopt-a-Family
  • honouring cultural differences within program activities
  • recognizing the many ways that people celebrate the season

For ideas on how to further develop core values within your child here are some examples of how children in our centres demonstrate respect, caring, honesty and responsibility.


  • Taking turns
  • Listening when someone else is talking
  • Using words to solve a problem rather than physical actions


  • Inviting another child to play
  • Comforting a friend who is upset
  • Helping another child to accomplish a task they are struggling with


  • Telling the truth even when it is hard
  • Letting a caregiver know if a toy has been broken or a piece lost
  • Learning to differentiate between their imagination and reality


  • Cleaning up toys and equipment when they are done playing
  • Storing personal items in their locker
  • Following the safety guidelines that are in place

Wishing you and your family warmth and joy this holiday season.



A Parent’s Perspective of the Eau Claire Child Development Centre

Contributed by Michelle Whitney

Emilia with her Mom, Michelle, in front of her new school

Emilia with her Mom, Michelle, in front of her new school

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!

Encouraging Self Help Skills in Children

A YMCA Childcare participant prepares her snack

A YMCA Childcare participant prepares her snack

As a healthy part of their development, children have a natural drive to be independent and to do things on their own. As children grow and have opportunities to develop their skills, they learn to do more and more independently.

YMCA childcare staff support children in their quest for independence by regularly providing opportunities for them to take personal responsibility. While it can be faster and less messy for adults to do things for children we want to help children develop competencies they can take pride in.

When children practice self-help skills, such as feeding and dressing themselves, they are utilizing their gross and small motor skills, gaining confidence in their abilities and developing self-confidence. These early successes lead to them being more willing to try new things while recognizing that practice leads to skill development.

Ways to encourage self- help skills at home; 

Meal times – Encourage your child to serve themselves, pour liquids into a cup and eat without direct assistance during meals

Dressing and grooming – Allow extra time for your child to dress/undress themselves and to perform personal grooming tasks

Hygiene and toileting- Encourage children as they learn to use the toilet, climb on and off the toilet seat, pull clothing up and down, and wash their hands

Daily chores- Involve your child in age appropriate household chores. Studies show that early involvement leads to greater independence in early adulthood.

Celebrate your child’s success!

Submitted by Margaret Ferriss, Eau Claire YMCA Childcare Director

Healthy Eating in the Early Years

Young children have specific needs when it comes to meeting their nutritional requirements to grow and thrive. The type and quantity of food are especially important when you consider tiny tummies and all the development they are experiencing.


Staff of the Saddletowne YMCA Child Development Centre have put together a list of things to consider when addressing the nutritional needs of young children.

  • Parents and caregivers decide WHERE to offer food and WHAT foods will be available
  • Children eat best when they sit down for meals and snacks rather than when on the move
  • Sitting and eating with children encourages a pleasant atmosphere making it easier for everyone to eat well and to enjoy the meal. It is also an excellent time to catch up on the day’s happenings and support language development
  • Turn off the TV, radio and electronic devises during meal time. This helps a preschooler focus on eating as well as on learning and practicing positive eating skills
  • Children’s appetites change from day to day. Some days a young child will eat a lot while on other days their appetite is much smaller. This is normal!
  • Stay positive and remember that trying to force a child to eat is not effective. Children know when they are hungry and when they are full. Allow a child to leave food on their plate and try not to bribe them to “eat just one more bite”
  • Children’s portions are typically smaller than an adult sized portion. They also need to eat small amounts more frequently. For more information on food choices and portions for children visit Canada’s Food Guide
  • Limit treats to ensure children are filling their bellies with foods that support their development. And, remember, a little creativity in preparation and in serving style will  provide the variety young children may be wanting when they reach for treats
  • Involve children in meal planning whenever possible. This is a great way for children to learn where foods come from and how they are prepared. It also provides an opportunity for children to experience a sense of pride as they help to prepare delicious foods the whole family will enjoy
  • Your child’s steady growth is the best way to tell that they are eating enough

By prioritizing meal times as family time you are also supporting the overall health and wellbeing of everyone within the family.



Hopping Bunnies Raise Money for Strong Kids

Excitement was in the air as approximately 130 children from our licensed childcare centres gathered on Monday, March 3rd to help launch YMCA Calgary’s annual Strong Kids Campaign.

Eau Claire Childcare performing “The Bunny Song”

Cheered on by enthusiastic childcare staff and proud parents, the children sang, danced and hopped to show their support for Strong Kids. Fun was had and a total of $4404.00 was raised to support children and youth to reach their potential. Congratulations to everyone involved – and a special thank you to staff and parents for their support of our young hopping bunnies.

Click the link to learn more about YMCA Strong Kids and how every dollar donated is used to help children and youth reach their potential.



How Brains are Built

Positive, early learning opportunities provide the foundation for children to develop into healthy adults. Brain development in young children occurs from the bottom up with increasingly complex skills and abilities building upon one another.
Watch this video created by Alberta Family and Wellness Initiative to learn more about brain development and the importance of the early years.

Mandy Returns to Shawnessy YMCA

Mandy Ribeiro is the Interim Childcare Supervisor with the Shawnessy YMCA Child Development Centre. Here is Mandy’s Y story –

“Have you ever wished you had a place to call your ‘home away from home?’ Well look no further!

After 8 years away from my beloved Shawnessy YMCA Child Development Center…… I am back.

Mandy demonstrating everyone can fit during a recent vist by a childcare group to a car dealership

I was one of the lucky ones that was part of the Shawnessy YMCA Child Development Center when it first opened in 2002. After many years of working in and for a wonderful association I decided to expand my family. It has been 10 years now and here I am again – excited to be part of a team that truly believes in creating wonderful learning opportunities for children.

The YMCA offers me a place to dream and, even better, a place to make a difference. I have learnt that if something is good, hold onto it for dear life.

Come and join me in one of the most rewarding careers where the fun NEVER stops!”

Jungle room set up at Shawnessy YMCA Childcare Centre

For current employment openings in the YMCA Childcare Department visit our website.