Kids who play, learn all day

How learning through play can give your child the free time they need to express themselves.

Even as young as infants, we see how play can help build cognitive abilities in children.

According to Family Lives in the United Kingdom, play is an integral part of a child’s early years. As they explore their environment and relationships, kids learn from their surroundings. Play allows children to develop many skills while sparking curiosity and nurturing their imagination. 

Play helps children learn in a variety of different ways:

  • Playing in sand and water is an early introduction to science 
  • Drawing pictures and forming clay encourages creativity 
  • Building blocks and completing jigsaw puzzles develops logic and shape recognition 
  • Dancing, running and climbing increase flexibility and coordination skills 
  • Singing and playing simple instruments develops rhythm and listening
  • Taking turns during games helps foster sharing 

A focus on standardized tests is impacting playtime

Play allows children to master their world. As they play, they develop new competencies which grows the confidence and resiliency they need to tackle future challenges and adventures. However, over the past 20 years there has been more of an emphasis on standardized testing when it comes to measuring student achievement. 

According to a study done by George Washington University, 62% of school districts increased time spent on English language arts or math in elementary schools since 2001. Forty-four percent of school districts decreased time spent on other subjects. And in the 2016 Shape of the Nation report, they found only 16% of states require elementary schools to provide daily recess. 
Not only are children getting reduced recess time at school, they’re also getting less playtime outside of the classroom. With lifestyles becoming increasingly hurried and pressured, family structures are changing.

YMCA Day Care and Preschool enrichment programs go beyond the ABCs

The Y Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC) fills your child’s day with opportunities to explore the wonders of their world, giving them experiences that help them grow and develop into confident, caring, happy individuals. 

The Y ECLC includes enrichment programs at no additional cost. These opportunities allow your child to grow their confidence and passion beyond math and science. 

YMCA enrichment programs available in our day care and preschool programs include:

Explore a Foreign Language 
Offers an array of wonderful activities to explore languages like Spanish or Sign Language in diverse and exciting ways; through games, storytelling, songs and other activities your child will discover useful words and simple phrases. 

Expand Kids’ Fitness 
Build a foundation of healthy habits while having fun. Your child will enjoy learning about the importance of taking care of their bodies, exercise and movement utilizing the Coordinated Approach to Children’s Health (CATCH) program. 

Learn Water Safety & Swimming 
Introduces children to a safe aquatic environment where fun games help them to become comfortable in and around water. Children learn about personal safety, build upon basic skills such as kicking, blowing bubbles and floating, plus enjoying songs, games and loads of water activities. 

Inspire Music & Movement 
Singing, dancing, rhythm activities, finger play and musical instruments are all ways kids enjoy exploring musical concepts. These activities help to bridge the connection between music and movement, and develop large and small motor skills, focused on listening and self-expression.

Learn Food and Cooking Basics 
Some of our YMCA day care and preschool locations have a Farm to YMCA program, teaching kids where their food comes from and how to cook it. 

YMCA’s goal is to provide well-rounded experiences that nurture and enhance your child’s development. By offering purposeful, educational activities, your child experiences critical thinking, creativity and enhances their learning. Our well-trained staff provides the best care and enrichment for your child in a safe, warm atmosphere that truly meets the needs of little individuals.