Students at the F.M. Kirby Children’s Center of the Madison Area YMCA welcomed fall this week with seasonally-themed lesson plans encouraging healthy minds and bodies, teamwork and community service.  

Classrooms at the Kirby Center incorporate seasonal changes into their weekly studies. To celebrate the first day of fall, the Center’s Preschool Honeybee classroom, led by Lead Teacher Sandra Vallejo, learned about healthy eating habits by studying the harvest and growth of fall fruits and vegetables. Preschool Dragonfly Lead Teacher Gloria Tobon said, “Our classroom this week was filled with fun animal sounds as the students learned about farm life, where our food comes from, and sustainability by keeping our environment healthy.” By following the Creative Curriculum, teachers prepare educational, unique and engaging lessons that promote socialization and creative learning.  

Students also participate in outdoor STEM activities and enjoy exploration on one of Kirby’s four age-appropriate playgrounds. Center Director Karé Matrisciano shares, “There is a lot to discover outside during the fall. Complete with mud kitchens, Kirby playgrounds allow students to express their creativity while using nature to learn about measurements, teamwork and problem-solving. Outdoor exploration ensures a range of play for all children and builds educational, physical and social foundations.”  

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The goals set with Kirby’s indoor and outdoor activities promote learning by setting developmentally appropriate goals and objectives in four stages: social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and language. These stages encourage self-confidence, independence, critical thinking, and communication.  

In addition to both indoor and outdoor creative learning, Kirby students discover the excitement of trying new foods and developing their palate. The Kirby Center provides nutritionist-approved breakfast, lunch and snack for all students. As we re-introduce “Try it Tuesday”, a monthly food exploration that encourages students to try new meals, Kirby Center Chef Mike Andersen prepares different in-season foods that add to Kirby’s healthy, diverse and appetizing menus. Past fall-themed foods included whole wheat pumpkin bread, baked sweet potato and squash. Chef Mike’s weekly menu changes daily with what’s fresh during the season and always includes vegetarian options and alternatives for any dietary restrictions. 

Interested in enrollment this fall? Limited classroom opportunities are available for the school year. Please email Director of Child Care Services, Karen Fusco at  to secure your child(ren)’s spot today.  In our efforts to remain accessible to everyone, we continue to make financial assistance available to those who qualify. We encourage you to inquire about receiving tuition assistance. 

Be sure to check out our new virtual tour of the Kirby Center by visiting