Summer is winding down and the new school season will soon be in full swing! The Westfield Area YMCA understands that when it comes to your child’s care, parents need to visit, gather information and learn more before making their final decision on choosing the right early learning program for their child or children. 
 
Some important items to have on your checklist when making your child care decision:
 
·         Is the program NAEYC-accredited?
·         Is their teaching staff certified in First Aid, CPR, EpiPen, AED and Child Abuse Awareness?
·         What are their child/staff ratios?
·         Have they met or exceeded all licensing and NAEYC requirements?
·         What curriculum are they using?
·         Do they encourage healthy eating?
·         Do their teachers have Child Development Certificates?
·         Do they offer age-appropriate activities and learning opportunities such as swimming, Spanish, sports, trips, health & nutrition and computer?
·         Is the environment safe and clean?
·         Do they have large indoor gyms and outdoor playgrounds for children to stay active?
 
For over 30 years, children have become independent learners and creative thinkers in Westfield Area YMCA Early Learning Preschool Programs.  All Westfield Area Y Early Learning programs incorporate “The Creative Curriculum for Early Childhood” into their daily lesson plans.  The most important goal is to help the children become enthusiastic learners and encourage them to be active explorers who are not afraid to try out their ideas and to think their own thoughts.  Creative Curriculum content areas include:  Literacy, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Arts, Technology, Healthy Habits and Character Development. 
 
Early learning programs at all Westfield locations are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).  This accreditation means that the Westfield Area Y has voluntarily undergone a process of internal self-study and has sought external professional review. 
 
 
The Y’s full-day Kindergarten program follows the public school calendar and expands upon the incorporated public school curriculum with interactive math, literacy, science and social studies experiences.  Specials may include gym, music, art, Spanish and/or a 30-minute swim lesson (varies by location).  
 
Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.  For more information, visit www.westfieldynj.org or contact Maria Nierstedt about the Bauer Branch at (908) 317-9622mnierstedt@westfieldynj.org; Shannon McGillis about the Garwood Family Center Y at (908) 301-1616smcgillis@westfieldynj.org;  Eileen Rooney about the Early Learning Center on Elm Street and full day Kindergarten at (908) 654-8460;erooney@westfieldynj.org; Carolyn White about Kinder wrap and before and after school care, (908) 233-2700 ext 248 cwhite@westfieldynj.org.