Early Childhood Development
At the Y, a leading nonprofit strengthening community through youth development, we work every day to help them set and achieve their personal and educational goals. As a result, thousands of children and teens throughout Dane County gain confidence as they recognize the Y as a place where they belong and can feel comfortable exploring new interests and passions.
- Wiggles & Giggles (East & Northeast)
- This program focuses on toddlers and parents to play together. Play in the gym with balls, mats, and fun active equipment. Drop in time with no supervised Y staff. 18 months-4 years of age.
- Lunch Buddies
- This program gives your child a great opportunity for story time, to eat their lunch, and to socialize with their friends! Lunch Buddies is designed to function as wrap-around care between Ready, Set, Preschool! programs and Art, Science and World Exploration programs. Teachers provide a smooth transition from one program to another. Children must be toilet trained in order for a parent/guardian to leave the building. If a child is not toilet trained, the parent must remain in the building. Punch cards are available at Member Services. Buy 8 days, get the next one free!
- Licensed Preschool
- We provide a developmentally appropriate curriculum in a child-centered environment of warmth, friendliness, and freedom. Your child will have opportunities to explore, experiment, and question. We believe in developing each child individually: emotionally, physically, intellectually, and socially while meeting each child's individual needs and learning styles.
- We use the Creative Curriculum framework to structure your child's daily activities and educational experiences. We also place an emphasis on healthy living by providing daily physical activity and providing meals and snacks that follow Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) guidelines.
- Ready, Set Explore!
- Ready, Set Explore is a learning program with 3 classes. These classes are designed to compliment a preschool readiness or K program. Each class explores a unique subject and provides children with a well-rounded pre-kindergarten education.
- Art Exploration
- Join us as we design, create and explore! Through different mediums of art, children learn to express themselves and find meaning in the world around them. Paintings, sculptures, puppets, plays, dances and much more will await your child! Instructors will encourage creativity and self expression. Activities will include components of dance, music, theater and visual arts.
- World Exploration
- Join us on a trip around the world! Children are encouraged to explore the world around them through food, songs, dancing and art projects. Instructors will guide children to understand places and geography, people and how they live, and people and their environments. Each week we will explore a new country and its culture and customs. We'll even stamp your Y Passport for you at the end of each class! The last 30 minutes of each class will be devoted to a progressive Spanish lesson.
- Ready, Set, Preschool Level 1-3
- Level 1: This beginner class is a great opportunity to ease your child into a part-day preschool setting. We incorporate a variety of theme-based activities that include stories, music, crafts, physical activities, and art projects. We focus on building your child's self-esteem and providing a preschool experience to foster and support early learning skills as well as preparing children socially for more advanced preschool classes
- Level 2: Children will enjoy their first academic setting learning basic preschool skills in a fun way! Lessons will focus on the number, letter, shape, and color recognition through stories, songs and art. Children will also continue to build their social skills and learn how to creatively interpret the world around them
- Level 3: This class combines and continues to perfect the skills from Level 1 & Level 2. Instructors will facilitate activities that develop vocabulary, language skills, number concepts, physical science and increase your child's capacity for critical thinking. This is a great opportunity to get your child ready for K!
- 4 Year Old Kindergarten (4K)
- In collaboration with area school districts, our Y provides 4K to prepare your child for kindergarten and beyond with a focus on child-centered, play based curriculum. Lead staff are DPI certified teachers. All staff meet DCF licensing requirements for education qualifications. Requests and placement in our Y's 4K program is done through your area school district. After being placed in our program, register online. There is no cost to families to attend 4K when registered through their school district. The YMCA provides programming before and after 4K at selected locations through our licensed preschool and school age programs. These programs require a separate registration. Please refer to your school district's calendar for dates.
- Locations: MMSD at East and West YMCA, Sun Prairie at Northeast YMCA, West YMCA, Oregon at Netherwood Knoll, Verona at Stoner Prairie