Sunday, February 26, 2012


As many of my readers know, I am a working mom. My husband works part time and picks up Anna from her K twice a week. The other 3 days she goes to a YMCA afterschool program, and we pick her up after 5 pm.

At the beginning we were a bit skeptical about this afterschool program. About 5 dozen kids with ages from 5 to 9 in two relatively small Feb25_Y2rooms seemed like a recipe for chaos. It took Anna about 3 months to get used to this noisy environment, but now we all learned to appreciate the positive side of our YMCA program:

  1. 1. As it often happens, a lot depends on the staff. Our Y program has a very capable director who runs a tight ship with a good crew.
  2. Feb25_Y32. There are a lot of toys, games and books, and they change often enough to keep kids entertained.
  3. 3. There are several men teachers which is great, especially for boys. Kids spend a lot of time outside and learn to play games that require a lot of players.
  4. 4. Y is inclusive and has a few disabled kids. One of them is severely autistic. Feb25_Y4My daughter used to be very uncomfortable around kids with “non-traditional behavior”, but now she learns to understand and accept people who look and behave differently.
  5. 5. Multi-age groups is definitely an advantage for Anna. She likes to hang out with older kids, and they seem to like her. Several times I came to pick her up and she was busy playing scrabble or Apples to Apples with them.
  6. 6. Anna adores “Y clubs”. They have a cooking club on Fridays where they try different things – from salads to cookies, and a different club every 2 months on Wednesdays. Every child has a choice of three Wednesday clubs. Last time she was a writer, now she is in a drama club. I think it’s great that she can try different things with her friends (by the way, about half of her classmates also go to the same Y program) without me having to sign her up and drive her to different activities.

I feel very lucky that so far Anna’s first school year has been such a happy time. She hasn’t been clicking with her preschool mates well, and we’ve been worried. Now it’s entirely different story – she loves being with friends, loves her teachers and approaches every new activity with energy and enthusiasm. I am grateful to her teachers and Y instructors for reaching out and touching her in a big way.


MaryAnne said...

I have been consistently impressed with your descriptions of the Y afterschool program Anna goes to!

Susan said...

This sounds like such a great program for Anna! It's wonderful that she is thriving there. The cooking club sounds fun :)

Debbie said...

This truly does sound like a great program for Anna.

Ticia said...

That is a truly wonderful program. What a blessing

Nicole {tired, need sleep} said...

It sounds like the director and the teachers are wonderful! I have to say I love the multi-age and multi-ability facet of this program. Children just seem to do so well when they are around older and younger children (what is it about age-peers that brings out the worst?). If our school were like your Y program, I think I'd have far fewer qualms about sending Matthew there!

Jennifer said...

I was a YMCA kids growing up too--both my parents worked. We did some wonderful activities. I have to say, as a mom to a child with autism, I love that they are inclusive and that your dd is learning to get along with all kinds of people. :)

Kelly said...

Hope your trip is going well. It looks like you've found a great program for Anna. I'm glad her year is going so well.
Kelly at Little Wonders' Days

Christy said...

Sounds great!!!

Lovingmama said...

The place and description looks like a great place for her to be!!! How lucky for you to find a great program that meets your parening ideals =)