Thanks to the support of generous donors and community partnerships YWCA Clark County has been offering high-quality preschool to the community for years. Because of this, families looked to our Y’s Care Preschool Program for leadership during a difficult 2020. Y’s Care did not disappoint.
Y’s Care represents a true alternative to other early childhood education services. Serving children ages two-and-a-half to five years, it is one of only two preschools in Clark County that offer needs-based scholarships. Scholarships are offered because of donations from community members and foundations.
Y’s Care teachers value a child’s natural learning strategies like collaboration, taking risks, using all of their senses, and storytelling. Because of this focus on self-directed learning, social emotional growth, flexible thinking, empathy, and building a learning mindset, there has always been a strong demand from parents to send their children to Y’s Care.
A time for hard decisions
But under conditions of the pandemic, Y’s Care had to make difficult decisions. Initially the facility, housed in YWCA’s Community Office, closed in mid-March for safety reasons. For several weeks the kids joined their friends and teachers on Zoom four days per week. However, there was a continued need for a safe, consistent, stimulating classroom environment. This compelled the staff of Y’s Care to reinvent the program to meet that need starting in mid-June.
Typically, Y’s Care would have 20 children. But for safety reasons the state advised that groups larger than 15 need to be divided. Y’s Care shifted to a morning class and an afternoon class of 10 children each.
New model succeeded
Though this is a new model, it is a workable solution, offering parents some respite during the 4-hour classes and maintaining a consistent schedule that the kids have come to depend on. Thanks to state grants and support from EOCF (Educational Opportunities for Children and Families), Y’s Care and the YWCA have been able to assist past and current families with additional resources, such as parenting support and basic needs.
“The parents are all telling us the same thing: that they’re glad their children are able to continue to learn and grow with their friends in person as we work together to get ready for kindergarten,” says program director Leah Reitz.