Wayne YMCA

What the Experts are Saying

Having Fun is Key to a Successful Early Learning Experience

For many new parents, the pressures of success for their little ones start soon after the birth of their first child. Are they hitting their milestones for sitting up, crawling, walking, and talking?  Are they potty training on time?  What about feeding themselves?  Of course all of these advances are important and hitting these milestones helps to ensure children are growing and developing appropriately.

And what about child care? Today it seems that when young children enter an early learning environment, emphasis is placed on mastering reading, writing, and math earlier than ever.  While there is an expectation for certain levels of proficiency by the time a child enters first grade, experts feel that a child’s early learning experience needs to be more about play and having fun as this is how children learn best.

According to NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children), there are 10 things every parent should know about play:

  1. Children learn through their play  
  2. Play is healthy
  3. Play reduces stress
  4. Play is more than meets the eye
  5. Make time for play
  6. Play and learning go hand-in-hand
  7. Play outside
  8. There’s a lot to learn about play
  9. Trust your own playful instincts
  10. Play is a child’s context for learning

The ABC Early Childhood Learning Center at the Wayne YMCA offers a comprehensive early learning curriculum that emphasizes learning through play for children, ages 6 weeks through kindergarten. Unlike other child care centers, teachers are able to expand children’s learning opportunities by offering more than just a classroom experience.  The entire Y facility is used to give children a well-rounded school day.  Swimming, theater, gardening, indoor and outdoor play areas, as well as a gymnasium complement classroom time.  In addition, play centers in each classroom encourage imaginative play, so the learning continues even while the children are having fun.

“All of the children at the ABC Early Childhood Learning Center benefit from a number of engaging enrichment activities,” says Jessica Malas, Director of Early Childhood at the Wayne YMCA, “Our goal is to have them ready for elementary school and provide them with great memories that will last a lifetime.”

When making the important decision about which child care center to send your little one this fall, parents should ask questions around safety, ratios, and schedules.  Parents should also make sure to ask about the school’s philosophy regarding play and fun so young children can have the best early learning experience possible.