YWCA Greenwich is proud of its continued advancements to enhance its childhood education programs. Last year, we launched the STEAM Lab and incorporated age-appropriate STEAM activities into preschool and after-school programs. A new STEAM curriculum was developed and will be implemented in fiscal year 2020.
Steven and Alexandra Cohen Preschool
YWCA Greenwich Steven and Alexandra Cohen Preschool enrolls students starting at 15 months through five years. They graduate knowing how to swim and speak basic Spanish vocabulary. Last year, students at YWCA Greenwich preschool were from 19 different nationalities. Through classroom teaching and special events, students become familiar with and appreciate different cultures.
At Thanksgiving, parents participated in a lunch to celebrate the different customs and foods people were going to have at their Thanksgiving tables. During Halloween, children dressed in costumes and had a special trick-or-treat with YWCA staff throughout the building. Parents were invited to participate in arts and crafts at lunch. During the winter holiday season, parents were invited to join the cookie decorating event. These special events help YWCA Greenwich get to know parents, present opportunities for parents to meet other parents, and help parents feel a part of the YWCA community.
YWCA Greenwich preschool is in the process of obtaining NAEYC Accreditation (National Association for the Education of Young Children) which ensures a high-quality, research-based education that prepares children for future success. NAEYC Accreditation goes above and beyond the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood regulatory standards for health and safety. Two of the standards have been completed with plans to complete the program in fiscal year 2020.
YWCA Greenwich also added new programs to its curriculum last year. Yoga was added to the four's program and gymnastics was added to the two’s program. A new Body Autonomy curriculum was written and is being implemented in all the preschool classrooms beginning in September 2020. The children will learn about “gentle touches” and begin to understand that they are the “bosses of their own bodies”.
Butterflies, ants and ladybugs arrived in April to teach students about these beautiful insects. Each classroom received 10 larvae to watch as they developed into beautiful monarch butterflies that were then released by the children once fully developed.
“It gives us such comfort and reassurance to know that our child is in such a safe and loving environment, and that gives me peace of mind to do what I need to do during the day.”
Sandra, Preschool Mom
YWCA Greenwich after-school programs continued to be at capacity throughout the year and provided high quality, low student/teacher ratio programming licensed by the State of Connecticut.
Kaleidoscope enhanced its academic components with a spelling bee competition, while also expanding Reading Champions, a program that provides one-on-one personal attention to help students develop the skills that will lead to a life-long love of reading.
Last year, YWCA Greenwich launched the YW Hub for middle-school students, which quickly earned a $10,000 grant from the Greenwich Alliance for Education. The YW Hub is a great place for middle-school aged children to meet up with friends, do homework, play sports and participate in other activities that they choose. All activities strive to promote interpersonal skills and self-esteem within a supportive, fun atmosphere. Counselors are specially trained to support this age group.At the YW Hub, students were also encouraged to participate in organized volunteer activities. Last year’s projects included supporting the annual Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich Mud Run, Adopt-A-Dog Foundation events and putting books away at the Greenwich Library. Along with the Youth Services Council of Greenwich, YWCA Greenwich created a new program, “Let’s Go For A Play,” to support children who need one-on-one attention for a variety of reasons. Twice a week for 30-minutes per session, YW Hub volunteers spend time with their “buddy” doing activities like drawing or playing a game, and importantly, listening. A gentle question, like “how is school going?” provides an opportunity for a child to speak about an issue he or she may be having at school or at home or with friends. The program gives kids a new friend they can count on.
Vacation and Summer Camps
Not all parents can take off when schools are out of session. YWCA Greenwich Vacation Camp offers children full days of stimulating activities when schools are closed for holidays or vacation. Parents know that their children are in a place with highly trained counselors who are focused as much on safety as they are at having fun.Last year, when Cos Cob School had a week-long emergency, YWCA Greenwich opened its doors to create a special “Vacation Camp” for the students, free of charge. In recognition of the efforts by YWCA Greenwich and its staff, the organization was recognized by the Greenwich Board of Education and the Cos Cob PTA for their efforts in creating a safe, happy and fun environment that provided parents peace of mind during a challenging time.
YWCA Greenwich offers parents summer camp for preschool students who come to YWCA Greenwich preschool as well as others who just need help during summer months. Counselors, who are also teachers, provide campers with enjoyable days at the onsite water park, sandbox, playground and many indoor activities while learning to share and making new friends. The YWCA preschool camp is licensed by the Connecticut's Office of Early Childhood.
For more than 50 years, Camp Ta-Yi-To has been the place where children make new friends and wonderful summer memories. Activities are varied each year to ensure campers have a new experience each time they come. Camp Ta-Yi-To combines learning and play through field trips, special events and programs, sports for all levels, and outings to the beach. STEAM exercises are factored into events to reinforce academic-year learning.YWCA Greenwich continues to look for new ways to raise the camp’s standards. This year, YWCA Greenwich took steps to gain certification from the American Camp Association (ACA). ACA Accreditation is in addition to Connecticut Office of Early Childhood regulatory standards. The program educates camp owners and directors in the administration of key aspects of camp operation, particularly those related to program quality and the health and safety of campers and staff. The standards establish guidelines for policies, procedures, and practices. ACA Accreditation will be complete for the 2020 Camp Ta-Yi-To program.
Girls Circle Camp
This two-week camp just for girls offered a unique experience for girls entering grades six, seven, and eight. Girls Circle is focused on girls expressing themselves, empowering each other and making connections through fun activities and field trips.Through journaling and songwriting the girls expressed themselves, and martial arts helped to build confidence and strength. Also, Julie Levitt and Dana Nooril, owners of the Granola Bar, invited the girls to their Greenwich store for a discussion about developing and running a business.
“Girls Circle camp is a place to be yourself and learn about becoming the best girl you can be.”
2018 Girls Circle Camper