Early Education Center Overview

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Vision Statement

Our vision is to create a community of learning where children experience a sense of wonder and exploration- where everyone feels a sense of connection and participates with others in ways that create new possibilities for making the world a better place.

Program Statement of Philosophy

YWCA Tri-County Area welcomes all children and families regardless of their abilities as recommended in the joint position statement published in April 2009 by DEC and NAEYC[1].  The goal of our inclusive environment (for those with special needs and with exceptionalities) is to create a sense of community in which everyone has a voice and a commitment to learning through a variety of methods of empowerment.  With varied opportunities for family choice within our center, families are able to select the best child care experience unique to their situation and work together with teachers to further develop relationships to support the needs of everyone involved.  In our classrooms, teachers use the Universal Design for Learning (UDL)* to “provide multiple and varied formats for instruction and learning.”  The individual needs of children and families are paramount to the decision-making of all teachers and administrators throughout our early education center.  Our commitment to learning includes all members of our early education community including families, teachers, paraprofessionals, community members, board members and public officials.

*Universal Design: Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to teaching, learning, curriculum development and assessment that uses new technologies to respond to a variety of individual learner differences. www.etcacenter.org

Program History

YWCA Tri-County Area has been providing child care at its 315 King Street location for more than 40 years.  Across the United States, there are 210 YWCAs and each has programming that has progressed in evolution with its surrounding community.  YW3CA’s emphasis is on education in every part of its programming.  YW3CA’s Tri-County service area includes all or part of seven school districts surrounding Pottstown.  Our programming evolved to support the growing community need for quality, affordable child care.  The center was licensed in 2006 and since has advanced from child care to early education, with all classrooms using curriculum-based learning.  YW3CA’s Pottstown location is a Keystone STARS 4 facility: “Keystone STARS is a quality rating system that promotes quality improvement in early learning and development programs and school-age child care. A Keystone STARS designation informs parents that their children are in a safe, respectful environment in which they are learning new things every day to support their current and future successes in school and in life.” www.education.pa.gov

Quality Assurance

YWCA Tri-County Area Early Learning Centers are licensed and inspected annually by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning.  YWCA Tri- County Area is proud to have achieve a STARS 4 Keystone STARS rating.  Keystone STARS (Standards, Training Assistance, Resources and Support) implements continuous improvement processes and recognizes achievements earned by the early education provider.  We are monitored by the Early Learning Resource Center. Participation in this program requires health, safety and learning standards that exceed the requirements developed by The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL).

Values

Families set the foundation for children’s lifelong learning.  We aim to create a partnership with families to encourage healthy growth for all.  Teachers use their knowledge of young children and child development to create goals for the group and individually.  Our programs use principles based on The Creative Curriculum[2]:

  • Meaningful learning comes from constructive play.
  • Social emotional learning sets the stage for healthy growth and development.
  • Curriculum and assessment must be connected.
  • Families are our partners in children’s learning.
  • Teachers use the environment to set the stage for learning.
  • All children, including those with special needs, can thrive in our classrooms.

Goals

YW3CA Early Education Programs focus on goal areas in The Creative Curriculum in planning for daily activities for all children:

  • Independence
  • Responsibility
  • Curiosity
  • Initiative
  • Cooperation
  • Risk-Taking
  • Creativity
  • Perseverance
  • Confidence
  • Resourcefulness
  • Self-Regulation
  • Empathy

Types of Early Education Available

YWCA Tri-County Area is dedicated to providing equitable early education to support the needs of all children and families.  Families of children under 5, have three options for their children’s early education: Early Head Start, Pre K Counts and YWPreschool.  Families of preschool age children have two options for their child’s early education experience: YW Pre K Counts (YWPKC) and YWPreschool. These programs follow the same regulations, guidelines and curriculum; the only differences are the funding source. The classroom teachers share resources across classrooms to ensure the equitable distribution of opportunities for all.  The expectation is to provide the opportunity for a preschool experience to all families, regardless of income, so preference in YWPKC will be made to families without subsidy, as those who receive this support can participate in our YWPreschool classroom.

Using information from conversations with families and the Getting to Know You Questionnaire found in the enrollment packet, the best program for the family is selected.  These programs follow the same regulations, guidelines and curriculum; the only differences are the funding source.  The classroom teachers share resources across classrooms to ensure the equitable distribution of opportunities for all.

[1] DEC/NAEYC. (2009). Early childhood inclusion: A summary. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, FPG Child Development Institute.

[2] Dodge, D & Jones., 2004. The Creative Curriculum for Preschool. Washington, DC; Teaching Strategies, Inc.