Our Early Childhood Center builds strong kids, families, and communities through our comprehensive program. Our robust curriculum and flexible schedules are structured to meet your family’s needs and provide a safe space for your family to grow and play together.

We are now accepting applications for the 2021-2022 school year for our Early Childhood Center, which includes our UPK program. Please see below for more information and check back often for updates. We will post information as it becomes available.

Tour our program with the below videos! 

Universal Pre-K

About the Program

The West Side YMCA presents NYC’s free Universal Pre-Kindergarten, a quality program five days a week! Children will be in contact with highly qualified, certified teachers and personnel. Our curriculum places a high priority on creating an environment in the classroom that encourages children to experiment, explore, and pursue their own interests.

How to Apply

Registration is now open!

Families with children born in 2017 should apply through the DOE myschools website: https://www.myschools.nyc/en/schools/pre-k/ To select West Side YMCA's Pre-K program as your first choice, enter code 03MATG.

For more information, please contact Bridget Sieling at bsieling@ymcanyc.org.

Early Childhood Center

About our Early Childhood Center

Our Early Childhood Center is a comprehensive child care program for children 1 year to 4 years of age. For children ages 1-3, our school is offered through a fee-based program. For children 4 years of age, our school will be offered through UPK. Designed to provide a flexible schedule for working parents, our Early Childhood Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30AM to 5:30PM.

Philosophy, Curriculum, and Schedules

Our Early Childhood Center is committed to providing a safe, supportive learning environment for young children. Teachers create a warm and loving atmosphere while offering a developmentally based, engaging curriculum, where children can play, discover and learn. The development of independence, trust and initiative is fostered through a balanced program of free play and structure, quiet and active play, and group and individual time. Learning centers in each room include science, dramatic play, block building, library, art, music and manipulative materials.  Our age-based program incorporates science, music, movement, and art in its foundation.

Our Schedule

  • Fee-Based (Ages 1-3 years): 8:30am-5:30pm
  • UPK (Age 4 years): 8:30am-3:00pm
  • Optional Extended Day: Monday through Friday from 3:00pm to 5:30pm
Facility and Staff

Our school is located within the West Side YMCA—an architectural treasure and landmark building. The school has well-equipped classrooms, with child-sized toilets and sinks in the classrooms. Our Early Childhood Center wing includes a library, indoor play spaces and a full-sized gymnasium. Children and parents enjoy recreational and educational opportunities throughout the YMCA. Each class is staffed with at least two teachers, and many of the faculty members hold advanced degrees in Early Childhood Education or in a related field. 


Meet our Teachers


Ashley Samson
One’s Class Teacher

I approach teaching with intention, celebrating the unique qualities of all the children in my class, embracing our differences, and honoring our cultural backgrounds. A child-centered curriculum allows children to thrive in an environment where teachers treat the children and each other with respect and love. I am especially proud when a unit of study is extended beyond the original plan because my students are intrigued, enthralled, and want more! By tuning in to the children’s interests, we can capture their attention and foster a love of learning.



Elizabeth Eleutice
One’s Class Teacher

As an educator, I believe that children learn best when they are given opportunities to interact with their peers and the world around them. I believe that each child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring and stimulating environment in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially.




Yoly Aquino
One’s Class Teacher

I believe as an early childhood educator it is my purpose to provide young children with positive learning experiences. I strive to provide a safe, respectful, open-minded and understanding environment to encourage young children to learn in their own unique way.





Lilia Celis
Two’s & Three’s Class Teacher

In the early years, I believe it is crucial that learning occurs through play. A child’s learning environment must be nurturing and safe so that they can explore their curiosity with freedom. I encourage children to explore, to learn, and to celebrate their accomplishments.


Maria Sanchez
Two’s & Three’s Class Teacher

My philosophy of education is to have a safe, clean, and caring classroom where children can learn, play, and grow to be smart and loving children. This can only be achieved when there is a strong and supportive group of teachers with a positive attitude reaching for the same goal.


Selena Felix
Two’s & Three’s Class Teacher

I believe as an early childhood educator, children need to have a safe, fun learning environment which develops their self-esteem and builds their confidence. Hands-on, collaborative, creative play allows children to explore and learn about the world around them.


Jenniffer Gonzalez
Four’s Class Teacher

I believe in celebrating cultural diversity and promoting children's independence by allowing them to take control of their learning, expanding on their curiosity, and giving children autonomy over choosing their centers. It is my goal as their educator to help children to become kind, well-rounded citizens.


Mariaelena Blair
Four’s Class Teacher

As an educator, I am aware that all children bring something special to the classroom, and my job is to nourish this individuality. It is our duty to teach them, inspire them and foster their curiosity in order to support their success and independence. My goal is to inspire curiosity for lifelong learning. A curious child is motivated, driven, and seeks knowledge. I hope that I can inspire every child I come into contact with to be driven to seek out answers and information for as long as they live.

Angel Toliver
Four’s Class Teacher

I believe that kids learn and grow the best when they feel comfortable, welcome, and safe. As a teacher, I also learn from the children in my classroom. In an environment where each individual can be their authentic self, explore and discuss, both teachers and their students can be empowered by each other.


Meet our Staff


Misha Paskar
Assistant Director of Early Childhood

I came to the world of education once I became a parent. I wanted to better understand child development so that I could do the best job at “mom-ing” that I could! After attending Bank Street Graduate School of Education and earning my Masters in Early Childhood General and Special Education, I found myself better equipped to handle the world of parenting and children. My focus as an educator has always been to observe the whole child, to understand a child’s background, social world, history, current environment, and interests in order to best support and expand their learning.

When children see their lives reflected in the classroom, they are intrinsically motivated to learn because they feel connected to the curriculum. In today’s social climate, we know there is much work that needs to be done to create a just and equitable society where our children can thrive. Here at the West Side YMCA, we aim to ensure that social justice is always at the center of our learning – so that children, families, teachers, and the entire school community can be unified towards one goal; to be kind and to care for each other as we navigate the world.



Bridget Sieling
Early Childhood Coordinator

As an Early Childhood educator, I believe that playing is learning. Throughout the day, children are found playing with their peers while learning valuable life skills such as turn taking, decision making, communication, self-regulation, empathy and patience all while becoming well-rounded creative thinkers and model citizens. With hands-on experiences, the children get to understand and navigate the world around them. The West Side YMCA Early Childhood Program creates the foundation for a safe, fun and nurturing first school experience!





Early Childhood Admissions and Tuition



Program Based on Age

Sept. 1st 2021

Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM-5:30 PM

Monthly Rate

Toddlers (12-24 months)


Two’s and Three’s


Financial assistance is available. 

Registration & Tours



Interested families should fill out this Prospective Family Form and return to Bridget Sieling at bsieling@ymcanyc.org


Interested families should contact Bridget Sieling at bsieling@ymcanyc.org for information regarding enrollment or program inquiries and to schedule a tour of our school. 


COVID Protocols



Due to the nature of COVID-19, we are taking considerable steps to ensure the health and safety of all children and families in our care. All guidelines, best practices, and steps put into place stem from mandates and recommendations by New York State, New York City, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, and the YMCA of Greater New York.

PPE Requirements
Everyone entering our facility 2 years of age and older must wear a mask. Gloves are optional. Children will be asked to keep their masks on for the duration of the day except during lunch, snack, and nap times. We will do our best to find additional times where children can spread further apart than 6ft to allow for extra mask-less leisure time. If a child displays difficulty donning a mask, we will work with them and the family to provide comfort and support until they are able to wear their mask throughout the day with ease. If children request a moment without the mask on outside of the designated timeframes, we will absolutely honor that request so they can take their moment. If children have any medical needs that restrict them from wearing a mask, please provide this to us in writing from the child’s physician.

Please send your child to school with one mask on and an extra mask in their bag daily.

Health Screening
All individuals, including staff, entering the facility must pass a temperature check and health screening at the entrance. Once this screening has been completed, they may enter.

Arrival will take place at the 64th Street entrance from 8:30am-9:00am. We ask all families to line up along the side of the building. Please be mindful of social distancing. Once at the door, you can complete your health screening and proceed to enter. For any late arrivals, please utilize the 63rd street entrance. Security will alert the Early Childhood administrative staff to meet you to conduct your health screening. Once inside the facility, you may escort your child through the Early Childhood wing, to the classroom door. Parents/guardians, please do not enter the room. Kindly stop at the door and allow the staff to check your child in on the sign-in sheet. You will provide your name, child’s name, and confirm that your child has their extra mask, snack, lunch, water/juice for the day.

Near the entrance of the classroom, you will find a shoe hanger. Please locate your child’s designated shoe spot, assist your child with taking off their shoes and help them enter the room. Staff will receive the child at the doorway and help your child into their indoor shoes.

Dismissal will take place at the 64th Street entrance from 5:00pm-5:30pm. We ask all families to line up along the side of the building. Please be mindful of social distancing. Once at the door, you can complete your health screening and proceed to enter. For any early pick-ups, utilize the 63rd street entrance. Security will alert the Early Childhood administrative staff to meet you to conduct your health screening. Once inside the facility, you may proceed to your child’s classroom and stop at the door. Staff will assist your child with gathering their belongings and taking off their indoor shoes. The staff will also check the child out with you on the sign-out sheet. You may then assist your child into their outdoor shoes at this time.

Indoor Shoes
In order to prevent exposure to outside germs, we ask for you to provide a brand-new pair of sneakers for your child to keep at school as their indoor shoes. If brand-new shoes are not available, please thoroughly clean and sanitize a pair of sneakers to the best of your ability.

Staff will also adhere to the indoor/outdoor shoe policy.

Visiting Policy
To decrease exposure and contain our classroom pods, we are limiting visitation to the hallway of the classroom. Parents/guardians will not be able to enter the classrooms at this time. All children and staff in the classroom must remain static.

Classroom Setup
Rooms have been set up to allow for social distancing. Only two children per table at opposite ends of a rectangular table. Tables are distanced from other tables. Naptime will also be social distanced. Selected toys and materials in the room are easy to sanitize. Staff will clean toys on a daily basis using a water and bleach solution. Staff will also clean the room throughout the day with an extra focus on high-touch areas. Our facility cleaning staff will do more extensive cleaning every night.

Outdoor Play
As it is more difficult to prevent exposure of people around us in public, outdoor activities will be temporarily limited. As a result, we will only be utilizing Central Park as an outdoor location for our Early Childhood program activities. Local trips and other outdoor locations are temporarily postponed. To increase time for movement, we are creating schedules that allow each group to maximize on the time they have in the indoor play space, gymnasium, and any other large areas of the facility where they can move, stretch and have fun!!

Enrichment Activities
To ensure groups remain static, the use of enrichment specialists, whether contracted or YMCA staff, will not be permitted at this time. This includes the use of the swimming pool as swim instructors would be considered enrichment specialists. As a result, our full-time teachers will incorporate enrichments into the schedule and will facilitate these themselves. Such enrichments include art, STEM, dance, etc.

Sick Policy Pertaining to COVID-19
Staff will conduct health checks of each participant upon arrival. If a child shows symptoms of illness, in relation to symptoms of COVID-19, the child will not be able to check-in for the day. If the child becomes ill during the school day and begins to display symptoms, the child will be escorted to a designated isolation room where they will remain under supervision of a staff member. We will contact parents/guardians and/or additional emergency contacts to schedule for your child to be picked up. In this event, your child must self-quarantine and follow guidelines by the CDC and DOH. Your child may not return to the program until symptom free, with physician documentation confirming negative test results. All staff must adhere to this same policy and will not be allowed to return to work until symptom free, with documentation from a physician confirming a negative test result.

If a child or staff contracts COVID-19, parents/guardians and staff must notify the school administration immediately. If someone in the child or staff’s household contracts COVID-19, we must also be notified immediately. The YMCA will follow the guidance of DOHMH and NYC Testing and Tracing regarding notifications, quarantining, and classroom or program closures.

If ever a case of COVID-19 should arise causing a classroom or school closure, we will continue to engage all children remotely. We will also work with all affected families on tuition adjustments.

Please note that these guidelines and best practices are subject to change at any time. We are closely monitoring all updates from the aforementioned entities and will update all families accordingly as things change. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

2021-2022 School Calendar

Tuesday, August 31st

ZOOM Parent Orientation: 9:30am-11:00am

Thursday, September 2nd

ZOOM Parent Orientation: 5:30pm-7:00pm

Monday, September 13th

First Day for All Students

Week of September 27th

ZOOM Parent Teacher Conferences

Monday, October 11th

PROGRAM CLOSED – Indigenous Peoples Day/Columbus Day

Week of October 25th

Written Progress Reports Delivered Via Email to Families

Tuesday, November 9th

Picture Day

Thursday, November 11th

PROGRAM CLOSED – Veteran’s Day - Professional Development

Wednesday, November 24th

Early Dismissal-3:00p.m. for all children - Thanksgiving Holiday

Thursday, November 25th – Friday, November 26th

PROGRAM CLOSED – Thanksgiving Holiday

Week of December 13th

ZOOM Parent Teacher Conferences

Friday, December 24th-Friday, December 31st

PROGRAM CLOSED – Winter Recess

Monday, January 3rd

Program Resumes

Monday, January 17th

PROGRAM CLOSED – Martin Luther King’s Jr. Birthday

Tuesday, January 18th

PROGRAM CLOSED – Professional Development

Monday, February 21st

PROGRAM CLOSED – Presidents’ Day

Week of February 21st

Written Progress Reports Delivered Via Email to Families

Friday, March 18th

PROGRAM CLOSED – Professional Development

Week of April 11th

ZOOM Parent Teacher Conferences

Monday, April 18th- Friday, April 22nd

PROGRAM CLOSED – Spring Recess

Friday, May 27th

PROGRAM CLOSED – Professional Development

Monday, May 30th


Week of June 6th

Written Progress Reports Delivered Via Email to Families

Monday, June 20th

PROGRAM CLOSED – In Observance of Juneteenth

Friday, June 24th

Last day for UPK with camp option July and August

EC Fee-Based resumes as regularly scheduled

Monday, July 4th

PROGRAM CLOSED – In Observance of Independence Day

Week of July 25th

ZOOM Parent Teacher Conferences (fee-based students only)

Week of August 15th

Stepping Up Ceremony/Graduation Ceremony

Friday, August 26th

LAST DAY OF PROGRAM - Early Dismissal-3PM for all children

Monday, August 29th– Friday, September 9th

PROGRAM CLOSED – Staff Professional Development & Clean-Up

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