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 have spots still available in our UPK Class as well as our Three's Class!  Interested families should fill out this Prospective Family Form and return to Bridget Sieling at bsieling@ymcanyc.org.

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

We have spots still available in our UPK Class as well as our Three's Class!  Interested families should fill out this Prospective Family Form and return to 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
Faculty 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


 

 

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."

 

 

 

 


Katarina Nieves
One’s Class Teacher

"While working with young children, my priority is to ensure that no child is left behind. I understand that each and every child is unique in their own way and my role is to support their development in every way possible. I look at the whole child; from social and emotional development to physical and cognitive development, and make assessments on how to provide the best guidance in a developmentally appropriate and encouraging environment."

 

 


Lilia Celis
Two’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 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."


 


Dylan Margolis
Two’s Class Teacher

"My approach to education is to pull at threads of imagination. When the spark of interest begins with the learner, everyone has more fun. With fairness, collaboration, and positivity, the pursuit of imagination can be fruitful for anyone at any age."

 

 


Maria Elena Blair
Three’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
Three’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."


 


Starr Gonzalez
Three’s Class Teacher

"During their early years, children learn through exploration and guidance. It is important to provide children with the tools they need to develop their social and emotional skills. I believe it is my role to ensure the safety of children and assist them as they learn to navigate the world around them. I fulfill this role by providing them with a clean, stimulating environment that encourages their growth and autonomy. Establishing trust is crucial to my goal as an educator because learning and celebrating each child’s talents is best achieved in a comfortable, welcoming educational setting."

 

 


Sandy Gonzalez
UPK2’s Class Teacher

"I believe cultivating nurturing environments for young children to learn, play, and grow is more important now than ever. Since completing my master's in teaching, I have worked to foster safe, engaging communities for young learners. A supportive learning environment is necessary for every child to thrive. I consistently strive to provide a warm and loving atmosphere for children to develop individual strengths and interests while also learning how to play in a shared space with others."


 


Luke Smith
UPK2’s Class Teacher

"Growing up in Washington Heights has inspired me towards a career in education. The Heights is a diverse and inclusive area, representing folks from all kinds of backgrounds. Living here has impacted me as a teacher, I have observed the needs of children through this lens. In my classroom, it is my mission to meet the needs of all our students regardless of background, identity, or ability. Incorporating diverse perspectives and resources is crucial in developing the next generation of scholars. Inclusion is not about physical proximity, it is about intentionality and planning towards the success of all children."

 

 


Jenniffer Gonzalez
UPK2’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."


 


Tamara Stitt
UPK2’s Class Teacher

"This quote by Albert Einstein rings true for me: 'It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.'

One of my main goals as an educator is to provide even the youngest of students with tools to enthusiastically seek, acquire and apply knowledge! I believe children are most excited about learning when their unique talents, gifts and interests are celebrated. My hope is that every child’s educational journey is full of curiosity, fun and adventure!"

jhenny

Jhenny Agosto
Floater Teacher

"A wise man once said…'to teach is to touch a life forever.'

As a young YMCA Pre-K student myself, this quote hits home because I now have the privilege to impact the lives and hearts of students the way I was impacted by my YMCA teachers when I was in school! My ultimate goal as an educator is to not only provide a safe and positive environment for students, but to assure their growth and prosperity through every milestone they achieve. I believe that play is the highest form of research. Therefore, my commitment for my students is to foster a strong learning base for their cognitive and social development and, most important of all, to provide lifelong skills that will successfully prepare them to be our future leaders."

 

 

 


Jamie Thaler

UPK Afterschool’s Class Teacher

"As an educator, I believe there is nothing more important than being able to watch children grow, learn, and thrive in a loving, safe and nurturing environment. I feel lucky to be a part of children’s early educational years, as these years are the foundation to their school experience. It is my goal to bring fun and creativity to the classroom to foster learning and help facilitate their success in a school setting." 

 

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

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD ADMISSIONS (Ages 1-3)

Program Based on Age

Sept. 1st 2021

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

Monthly Rate

Toddlers (12-24 months)

$2600

Two’s and Three’s

$2440


Financial assistance is available. 

Registration & Tours

 

Registration

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

Tours

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 & Best Practices

 

WEST SIDE YMCA EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER COVID-19 GUIDELINES & BEST PRACTICES

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. As of August 16, 2021, YMCA of Greater New York will be complying with New York City’s mandate that requires all individuals 12 years and older to be vaccinated to enter the YMCA. This includes all employees of the West Side YMCA to be vaccinated and provide proof of their vaccination as well anyone 12 years and older. Please provide proof of vaccination for all emergency contacts and approved adults to pick up your children. Anyone that we have not received proof of their vaccination will not be granted access into the building.

PPE

Students are required to wear masks within our school. We ask for children two years and over to have a mask in a sealed bag that will remain in school in the event the child displays symptoms of COVID-19.

Health Check

Teachers will conduct a very brief health check of students daily upon arrival. This health check consists of observing if the child is alert and symptom free of any illness.

Arrival

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. For any late arrivals, please utilize the 63rd Street entrance. 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 snacks, lunch, and water/milk/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

Dismissal will take place at the 64th Street entrance from 5:00pm-5:25pm. We ask all families to line up along the side of the building. Please be mindful of social distancing. For any early pick-ups, utilize the 63rd Street entrance. 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 setup to allow for increased distancing. Tables are distanced from other tables. Nap time will also be 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

We often utilize Central Park as an outdoor location for our Early Childhood program activities. Local trips and other outdoor locations are also planned. In addition, to increase time for movement, we are creating schedules that allows 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, is temporarily postponed. As a result, our full-time teachers will incorporate enrichments into the schedule and will facilitate these themselves. Such enrichments include art, STEM, dance, and more.

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 asked to put on their mask (if two-four years of age), and 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

PROGRAM CLOSED – Memorial Day

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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