Did you know the YMCA offers preschool? And, just as you’d expect Olympic-level swim lessons and extraordinary extracurricular catalog from the Y, their preschool program is phenomenal. With PreK registration happening now for the 2017-18 school year, we wanted to shine the spotlight on this local program.
Our own Erica Leggiero is a preschool teacher at Countryside YMCA | Landen, and sat down for a little Q + A about their early childhood program. A little about Erica: she’s a State of Ohio certified teacher in grades PK-3, and graduated from Texas State University with a BA in Elementary Education. She later earned her MA in Reading Education from the University of Missouri. With over five years of teaching experience, Erica shares her love of education on eLeMeNO-P Kids and right here on Cincinnati Parent.
Cincinnati Parent (CP): Describe the preschool program at YMCA Countryside.
Erica Legierro (EL): The preschool program at Countryside YMCA | Landen is a structured early childhood learning program. We offer 2 1/2 hour curriculum-based sessions for 3 and 4 year olds. This program is designed to get your child used to a classroom setting and makes learning colors, shapes, numbers, and words fun! Because the YMCA is dedicated to youth development, many local Y’s offer an early childhood education program. Our Countryside YMCA location offers a full range of childcare and education ranging in ages 6 weeks-Pre Kindergarten.
CP: What’s the educational philosophy at YMCA Countryside | Landen?
EL: Our education philosophy is to promote the Whole Child through a play-based learning environment. We follow the Creative Curriculum, which helps build children’s confidence, creativity, and critical thinking skills while also promoting positivity. Our classroom is set up in a way that allows learning through play, exploration, and discovery through hands-on learning.
EL: Our day starts with a Circle Time where we read a story, talk about the weather, and do some talking—much like a morning gathering. The children tell me anything they want and we have a sort of “coffee break” of sorts. Then, we start our play time, where the children visit the centers and table top activities at their own pace and leisure. This is the time of day where the most learning happens! We clean up our room, wash our hands, have a snack and potty break, and then go outside for some gross motor playtime. Our last few minutes of the day consists of a small group activity: learning to write our name, working through our Scholastic magazines, arts n crafts, Math Bag time, or science experiment.
CP: What are your favorite things about teaching at Countryside YMCA | Landen?
EL: My passion is teaching, so my favorite thing about teaching is creating fun lessons for the children to have fun and learn. I believe all preschool children learn best through play. Years of research show that children best make sense of the world around them through play, therefore my teaching philosophy upholds this standard as I set up many learning centers for children to explore through play, all while learning something new!
I love setting up new centers in the classroom for the children to explore. We have a really fun sensory play center, a light table, and we’ve had fun centers like a pretend post office, vet clinic, and restaurant.
CP: Why should parents consider preschool at the YMCA?
EL: The YMCA is focused on positivity and youth development, so it’s a really positive place to be, especially for children!