Next Friday, March 13th the Saratoga Regional YMCA will be having their 2015 Annual Campaign Party in the ballroom at Saratoga National Golf Club. Local fave The Garland Nelson Ensemble will be there delivering their signature energy, and from 6:30 to 10pm guests will some enjoy some amazing hors d’oeuvres, unwind with complimentary beer & wine all the while helping to raise money for a fantastic local non-profit. All proceeds will go towards the Saratoga Regional YMCA's Annual We Build People Scholarship Campaign, the major fundraising campaign of the Saratoga Regional YMCA. Funds raised help those who need it most by providing financial assistance to youth, teens, families and other individuals and ensures that no one is denied the opportunity to share in the YMCA experience due to the inability to pay. I recently chatted with Colleen Girvin, the Preschool Director at the Saratoga Regional YMCA about their preschool program and the Universal Pre-K program they offer to local children.
Colleen: At the Saratoga Regional YMCA, children ages 2 -5 are inspired to develop a love of learning through a theme based, developmental curriculum that prepares them for Kindergarten. Students engage in activities that develop their fine and gross motor skills as well as strengthen their self-esteem, communication, reading, science, and math and literacy skills.
Students are able to utilize the great features of the YMCA facilities by participating in swim classes, tumbling classes, Kids’ Zumba, Kids’ Yoga, the playground, gym and track as a part of our preschool curriculum. Field trips enhance the students’ learning with hands on activities. This year the students have enjoyed meeting an author at Northshire Bookstore, reveled in fun at Ellms Family Farm or Sunnyside Gardens pumpkin patch, met Stuffee, (the giant stuffed boy whose internal organs came out so the students could learn about them), went to a performance by the Albany Symphony Orchestra and learned about horses and went horseback riding.
Our YMCA Healthy Kids curriculum was put in action when the students went to Pai’s or Cutting Edge Taekwondo to learn a new exercise. Some classes even got to walk inside giant balls doing Big Ball Zorbing at Cutting Edge. The learning has continued when our classrooms were visited by Jodi Fitz, Price Chopper nutritionist, a dental hygienist, and several musicians. The learning and fun never stops!
We offer a preschool program at the Wesley Community where there is a morning class for 3 year olds and an afternoon class for 4 year olds. These students have the great bonus of not only a great facility, and a terrific Kids’ Fit program but also the fun of spending 30 minutes each class with the grandmas and grandpas that live there who help our teachers implement our curriculum. The students and seniors sing, dance, read books, do art projects, write poetry, quilt and so much more together. The amount they learn from each other is priceless.
Many of our students would not be able to participate in our amazing preschool without the help of Saratoga Regional YMCA scholarship fund. This funding includes both membership and program fees. Sixty-eight of our 4 year old students’ tuition is funded through the Saratoga Springs School District Universal Pre-K program. Parents of children who are 4 by December 1st and live in the Saratoga Springs District apply to the UPK program at the school district and are awarded spots through a lottery done at the School District. One morning and two afternoon classes are held at the Saratoga Springs Branch as well as one afternoon class at our Wilton Branch.
Our own kids went to the Saratoga Regional YMCA preschool program, I had to dig up this photo (above) of Levy's first day at the Two Year Program at the Saratoga Springs branch (from 2010 with big brother Finn showing her the ropes) and then Finn "graduating" from the UPK program in 2011 (below). They both loved the program (and Miss Sue) and had such a great experience there with the swim program and the UPK program as well.
To learn more about the Saratoga Regional YMCA We Build People Scholarship Campaign click here, and to buy tickets for their event click right here. Many thanks to Colleen for sharing this information, find out more about the Saratoga Regional YMCA Preschool here.