Preschool – General Information

Mission Statement

To put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.

Please CONTACT US for more information and to schedule a tour of our child development centers.

Candace Leonard
ECE Program Director
760-836-3336
cleonard@desertymca.org

Early Childhood Education (ECE) Preschool Program

Welcome to the ECE program of the YMCA! We have three wonderful child development centers to serve your family located in Palm Desert, La Quinta and Indio. We provide a safe and a quality learning environment which provides optimum learning opportunities for your child. The upcoming year is certain to be filled with many exciting events and activities for you and your child. We are delighted you will be participating in our program. We encourage you to review our Parent Handbook, which has been designed to give you an overview of our policies and procedures, and to explain our approach to planning educational experiences for children.

We believe children learn through play and active involvement with people, places, and things. Our curriculum is designed to be appropriate for the developmental capabilities of each child, and is implemented with attention to children’s differing needs, interests, and backgrounds. We also value the rich cultural and ethnic diversity of our families, and we hope that you will plan to visit your child’s school often and participate in our special events.

Our goal is to partner with you as your child grows, and to provide the best possible environment for your child to learn and explore. If you ever have any questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions please contact us. Our goal is to work together, as a team, to provide a positive learning experience for your child and for you.

Our staff members are experienced educators who strive to remain up to date to the changing needs of children and families. For the safety of your child, we follow Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing regulations that require staff members to complete a thorough background screening, which includes screening for criminal records. All staff members are required to obtain a health screening, T.B. test clearance and maintain current immunization as required by law. We welcome the enrollment of children with disabilities, and understand the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to make reasonable accommodations. What we expect of parents and guardians is that you read the handbook, notices and newsletters that we send to you. We also want you to feel free to be part of our ECE program, by volunteering, offering suggestions, comments and moral support. The YMCA has an open-door policy which allows parents to observe the program during any time of the day.

Purpose

The primary goal of our ECE program is to provide a quality early childhood education program for your child to learn and grow according to his/her own maturity level. We provide a safe learning environment for all children and a place where children will learn through play. The emphasis of the learning activities we offer are Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP) individualized to meet the needs of each learner.

Our Philosophy/We believe that…

  • All children are capable of learning. Children learn best when they are actively engaged in their daily experiences with material and people in a safe, loving and nurturing environment.
  • Children develop and learn according to their own maturity level in the areas of Language, Social – emotional, Cognition, and Motor skills. Setting an inviting environment with activities that are developmentally appropriate is key to promote learning that challenges children.
  • Modeling positive guidance and discipline techniques guides children to control their behavior. These intervention strategies teach children to work out conflicts on their own rather than solely relying on teachers to assist with managing behaviors. Staff members are proactive by arranging the learning environment and foresee possible conflicts, rather than react to situations.
  • All children are unique individuals and deserve respect as a child and as a person.
  • All children should be able to relate to and be proud of their own culture, as well as respect and relate to other cultures around them. Instilling these qualities within each individual child will enable him/her to become outstanding citizens of tomorrow.
  • Parents are the first and most important teachers of a child’s life. The partnership and the collaboration between educators and families are crucial for a successful educational journey for each child.
  • All children deserve a healthy lifestyle with balanced meals and physical activities. Providing meals with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables instill life- long practices that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.

Registration Requirements – All preschool children require a physical, an up-to-date immunization/ shot record, TB test and an accurate and complete registration packet. All forms need to be completed accurately in order to complete the enrollment process. Changes in personal information need to be reported immediately.

State programs require all of the above along with additional documentation to prove eligibility and need. Please call one of our child development centers for further information.

Financial Assistance (F.A.) – Through the generosity of YMCA supporters, we offer assistance to qualifying families up to one year. It is required that you turn in three of you most recent pay stubs and tax returns for the previous year. Your information will be evaluated and you will be notified if you qualify.

Parent Involvement – Each site is available to families through our Open Door Policy. We seek input regarding needs of your child, feedback concerning activities and innovative suggestions or observations. The YMCA also provides annual surveys for parents to express how they feel about the program. Each site has monthly parent meetings and informative newsletters. In addition, Our ECE program hosts many events for parents to be actively involved in the educational journey of our students.

Parent Communication – On going communication is maintained for the success of the students. Parent conferences are held twice each school year.

Staff Qualifications – Our teachers are dedicated to developing your child’s learning potential and are sensitive to your child’s individual need. All of our preschool teachers have taken required Early Childhood Development classes, have received clearance through the Department of Justice and work under required ratios set by Community Care Licensing. The YMCA State Staff have required child care permits needed to work in the State Programs.

Curriculum – The YMCA believes that all children should be provided with a nurturing, active, and challenging environment that encourages curiosity, hands-on learning activities, problem-solving skills, language development and a positive self-image. The curriculum is aligned with the California State Department of Education Preschool Learning Foundations and Curriculum Framework which guides teachers in supporting and extending each child’s development and learning to establish a strong foundation for future learning. All instructional practice is supported by current educational research and best practice for Early Childhood Education. The curriculum embraces children’s natural curiosity and encourages them to explore, play and engage with the world around them.

Meals and Snacks – The Family YMCA of the Desert will provide a healthy breakfast, lunch and snack with fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and other nutrients at no charge to the parents. These meals and snacks meet the guidelines set by the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and are in accordance with licensing regulations. Since the YMCA provides meals, we require that children do not bring food to the center for meals or snacks unless the child is on a special diet prescribed by a physician and have completed the Special Diet Accommodation Form filled out by a physician. If your child has allergies to certain foods, require any special foods or eating apparatus please inform the Site Supervisor in order for accommodations to be made.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication or program information (Braille, large print, audio tape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at
http://www.targetcenter.dm.usda.gov/

Preschool Documents