Early Learning Centres
At YMCA WA Early Learning Centres (ELC) we are dedicated to inspiring and nurturing children to become independent in a real world environment.
We want to help them grow socially and emotionally and instill a love of learning that will help prepare them for their formal schooling days ahead.
We believe children should be immersed in beautiful, home-like and authentic environments. You’ll find a lot of natural light and minimal plastic at our stimulating metropolitan and regional ELC centres.
Our centres, which are all staffed by qualified early childhood educators, cater for children from the age of 6 weeks up to about 6 years of age. Please visit the individual YMCA Early Learning websites (list below) for more information about their operating hours.
Each centre operates its programs independently which means they have the flexibility to provide a comprehensive program depending on the children’s interests and needs – educational and emotional – in a fun, safe, caring and trusting environment.
At YMCA WA, we value process over product.
For most children, learning is about engaging in the experience of doing the task at hand, rather than having something to take home at the end of the day.
Sometimes a child will spend a long time building a structure, only to take one second to knock it all down; and that is why we choose to focus on the journey rather than the final outcome.
When we create an environment, we shape the experiences we are offering to suit every child’s developmental needs. Independence is encouraged, as we believe all children have a tremendous in-built capacity to determine their own actions and make their own choices.
Drawing on teachings from a community in Italy called Reggio Emilia and educationalist Loris Malaguzzi, we view all children as curious, competent and capable and strong individuals who are bursting with potential and the ability to take an active role in their learning journey.
Our Approach to Learning
- Who is the child? Understanding each and every child is vital to our educators
- The environment is the third teacher- (in partnership with parents and educators) we teach the children that learning can happen anywhere.
- Relationships- We put high importance on building relationships with the children, families, the community and the local schools. We listen to the children and build trust.
- Making learning visible- Children have individual portfolios that uncover the processes they have been involved in and how they have used their environment to learn. Portfolios can include conversational records to reflect the child's inquisitive nature.
What we do differently
- We simulate real world environments which allows children to escape a ‘plastic’ world. At YMCA Early Learning Centres our children use real cutlery at sit down meals
- We believe in risk versus challenge. We will not put your children in danger, but we want to encourage them to explore and teach them to be adaptable to their environment
- Spontaneity is embraced and we our relationships with the children mean we can adapt any day to suit their needs and desires
- Children are exposed to activities such as woodwork, where we use real tools
- Our home corners are more home-like and realistic
Safeguarding your children
At the YMCA we have an unwavering focus and commitment to safeguarding children. We have official accreditation as a Child Safe Organisation and a strong Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy and Procedures.
Our commitment to our families, our community and our schools is that we will:
- Protect each child from harm
- Make supervision our Number 1 priority
- Ensure children are cared for in a safe environment
We utilise our environment to bring the children closer to it and to understand it and discover what it can offer. One minute the children will be playing with sticks and dirt in the nature play area, the next they will be making a structure from them. We use every aspect of nature as a teaching resource.
At the YMCA our Early Learning staff love what they do.
They are fully-accredited and receive ongoing industry training to ensure they are kept up to date with modern teaching and early childhood education and care practices.
Enrol now to receive your 5th week free at participating ELCs (T&Cs apply)
Looking for inspiration and guidance? Check out our Ideas page for recipes used at our centres, top tips on tackling challenges and difficult situations with your child, and more.