Preschool Age (2.5 – 5 years)

Children become active and creative explorers while developing good habits and positive attitudes

Preschool Page Header Image

Early learning programs at the Westfield Area YMCA focus on providing a caring, safe and healthy place to learn foundational skills, develop healthy trusting relationships and build self-confidence and self-reliance through character development and a structured curriculum.

We have full day preschool and half-day preschool options to meet the needs of your family.  Y facilities include large indoor gyms and outdoor playgrounds. All programs are led by experienced and caring staff. Every staff member is certified in First Aid, CPR, EpiPen, AED and child development and our child/staff ratios meet or exceed licensing requirements.

Our days include exploration and hands-on learning with art, dramatic play, building, nature and quiet areas; small group theme-based activities; a balanced blend of active and quiet times with minimum transitions, music and movement (indoor/outdoor). Children develop gross and fine motor, cognitive, social/emotional and language skills.  All programs follow the Creative Curriculum, a nationally recognized framework rooted in educational philosophy and theory as well as in practice.  The curriculum is composed of six core learning areas and takes into account individual interests, the learning environment and how each child personally develops.

Full-Day (Westfield and Garwood)

Perfect for working parents, our day centers around exploration and hands-on learning with art, dramatic play, building, nature and quiet areas; small group theme-based activities; a balanced blend of active and quiet times; snack; nap; story time and movement (indoor and outdoor). Children become active and creative explorers while developing good habits and positive attitudes.  

Age: 2.5 (by September 1) – 5 years
Program:  2-5 days per week, 7:00am-6:00pm, Monday-Friday, 12-month program
Available: extended care available until 6:30PM
Locations/Contacts:
Early Learning Center YMCA, 170 Elm Street, Westfield
Eileen Rooney at erooney@westfieldynj.org or 908-654-8460 x134

Garwood Family Center YMCA, 500 East Street, Garwood
Shannon McGillis Jackson, smcgillis@westfieldynj.org or 908-301-1616 x610

 

Age: 3 (by September 1) – 5 years
Program: 5 days per week, 8:30am to 2:30pm, Monday-Friday, 10-month program (follows town public school calendar).  Before care beginning at 7:30 is included at the Bauer Branch.
Available (Bauer Branch):  After care 2:30-4:30pm or 2:30- 6:00pm.  Vacation Fun Club on school holidays and breaks.

Locations/Contacts:
Robert & Virginia Bauer Family Branch, 422 East Broad Street, Westfield
Maria Nierstedt at mnierstedt@westfieldynj.org or 908-317-9622 x423

Garwood Family Center YMCA, 500 East Street, Garwood
Shannon McGillis Jackson, smcgillis@westfieldynj.org or 908-301-1616 x610

Half-Day (Garwood)

Tigers (ages 3-5 years)

The program offers a balanced blend of social interaction and self-discovery through free play, art, music and learning centers. Indoor gym or outdoor activities are incorporated into each classroom’s daily schedule.

Age:  3 years (by October 1)
Program:  3 or 5 days, 8:45am-11:15pm,10-month program (follows Garwood public school calendar)
Location:  Garwood Family Center YMCA, 500 East Street, Garwood
Contact: Shannon McGillis Jackson, smcgillis@westfieldynj.org or 908-301-1616 x610

Half-Day (Westfield)

Time for Twos

For most children, this is their first experience in a group without a parent.  We focus on socialization, verbal communication skills and pro-social behavior.  Children participate in group free play, art, music, story time and physical activities.  Potty trained is not mandatory.

Age: 2½ by September 1
Program: Tuesday & Thursday,  8:30-11:00am, 10-month program (follows Westfield public school calendar)
Includes:  Valet Drop-Off 8:15-8:30am
Available:  Before Care 7:30-8:30am; Extended pick up (may pick up at back door)
Location:  Robert & Virginia Bauer Family Branch YMCA, 422 East Broad Street, Westfield
Contact: Maria Nierstedt at 908-301-9622 x423 or mnierstedt@westfieldynj.org

Wee Threes

Children are assisted with socialization and are encouraged to grow through hands-on art projects, games, music, and play.  They will be able to master various pre-kindergarten skills including color, shape, group play, name recognition, and cooperation.

Age: Age 3 by October 1 (100% potty trained–no pull ups)
Program: Monday, Wednesday & Friday 8:30-11:00am;  Monday-Friday 12:00-2:30pm;  Monday-Friday 8:30-2:30pm
Includes:  Before Care: 7:30-8:30am (for the full-day program) or Valet Drop-Off: 8:15-8:30am
Available:  Before Care: 7:30-8:30am (for the half-day program); After Care: 2:30- 4:30pm or 2:30-6:00pm;  Extended pick up: AM and PM parents may pick up at back door (registration required)
Location:  Robert & Virginia Bauer Family Branch YMCA, 422 East Broad Street, Westfield
Contact: Maria Nierstedt at 908-301-9622 x423 or mnierstedt@westfieldynj.org

Fun for Fours

Teachers expand on the skills developed in the Threes class.  The program encourages creativity, fine motor and cognitive skills. Curriculum includes Handwriting without Tears. Children are confident and well prepared to meet all the challenges of kindergarten. Specialty classes included.

Age: Age 4 (by October 1)
Program: Monday-Friday, 8:30-11:00am or 12:00-2:30pm or 8:30-2:30pm
Includes:  Before Care 7:30-8:30am (for the full-day program) or Valet Drop-Off 8:15-8:30am
Available:  Before Care: 7:30-8:30am (for the half-day program); After Care: 2:30- 4:30pm or 2:30-6:00pm. Extended Pick Up: half-day parents may pick up at back door, registration required
Location:  Robert & Virginia Bauer Family Branch YMCA, 422 East Broad Street, Westfield
Contact: Maria Nierstedt at 908-301-9622 x423 or mnierstedt@westfieldynj.org

Enrichments at Bauer Branch

Specialty classes such as sports, computer, craft or cooking are offered five days per week during lunch time (30 min. class, 30 min. lunch–bring your own or buy a hot lunch). 2 1/2 hour weekly classes may include Drama, Games, Art, Music or Science. Learn more.

Location:  Robert & Virginia Bauer Family Branch YMCA, 422 East Broad Street, Westfield
Contact: Maria Nierstedt at 908-301-9622 x423 or mnierstedt@westfieldynj.org

Additional afternoon classes are listed in the Westfield Area YMCA Session Guide and taught by the Westfield Area Y Sports Department.

Learn more about each location:

Bauer BranchEarly Learning Center YMCAGarwood Family Center YMCA