Experience the Y Difference Firsthand

Visiting your child's first school can help you make the right decision for their learning and development. Learn why this is so important, from experts at the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago.

Choosing a preschool for your child can be one of the most important decisions you make as a parent or guardian. It’s during these early educational experiences that kids develop critical thinking skills, healthy habits and social-emotional learning — core competencies that they’ll use for the rest of their lives.

The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago hopes to make this decision a little easier for local families by offering licensed preschool programs for children aged 2-5. Aligned with their mission anchors of academic readiness and character development, the Y’s preschool programs offer kids an enriching and inclusive early education experience.

Rooted in the Creative Curriculum, a research-based approach to education that focuses on the whole child, the Y’s preschools incorporate academic readiness, character development and healthy living to prepare young learners for anything life throws at them. The Creative Curriculum is fully aligned with state and national Early Learning Standards and promotes language, anti-bias literacy, math and critical thinking skills by encouraging children to explore their own interests in a supportive environment.

In the Y’s preschool programs, children aged 2-5 build social skills and self-esteem, make friendships and stretch their minds with introductory instruction in literacy, science, social studies, cooking, swimming, physical education, technology, arts and music.

All YMCA preschool teachers are highly trained, DCFS-certified, and carefully selected based on the Y’s core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. YMCA preschool teachers also receive continual professional development to ensure the best, most current practices in the classroom.

Providing children a safe, nurturing environment in which to learn and grow is the utmost priority at every Y preschool. To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and ensure families’ peace of mind, the Y’s preschool programs operate in accordance with both DCFS and IDPH guidelines.

The YMCA of Metro Chicago invites families to experience the Y difference firsthand. Families can contact their local Y to schedule a preschool tour. During the visit, parents and guardians will tour their local Y’s facilities and get the chance to ask questions about daily schedules, curriculum, mealtime and more. Families are highly encouraged to bring their kids, too.

To simplify the process of registering for preschool, the Y’s membership desks will also be available for families to sign up right after their visit if they so choose. The Y strives to form a partnership with every family based on mutual trust and understanding. Regularly scheduled open house events during the year reaffirm this commitment by introducing the Y’s preschool program to local parents in a friendly, transparent way.

Participating YMCA locations

To sign up for a preschool visit, contact your local Y center. Below is a list of participating Y locations and phone numbers:

Buehler YMCA                                        

(847) 359-2400

Foglia YMCA         

(847) 438-5300

Indian Boundary YMCA                           

(630) 968-8400

Elmhurst YMCA

(630) 834-9200

Fry Family YMCA

(630) 904-9595

Garfield YMCA

(773) 265-3900

McCormick YMCA

(773) 235-2525

North Lawndale YMCA

(773) 638-0773

Rauner YMCA

(773) 847-3115


(815) 459-4455

South Side YMCA

(773) 947-0700

Dr. Effie O. Ellis YMCA Head Start

(773) 533-9011

Early Learning Demonstration (ELDC)

(312) 587-2223

Jeanne Kenney YMCA Day Care Center

(773) 904-0195

YMCA Marshall Family Development Center

(773) 265-0145

“The Y’s mission to strengthen children, families and communities begins with the youngest members of our Y family,” says Jill Doerner, Senior Vice President of Operations and Strategic Initiatives at the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. “The first five years of a child’s life are crucial to their development, and our whole-child, community-centered approach to preschool means our educators work closely with families to ensure the best possible outcomes for our community’s kids.”

To learn more about the YMCA of Metro Chicago’s preschool program, visit their website.


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