With decades of experience in child care, we provide a safe, nurturing environment for children to learn to build healthy relationships and develop school-readiness skills.
Our licensed YMCA Child Care centres provide high-quality care for your child in a warm and stimulating environment where they can learn, grow and thrive. Discover what we do at our centres below!
What To Expect
YMCA Child Care programs are required to meet the standards outlined in the Early Learning and Child Care Act and the Early Learning and Child Care Regulations and are visited regularly by a Licensing Officer to ensure programs are in compliance. We are a quality program that meets the early learning and developmental needs of children.
Our dedicated Early Childhood Educators are carefully chosen based on experience working with children, and willingness to learn and are required to have or obtain the following certification from the Government of Alberta:
• Level 1 early childhood educator
• Level 2 early childhood educator
• Level 3 early childhood educator
We hire people who are naturally friendly, and warm and have the ability to relate openly to both children and adults. Educators are selected based on their education, experience working with children, and willingness to learn and grow within the YMCA.
The YMCA has a hiring and orientation process where policies and procedures are reviewed and Educators are required to acknowledge and document their understanding of the process. Educators are screened using resumes, interviews, three reference checks and a Police Information Check with a vulnerable sector search. All YMCA Educators are adults and will receive first aid certification.
The YMCA is committed to providing children with an opportunity to further their personal developmental needs within a responsive and intentional program.
Programming is open-ended to allow flexibility to meet the individual needs of the children in the program and to allow spontaneous activity to develop. The daily routine includes active and quiet times, time to play with others, time to play alone and leadership opportunities. Many opportunities are given to children to interact individually or as part of a group. YMCA programs offer interest-based activities in the following areas: arts, crafts, music and movement, science, blocks and construction/manipulatives, literacy and numeracy, community and culture, sensory, technology, character, and asset building, core values, dramatic, messy, risky and outdoor play.
Educators and children will participate in extended periods of all-weather outdoor play based on children’s interests and developmental needs while building environmental stewardship and celebrating the wonder of the natural world.
Children will experience outdoor play for a minimum of 45 minutes in Out of School Care on school days and 2 hours in Infant, Toddler, Preschool and Kinder Care (and Out of School Care on non-school days), weather permitting. Children are required to have adequate outdoor clothing for all weather conditions, provided by the parent/guardians.
Each program will offer a compulsory daily component of gross motor activity, to promote a healthy lifestyle for those in our care. Children will have the opportunity to experience both competitive and cooperative games in an outside or gym environment.
Portable sports and recreational equipment will be available to the group during the gross motor component. This equipment will facilitate physical activity that promotes both group and independent play.
Educators will encourage healthy habits, including personal hygiene and handwashing, physical activity, and mindfulness activities to decrease stress and anxiety.
Homework is available as a choice for School-aged children except during gross motor activity. Educators can aid children as per ratio requirements but cannot offer tutoring. The YMCA cannot provide electronics for virtual learning and may not have access to Wi-Fi.
The YMCA is an inclusive and diverse charitable organization. We welcome children of all backgrounds and family circumstances to our programs.
The YMCA makes a deliberate effort to create supportive, socially inclusive and culturally sensitive environments, routines, transitions, programming and activities that are accessible, relieve stress and meet the needs of all children. YMCA Child Care programs recognize and celebrate differences and unique abilities.
Inclusion is ensuring the active and meaningful participation of every child in the program, regardless of physical, cognitive, developmental, behavioural, social or emotional need. Educators will demonstrate positive attitudes when making program changes to accommodate all children. Educators enable children to understand one another better by using materials like books, puzzles and toys, which address a full range of diversity (e.g. age, ability, culture, ethnicity, family composition and gender). Programmed activities are open-ended and can be adapted to meet all children’s exceptionalities. Directors and Educators ensure that children can express and share these qualities with their peer group. Educators will promote peer interactions, relationship building and play so all children are successful in the program.
YMCA Child Care programs are responsive to individual needs and will work in partnership with families and children (and relevant stakeholders, when necessary) to allow for the success of all children in our programs. When it is recognized that children require additional support, steps will be taken with family assistance to foster this success.
We recommend personal items from home (i.e. hats, mitts, jackets, blankets, cups, bottles etc), be labeled with children’s names.
Each program has developed guidelines surrounding toys from home as we recognize that comfort items are important to children and families. Any items brought from home are the responsibility of the child and not the program.
The YMCA will allow pets and animals in our program with the permission of the lessor. Children and Educators will wash their hands after touching pets.
Electronics are incorporated into the programming and the YMCA provides electronics for children’s use. Screen time and playing sedentary devices is monitored and limited.
The YMCA is not responsible for any lost or damaged personal electronic devices. Cameras, cell phones, gaming devices, iPads and iPods (any portable electronics) from home are usually prohibited from childrens' use at all YMCA Child Care programs as these items are a distraction during programming. These items must be kept in children’s backpacks. During special activities, children may be invited to bring electronics from home.
The internet has become an important learning tool for children and it is important to teach and role model responsible usage to the children in our programs. At some programs, the internet is available for children to use as an information resource. Children may choose to use the internet to research a school project, assist with YMCA activities or program planning, or play approved games or videos. Educators will monitor children closely during any online activity.
YMCA Child Care centres occasionally host special events throughout the year for parents and guardians, children and educators to come together. After all, child care is a shared responsibility between parents, guardians and child care educators. Opportunities are available for families to volunteer in various components of the program.
Parents and guardians are encouraged to communicate their questions and concerns to their child’s Educators.
Educators will take care to acknowledge families when they arrive and leave the program and take each opportunity to offer relevant information about their child’s day. All potentially sensitive issues will be discussed with families in a non-public place. Communication from parents and guardians will be considered and changes to the program may be made accordingly. All comments and suggestions will be considered on an individual basis.
Children have opportunities to participate in their local and global communities through excursions, visits from special guests and programmed activities.
Off-site excursions are an important part of our programming as they provide children with the opportunity to take an active role in differing areas of our community. Suitable opportunities are identified based on the community in which the program is located and the children’s interests.
As with other aspects of the planning process, children will have the opportunity to suggest field trip destinations and activities to engage in off-site. There may be different off-site activities planned to meet the different developmental needs of the children. Therefore, not every group of children will be able to participate in every off-site activity.
Where required, a permission form will be provided to families.
YMCA Child Care works with multiple stakeholders and works to build partnerships with the communities we serve.
Some YMCA Child Care programs offer flexible, mixed-age groups to support choice and accessibility for families and to reduce the impact of change and transition for children.
Parents/guardians, children, employees, visitors and volunteers must not enter the child care space if they are unwell.
Families must follow the Stay at Home Guide for when a child can return to YMCA Child Care.
Educators always encourage healthy eating choices, but a child is not required to have snacks or finish their lunches.
Many of our programs are designated as Nut Aware facilities and because of the nature of our programs and our involvement in the community, it is not possible to be an entirely nut-free facility.
All our programs provide a morning and afternoon snack, as a choice, that aligns with Health Canada and Alberta Health nutrition guidance.
All infant, toddler, preschool, kinder and out of school care programs require lunch to be provided by the parent/guardian, where applicable. Children registered in select Edmonton locations may access optional lunch delivery services at an additional cost.
Educators will encourage healthy eating, but a child is not required to have snack or finish their lunch.
YMCA Child Care locations have washrooms for children and offer diapering at some locations using a changing table or mat. Families provide diapers and wipes as needed.
All infant and toddler programs, and some preschool programs, have a scheduled rest period each day. Children aren't required to sleep, but they will be encouraged to do so.
Children 11 months and under are provided with a crib, while children 12 months and older are provided with a mat. Sleeping mats are distanced to at least 2-meters, so each child can have their own space to rest. Children are welcome to bring a comfort item with them for their rest period.
Some preschool, all kinder and all out-of-school care programs do not have a scheduled rest period, but quiet activities are offered to provide rest throughout the day.
The YMCA will engage in frequent, thorough cleaning and disinfecting each day and will meet or exceed guidelines provided by Alberta Health Services.
Children are welcome to be dropped off for programs any time during our operational hours, however, we ask families to avoid drop off during scheduled nap times, when possible.
YMCA Child Care is closed on statutory holidays. Days in lieu for statutory holidays are determined by the Association and take into consideration closure schedules for schools we serve. Families will be notified if their centre will have low expected attendance on non-school days or holiday breaks and will have care offered at another facility or reduced hours at the program.
The YMCA may provide full-day care for children during non-instructional school days. Families of children that attend a school other than the one in which the program is based are required to provide two weeks' notice.
All child care programs will be closed on Easter Monday for our annual Professional Development day for all our Educators.
All of our Early Learning centres, and the majority of our school-age centres, run for 12 months of the year. There may be a fee for families wishing to remove their child from care to hold space.
Centres may be required to modify hours or close if there are unexpected employee shortages.
Some locations offer flexible child care options, including part-time, AM only, PM only and drop-in care, subject to availability.
Part-time care (less than 5 days per week on a set schedule) is offered at select locations for children registered in infant, toddler, preschool, kinder and out-of-school care.
AM-only or PM-only care is offered at select locations for children registered in kinder and out-of-school care. Registration for AM-only care does not guarantee full-day care on non-school days. For AM-only registrants, care on non-school days is subject to availability and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Part-time, AM-only or PM-only care is only available for kindercare and out-of-school care from September to June.
Registration for part-time, AM-only or PM-only kinder or out-of-school care is guaranteed for one registration session, where applicable, and families will receive notice 60 days prior to the next session if part-time, AM-only or PM-only care will remain available for the upcoming session.
Registration for part-time infant, toddler and preschool care is subject to availability and families will receive 60 days' notice if part-time care will no longer be available.
Drop-in care is available upon request, subject to availability and not guaranteed more than 2 weeks in advance.
When a location lists "school served," that specific YMCA Child Care location only opens registration to children attending the listed school(s). Children who do not attend the listed school(s) are not eligible to attend that YMCA Child Care location.
YMCA locations only serve certain schools. Children may attend alternate programs and be transported to our programs if Inclusive Child Care or Family Supports for Children with Disabilities funding for an Educator is in place.
Parents/guardians must notify the program if someone other than themselves will be picking up the child. That person must be 14 years or older. A child will not be released to anyone without authorization.
You can register for a YMCA Waitlist for no charge. The program will contact families once a space becomes available at the location selected as a preference.
The YMCA accepts Provincial Subsidy. It is the responsibility of families to have their subsidy in place prior to registration. It is also the responsibility of families to renew, communicate and/or provide updates to Government Subsidy, as required. Should the program not receive confirmation of subsidy approval, families are required to pay full fees. Should the approval be backdated, we will credit families’ account for the subsidy amount. Should a child not attend the required hours, families are responsible for paying the balance owing which will be automatically deducted with the next Pre-Authorized Fee Withdrawal.
The YMCA accepts alternate financial assistance from government or community programs. Families are responsible for communicating with these programs to provide updates to fees, term and/or attendance. Should the YMCA not receive the agreed upon assistance, families are responsible for paying the balance owing.
The YMCA may provide support for families in need on a temporary basis through our Opportunity Fund.
Monthly fees for children registered in infant, toddler, preschool or kindercare (attending kindergarten and YMCA Child Care during regular school hours) for six or more days per month will be lowered thanks to the Government of Alberta’s Affordability Grant.
The YMCA implements regular fee increases. A market assessment is completed prior to finalizing the increase amount. Families will receive written notice at least 30 days prior to the fee change. Out-of-school care operates at an increased rate in July and August to cover the costs of field trips, bussing and additional programming.
The YMCA will provide a credit only when the closure of a centre or classroom is required due to unexpected employee shortages. Credits will not be provided to families for any absences related to symptoms and illnesses, vacation or if a family chooses to not attend YMCA Child Care. The credit amount will be applied to the payer's next month’s payment. The credit will be the daily rate for the number of operational days that Child Care Services could not be provided. Credits will not be provided if hours of operation are adjusted.
Although a last resort, the YMCA reserves the right to suspend or terminate a child’s care.
At YMCA of Northern Alberta, we value caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, diversity and social inclusion. We expect all employees, volunteers, members and participants to model their behaviour and actions on these values while participating in any YMCA program or service or visiting our facilities. Action will be taken against anyone not conducting themselves in a manner aligned with these values including but not limited to suspension or termination of membership or service.
If you have questions about a policy, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or, if you're an existing child care family, please reach out to your centre's team.
A Look Inside Our Centres
All YMCA Child Care locations have unique outdoor playspaces for year-round activities.
There is plenty of space to explore your child's creative side through arts and crafts.
There are ample storage spaces for your child's shoes, jackets, diapers and more!
Your child will explore all sorts of learning through our themed toys and play spaces.
Weemarkable™ — a YMCA Child Care app!
We know how special this time of life is, so even when you can't be with your little ones, it's Weemarkable how connected you'll be with our YMCA Child Care app.
Community Preschool Education Program
We've partnered with Community Options to provide more opportunities for children to thrive! Community Options proudly offer services in community-based programs (such as our Y!) for children with special learning needs.
Their Community Preschool Education Program is available at select centres in Edmonton. This program is funded by Alberta Education Program Unit Funding (PUF) for preschool-aged children who have been diagnosed with developmental delays, disorders, and medical diagnoses that impact their ability to successfully participate in classroom settings.
Heading back to work?
With over 50 locations in central and northern Alberta, YMCA Child Care has you covered.