YMCA announces new all-day childcare programs as families prepare for school

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The YMCA of the Virginia Peninsulas has started a new all-day childcare program for the coming school year. (WYDaily/Courtesy of YMCA Virginia Peninsulas)
The YMCA of the Virginia Peninsulas has started a new all-day childcare program for the coming school year. (WYDaily/Courtesy of YMCA Virginia Peninsulas)

While many children in the Historic Triangle are doing virtual education this fall, their parents might still need to go to work.

With limited childcare capacities because of the coronavirus pandemic, the YMCA of the Virginia Peninsulas has started a new program that provides care to kindergarten through fifth grade students.

“This is a completely new program model for us,” said Caitlyn Leavens, senior program director. “We felt like we needed to be agile and pivot with the needs of our families. Parents still need to work and children still need to grow.”

Leavens said YMCA programs in the past primarily consisted of before-and-after-school schedules. This one will provide an all-day program where students can both participate in interactive YMCA activities and work on their virtual schoolwork.

The programs will range based on school district and facility locations and each program will have a different capacity limit based on the amount of space available at the program’s facility. Participants will be selected on a first-come first-serve basis and those parents who are considered essential workers based on Gov. Ralph Northam’s orders. Then others will be accepted into the program based on capacity and interest.

The goal is to provide a source of all-day childcare for parents that still have to work while their children are learning from home. 

“This new program will not only support our students, but it will also support our educators and parents,” said Adam Klutts, president and CEO of the YMCA of the Virginia Peninsulas. “We’ve been working with many of our local school districts for years, and now, more than ever, the Y recognizes the need for continued support of our youth’s academic success.”

Students will be encouraged to use the facilities’ learning labs during the day to complete their virtual learning activities and each program will align their models based on the school district’s curriculum. 

“We know that parents still have to go to work each day and might not be able to fill all the obligations,” Leavens said. “So anyway we can align with parents and teachers who need us to help them accomplish everything, we want to be that helpful presence for good.”

The programs will start based on the school start dates for each district. Registration is currently open and remains available up to Sept. 8 as space allows. The program costs $95 a week per child for members and $130 a week per child for non-members — there is financial aid available for some families.

“We’re excited to be able to show up for our communities in this capacity,” Leavens said. “We want to meet the needs of our families and students and let them know that we’re here for them.”

To learn more, visit the YMCA of the Virginia Peninsulas online.

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