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Learning through play

This research-based curriculum, applied in our Preschool and Full Day Child Care programs, was developed by Child Care experts and is utilized and regulated in YMCA child care programs across Canada.

Research has shown that the growth and development of a child during the first six years of their life has more influence on their learning, behaviour and health into adulthood than at any other time.

With this in mind, our YMCA Child Care and Preschool programs are designed to nurture the development of your child in all areas through our YMCA Playing to Learn™ curriculum 

Developed in 2001 by a team of child care experts at the YMCA of Greater Toronto, this curriculum prepares children ages 0-6 for school and life-long achievement by nurturing their curiosity and development in the most natural way possible…through play!

YMCA Playing to Learn™ is a unique and forward-thinking approach to the early education of children. The curriculum is based on our Statement on Play — play is an active, engaging and fundamental part of childhood — and views young children as curious, capable and rich in potential.

Play is essential to the healthy social-emotional, physical, cognitive development of all children, and is a sound basis for future academic success. The curriculum aligns with the BC Ministry of Education's Early Learning Framework and helps prepare children for primary school education by providing the foundation for:

  • Language and literacy
  • Math, science and technology
  • Music, visual arts and dramatic arts

Exciting playscapes are set up throughout centres to provide planned play activities based on your child's interests. Your child will actively explore and learn to become a self-directed problem solver, developing a passion for learning!

YMCA Child Care centres are unique

YMCA Playing to Learn™ Curriculum is the only successfully implemented national curriculum in Canada’s history. In our centres, play is planned, respected, observed, supported and documented.

  • Our spaces are designed using natural colours and materials that create a calm environment conducive to learning.
  • Children care for living things like plants and small pets, gaining a sense of responsibility and respect for life and the environment.
  • Instead of following a rigid schedule, children make their own choices based on their interests, joining small groups facilitated by an educator throughout the centre.
  • Parents regularly receive "learning evidence": written documentations about a learning process your child experienced, independently or as part of a group. As you read through these over time, you’ll see the amazing story of how your child is learning and developing!

The YMCA is, and always will be, dedicated to building healthy, confident, secure, and connected children, youth, families and communities. We believe all children should have safe and healthy places to learn and play.

As a charity, we work hard to ensure quality affordable care is accessible to all and make no profit from any of our Child Care programs.

Learn about Child Care

Learn about Preschool

Have questions or want to learn more? We would love to connect with you about our Child Care Programs and Camp options.

Contact our Child Care Team


A Place to Connect™ Curriculum

YMCA: A Place to Connect™ is a school-age curriculum for ages 5-12 who attend our Before and After School programs. It is nationally recognized and builds upon our Playing to Learn™ curriculum. 

Child Care Financial Support

As a charity, the Y believes no family should be turned away because of financial circumstances. Thanks to generous donors, the Y is able to provide financial assistance to families who could not otherwise afford quality child care or Preschool programs.

Work With Children

If you are passionate about working with children, our child care team is always hiring. We are a growing team with great training opportunities, benefits, and a variety of positions to help you grow your career.