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The Gateway Family YMCA

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The Gateway Family YMCA Offers Early Learning Readiness Program

Program supports school readiness.

Elizabeth, NJ, October 31, 2019 --( The Gateway Family YMCA offers Early Learning Readiness (ELR), a caregiver and preschool child school readiness program in Elizabeth and Rahway, NJ. Limited space is available for the 2019-2020 school year programs and registration is available in person at the Elizabeth Branch YMCA, 135 Madison Avenue, Elizabeth, Rahway Branch YMCA, 1564 Irving Street, Rahway or online at Children ages 0-5 years old and their adult caregiver are eligible to attend the program, with English and Spanish learning opportunities.

In 2014, The Gateway Family YMCA was selected by the YMCA of the USA to pilot Early Learning Readiness to enhance the learning experiences of young children in informal childcare settings.

For many families, a family member, friend or neighbor is the most common source of childcare. According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report, children 5 years old and under were more likely to be cared for by a relative (42 percent) than by a nonrelative (33 percent), while 12 percent were regularly cared for by both, and 39 percent had no regular child care arrangement[1].

While family, friends and neighbors may provide safe and caring environments, these types of caregivers are often not trained in child development. The YMCA’s Early Learning Readiness Program provides caregivers with the program elements, support and tools needed to enhance their role in children’s cognitive and emotional development.

“At The Gateway Family YMCA, we work every day to provide children the best possible chance to learn and reach their full potential,” said Krystal R. Canady, CEO, The Gateway Family. “The overall goal of Early Learning Readiness is to help preschool children develop the cognitive, physical and social skills needed to be school ready.”

The Y’s Early Learning Readiness Program provides a preschool-like experience through planned learning centers that focus on supporting and developing the skills and confidence of caregivers, while improving school readiness among children. The program model includes biweekly meetings throughout the school year for both the caregivers and children at neighborhood locations such as Ys, community centers, libraries, schools and places of worship. Y staff and volunteers share information to help caregivers build their knowledge about how children learn and experience activities simple enough to be replicated at home.

“Early Learning Readiness is unique in the focus on both the preschool child and their caregiver. As the child’s first teacher, the caregiver is provided the skills of understanding their role in each child’s development, skill enhancement, brain development and school readiness,” stated Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO, The Gateway Family YMCA.

The Gateway Family YMCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, health and community service organization of caring staff and volunteers dedicated to strengthening the foundations of community and stands For Youth Development, For Healthy Living and For Social Responsibility. The Y impacts the community by providing quality services to people of all ages, races, faiths or incomes. The Y is a powerful association of men, women and children of all ages and from all walks of life joined together by a shared passion: to strengthen the foundations of community.

For more information on The Gateway Family YMCA programs and services, visit For information on Early Learning Readiness in Elizabeth, contact Lisa Yanez 908-355-3061 or Rahway Branch, contact Shannon Frank 732-388-0057.

[1] Who’s Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2011, U.S. Census Bureau, Issued April 2013:
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The Gateway Family YMCA
Colleen Clayton

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