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YMCA Learning Communities

At the Wallingford Family YMCA, we take pride in our child care programs led by highly qualified educators and skilled caregivers so you can have peace of mind while you work to help your family succeed. Our use of primary caregivers for our infants encourages open communication with parents and helps bridge the gap between homes & the center. In an age-appropriate environment, our experienced teachers provide developmentally appropriate programs for each individual age group. 

For the times you can’t be there yourself, we offer safe, affordable, high-quality care for children eight weeks to five years and support your efforts to nurture the healthy growth of your child. We believe in the YMCA core values of Caring, Honesty, Respect & Responsibility. We promote these values among staff and encourage teachers to plan activities that reflect these core values. Children learn through play in a secure, predictable and stimulating environment with developmentally appropriate materials and activities.

Our goal is to promote the emotional, social, physical and intellectual development of each child while meeting the needs of families with consistent, nurturing adult relationships. We strive to help children resolve conflict, promote self-esteem and understand the importance of families, the community and to appreciate the diversity in people.

Contact Emily Walter for more information and to set up a tour.

YMCA Learning Community at Choate

The YMCA Learning Community at Choate, formerly known as Tot Time, was founded by the Wallingford Family YMCA in 1989. It is located in the Bronfman building and accommodates 80 full-time children. The preschool serves as a laboratory for Choate students taking child development courses. YLC at Choate is open Monday-Friday from 7:00AM-6:00PM.

YMCA Learning Community at Masonicare

The YMCA Learning Community at Masonicare is located in the former Child Development Center on the Masonicare Health Center campus. The center is designed to provide care for 49 full-time children and is nationally accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Children are involved in an intergenerational program with residents of Masonicare Health Center and Masonicare at Ashlar Village. YLC at Masonicare is open Monday-Friday from 6:30AM-5:30PM.

Our Classrooms

The first year of your child’s life is an amazing time of growth and is a building block for future stages of development. Our infant program is designed to stimulate your baby’s cognitive, emotional and physical development. Our classroom is a warm and caring environment, filled with educational age-appropriate toys materials and books to encourage safe exploration. 

The infant classroom is limited to eight children with two teachers to allow for individualized attention and care. We are dedicated to cleanliness: every infant has their own crib and toys & equipment are sanitized daily. 

Regular communication between parents and staff is essential to providing the best experience possible for every child. At the end of each day, parents receive an Infant Daily Report that summarizes pertinent information such as feeding and diapering, any supply needs and activities their child experienced throughout the day.

Your toddler is asserting their independence in new ways every day. We recognize that children at his age may be at different stages of development and individualize our program to meet the needs of every child. Toddlers learn through sensory experiences that enhance their cognitive, language, motor and social skills.

Your toddler is starting to develop friendships and gain confidence as they use their words and thoughts to share interests with others. Your child will spend the day creating, exploring, listening to music & stories, singing, role playing and learning! We believe that it is important for your toddler to express themselves creatively and are committed to providing opportunities and experiences to promote their unique skills and interests. 

Our toddler classroom is limited to eight children with two teachers. Daily communication between parents and staff is essential to providing the best experience possible for every child. At the end of each day, parents receive a Toddler Daily Report that summarizes pertinent information such as feeding and diapering, any supply needs and activities their child experienced throughout the day.

Your two year old is entering a world of rapid development in many areas and is eager for attention & challenges. They are filled with energy & curiosity, and are developing a new sense of increasing independence. We are committed to providing your child with the resources and experiences to promote a readiness for the next step to Preschool!

Our teachers provide the structure and guidance your child needs throughout the day as they learn to share, get along with others and perform tasks that require a longer attention span. More than just daycare, we include listening to stories, singing songs, playing games and participating in creative expression to help your child develop language & vocabulary skills, as well as movement & sensory motor skills. When your child starts to show an interest in using the toilet, we will partner with you to develop an appropriate plan of action for toilet training.

Our two’s classroom is limited to eight children with two teachers. Daily communication between parents and staff is essential to providing the best experience possible for every child. At the end of each day, parents receive a Two’s Daily Report that summarizes pertinent information such as feeding and diapering, any supply needs and activities their child experienced throughout the day.

Your 3 year old is learning through exploring, using all the senses. Through play your child is developing their reasoning skills and will get very involved in dramatic play. Language for your 3 year old is taking off. They are learning many new words and at this age begin to initiate conversations. We will encourage their curiosity of letters and numbers through many fun learning activities in the Preschool classroom. 

Children are engaged in active learning and are able to make a variety of choices during their activities because we focus on process and not product. Ample materials are available to children to explore in the classroom under the watchful eye of their teachers. Children discuss and share their observations and learning experiences with classmates & teachers. 

The preschool classroom includes Choice Time, Small & Large Group Time, Art, Math & Literacy, Technology, Music & Movement, Cooking, Sand & Water Experiences and Toys & Games. The outdoor environment is designed to provide an extension to the classroom and allows various science and discovery experiments. The classroom is limited to twenty children with two teachers. 

At this age, your child can engage in longer periods of one on one teacher directed projects, group activities, and active play.  Your 4 year old is building their knowledge of written language and math concepts.  Your child will be prepared for Kindergarten through many learning opportunities from solving problems, investigating questions and creative artistic masterpieces. 

Children are engaged in many learning experiences to help them prepare for Kindergarten. They will develop social skills, discover new things with hands-on science experiments, create art during craft time and learn from guest speakers & presenters. In the classroom, we cover colors, shapes, numbers, sequencing and important pre-reading skills like letter awareness and phonics. 

Children also learn skills like pre-writing and how to make entries in a journal. Graduates will have the skills they need to succeed as independent, self-confident, curious learners who can work well with others.

Our Classrooms

The first year of your child’s life is an amazing time of growth and is a building block for future stages of development. Our goals are to initiate growth & development through caring & nurturing each child on a very individual basis. Our infant program is designed to stimulate your baby’s cognitive, emotional and physical development. Our classroom is a warm and caring environment, filled with educational age-appropriate toys materials and books to encourage safe exploration. 

The infant classroom is limited to eight children with two teachers to allow for individualized attention and care. We are dedicated to cleanliness: every infant has their own crib and toys & equipment are sanitized daily. 

Regular communication between parents and staff is essential to providing the best experience possible for every child. At the end of each day, parents receive an Infant Daily Report that summarizes pertinent information such as feeding and diapering, any supply needs and activities their child experienced throughout the day.

Your child is entering a special time in their development. At this age, they are exploring and learning at a fast rate. They’re learning how their body moves, thus allowing them to do more exciting activities such as climbing & going down a slide or walking outside for longer periods of time. The toddlers are beginning to interact with each other, but parallel play is still predominant. We use the Creative Curriculum planning guides, influenced by careful observation of each child and the pattern on their development. Children will begin to participate in intergenerational programs with the grandmas & grandpas at the Masonicare Health Center. 

Our toddler classroom is limited to eight children with two teachers. Daily communication between parents and staff is essential to providing the best experience possible for every child. At the end of each day, parents receive a Toddler Daily Report that summarizes pertinent information such as feeding and diapering, any supply needs and activities their child experienced throughout the day

The transitional years are fun, challenging, adventuresome, trying, nerve wracking and tiresome, but definitely the most exciting and rewarding. Your child will love to explore, try new things, make new friends and their favorite new work will definitely be “no” or “mine”. 

Our teachers will promote security and feelings of belonging by accepting each child as a unique individual as well as a member of the classroom. The indoor & outdoor activities are incorporated into a plan that promotes positive emotional, social, physical and cognitive development. These activities also provide a creative and stimulating program that allows each child to learn as a result of interaction between the child’s thoughts and experiences with materials, ideas & people. Play is valued for its important role in early childhood development. 

Our transitional classroom is limited to sixteen children with four teachers. Daily communication between parents and staff is essential to providing the best experience possible for every child. Twice a year, a developmental checklist will be sent home informing you on how your child is doing with their skills. 

The Preschool years are fun, challenging, tiresome, trying, testing, and filled with emerging independence, growth and love. It is a time when children realize that they are each individual and find their own unique personality.

In this room your child will increase their awareness of colors, shapes, letters, written words, name writing, learning phone numbers, addresses, and birthdays. They will also be encouraged to develop their self-help skills, motor skills and social skills. We are here to comfort, encourage and support your child as well as you as the parent. 

The Preschool curriculum is broad, relevant, engaging and meaningful to each child and emphasizes development of a child’s thinking, reasoning, decision-making, and problem-solving strategies. It stresses the value of social interaction to learning in all domains and provides opportunities to learn from peers.

Our preschool classroom is limited to sixteen children with two teachers. Daily communication between parents and staff is essential to providing the best experience possible for every child. Twice a year, a developmental checklist will be sent home informing you on how your child is doing with their skills.

Program Enhancements & Enrichment

Parent communication is a vital part of the program. Teachers communicate with parents, both verbally and through daily notes. Parents are encouraged to visit their children during the day and share their skills and talents with classroom groups.  

Other enhancements include:

  • Swim Lessons for Pre-K students
  • Family Events at YLC and the YMCA
  • Summer In-House Presenters
  • Community Visitors
  • Community Field Trips

Environment & Security

At Choate, the campus is perfect for long nature walks and allows the children to explore the outside world during all seasons. Children also use MacGuire Gymnasium to run, jump, play and let loose their rambunctious energy! We also have two large outdoor fenced playgrounds for all ages.

At Masonicare, we have separate playground spaces for each classroom that are directly accessible from those classrooms. Children also get to enjoy walks on the Masonic campus for walks. 

We have an open door policy and we welcome parents to visit the center anytime throughout the day. A security code on the one entrance door of the building enables only appropriate individuals to enter at will. All others must ring a doorbell and show valid identification to be authorized in the building. 

Our Teachers

The Wallingford Family YMCA takes great pleasure in creating a safe, healthy, exciting and stimulating learning environment at our child care centers. Our staff take great pride in the program they create and nurture. Particular care is taken to select staff who are not only caring and responsive to the young child, but who also enjoy the satisfaction of providing “excellence” in child care services and are motivated to help the center grow. 

Our qualified, caring teachers are committed to best practices in education. Every employee is professionally screened (including child abuse registry, finger printing, references, physical, employment history, and child care training or education) before hiring and are well-supervised on the job. All employees are oriented to understand the mission of the YMCA and display our Core Values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. All of our staff are certified in First Aid & CPR, in addition to attending continuing education and training classes. The result is a level of care that your child deserves and parents can expect.

Scholarship Assistance

The Wallingford Family YMCA is a community based organization and strives not to turn anyone away due to lack of ability to pay. We believe in providing membership and program services to all who desire to participate. The YMCA’s Scholarship program, supported by our annual Community Support Campaign, uses all available resources to provide support to those who have financial need and qualify for assistance. Anyone may apply for financial assistance who lives or works in our service area. Within the resources available, each situation is carefully and confidentially reviewed by our committee to be sure there is a demonstrable need. The level of assistance is determined based on a sliding scale. 

We ask that those applying for assistance apply for Care 4 Kids first. If you are in need of additional assistance, or are ineligible for Care 4 Kids and would like scholarship assistance from the YMCA, please complete a financial aid application. Contact Tammi Mastroianni at for more information.