OpEd: The advantages of Universal Pre-Kindergarten

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BY WILLIAM NELSON

We at the Flushing YMCA are once again delighted to have the opportunity to serve families through the Department of Education funded Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program (UPK). Research supports that high quality early childhood programs such as “Universal Pre-Kindergarten” give four-year-old children the best opportunity to be prepared and gain the readiness skills necessary for kindergarten.

From a social standpoint the UPK program provides children with the opportunity to develop confidence and a positive self image while forming friendships and engaging in classroom activities.

From an educational and developmental standpoint the UPK program provides meaningful and appropriate learning experiences in a caring, respectful environment.

Experienced teachers facilitate children’s learning across all areas of the curriculum, focusing on literacy, math and science, emotional, physical and aesthetic development.

Programs like ours at the Flushing YMCA have special programmatic enhancements such as computers, a lending library, take-home activity backbacks, an enclosed private outdoorplayground, an indoor gym, and on-going activities for families.  Parents have the opportunity to enroll their children in special enrichment programs as well as ballet.  Extended days are available to meet your needs as we are open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and provide FREE swim lessons as part of our program.

What you may not know, is that there are still plenty of free UPK slots available at quality programs through the YMCA network and through other non-profit organizations in your neighborhood.  Some of your children may be on waiting lists, but could be in a program now, where they can be establishing relationships with quality teachers and new friends.

If you are interested in UPK programs at your local YMCA, please check out the YMCA website at www.ymcanyc.org/flushing, or stop into the Flushing YMCA located at 138-46 Northern Boulevard.  Our number is 718-551-9356 or email Lois Rothstein at lrothstein@ymcanyc.org.

Let’s get slots filled and get your children enrolled so that they can get the great head start that they need to succeed!

William Nelson is executive director of the Flushing YMCA