YMCA Kids Club
A group from the YMCA Kids Club.

In the realm of early childhood education, parents and guardians seek programming that fosters growth, development and well-being for their children. The YMCA of North Central Ohio (NCO) has answered this call with their childcare centers, offering a diverse range of activities and an unwavering commitment to excellence.

Led by a passionate and experienced team, the YMCA of NCO childcare facilities provide a nurturing and enriching environment. With a deep understanding of the needs of children in 2023, the dedicated leadership team—some of whom are parents themselves—has shaped an experience that truly transforms young lives.

Lexington YMCA childcare and kids club are now 5-star rated programs. According to Megan Wolford, the Childcare Executive Director who has been with the YMCA for 10 years, receiving a 5-star rating at a child care facility is no small feat. 

“I give all the credit to the staff and the site directors at those locations. But a five-star rating is based on the quality of the program, making sure they’re meeting the standards, which include using the curriculum, observations and assessments of the children,” she said.

Cristen Gilbert, CEO of YMCA of NCO for 11 years, added, “Because we are the Y, it makes it that much more special. It’s our mission to take care of the youth.”

Their leadership has yielded remarkable results and Wolford attributes this accomplishment to the quality of the program, adherence to standards and the use of curriculum, observations and assessments.

YMCA childcare kids doing a craft.

To go the extra mile, the YMCA offers amenities such as swim lessons, splash pad access, and a gymnasium. The organization also participates in the CACFP food program, providing nutritious breakfasts, snacks and hot lunches to ensure children receive wholesome meals.

“We are providing services to families who would otherwise have trouble finding childcare centers around the area and I think that’s pretty important,” Gilbert said.

Beyond providing essential childcare services, the YMCA offers a summer enrichment program designed to create a holistic experience. Aimed at school-age children, this program includes engaging activities, field trips and educational experiences. 

“We want to provide a need where there is a need,” Gilbert said.

With a focus on community and collaboration, the YMCA childcare centers partner with various organizations, including dental offices and nutritionists to offer additional services. The staff, some of whom have been part of the program for almost two decades, bring dedication and love to their roles, ensuring a nurturing environment where children thrive.

Working with young children means the attention span can sometimes be low. To help combat this, the YMCA ensures to mix up the activities for the kids and rotate regularly so they are always excited to participate.

Looking towards the future, the YMCA is actively exploring opportunities for growth and expansion, intending to extend its services to the Shelby School District. By continuing to uphold its commitment to excellence, the YMCA aims to benefit more children with top-tier childcare and enrichment programs.

In the ever-evolving landscape of childcare, the YMCA stands as a beacon of excellence. 

“As it continues to expand and innovate, the YMCA’s commitment to enriching children remains unwavering, ensuring that the children of Richland County have the best possible start in life,” Gilbert said. 

For more information about the YMCA of North Central Ohio and the programs they offer, visit their website or call 419-522-3511.

Interested in joining the 5-star team at the YMCA? Please contact Megan Wolford at: mwolford@ymcanco.org

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