YMCA launches new programs to support families juggling work, school 

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As families struggle with making decisions for remote work or a return to the workplace, the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County is introducing new child care options and academic programming at several YMCA centers this fall.

“We will continue to support families and schools with the evolving needs in educating children during this unprecedented health crisis,” YMCA President and CEO Laurie Goganzer said.

“The Y is one of the country’s largest and most trusted providers of child care services, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, we know our families need more and we will do more to help them right now,” she said.

The YMCA is launching the Y Academy in September for children in grades K-6 whose schedules are split between in-person and virtual learning, according to a press release.

“Our Y Academy will be a safe place for children to spend the day when they are not in school,” said Stacey Lastella, the Y’s vice president of Child Achievement.

“Our learning and activity centers will give school-age children the opportunity to log in to their virtual classrooms, receive academic support and take part in non-contact games and activities throughout the day,” Lastella said.

Parents will have flexible options with children attending two or three days a week from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Y Academy will be available at the Freehold Family YMCA in Freehold Township, at the Freehold Borough YMCA Community Center in Freehold Borough and at the Matawan Child Achievement Center in Aberdeen Township.

The Y plans to offer the Y Academy at the Old Bridge Family YMCA and at the Red Bank Family YMCA, pending licensing, and community sites are also under consideration depending on interest, according to the press release.

Also new this fall is a full-day kindergarten program for families who prefer in-person classroom instruction, Lastella said.

The kindergarten program will be available in September at the Freehold Family YMCA’s Enrichment Center and at the Matawan Child Achievement Center. It will run Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with extended care available at 7 a.m. and until 6 p.m., according to the press release.

Children will be placed in small groups for both programs and all safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health departments will be strictly followed, according to the press release.

Staff members and children will be required to wear a mask (with scheduled mask breaks for children). Health screenings will be mandatory at parent drop-off and both parent and child will be temperature checked, according to the press release.

The Y will also resume before-school and after-school care in the following Monmouth County school districts: Atlantic Highlands, Fair Haven, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Highlands, Little Silver, Manalapan-Englishtown, Matawan-Aberdeen, Middletown, Millstone Township, Monmouth Beach, Shrewsbury, Spring Lake Heights and West Long Branch, according to the press release.

Additionally, the Y provides child care for infants to preschoolers at the Freehold Family YMCA and an academic pre-school program at the Matawan Child Achievement Center.

To learn more about YMCA child care programs and registration, visit www.ymcanj.org