Ready to Learn

Ready to Learn

Ready to Learn, is a YMCA/USA Early Learning Readiness Achievement Gap Program designed to prepare children from poverty, immigrant and refugee families for school. The YMCA of Greater Omaha is collaborating with the South Omaha YMCA and other local partners to provide Early Learning Readiness education classes for the South Omaha community. The program is focused on providing a nurturing, educational environment for children and their caregivers and parents to learn together. Children who would have no opportunity to attend preschool prior to starting kindergarten are taught Skills they need to be school ready including:-problem solving
-communication
-literacy
-fine motor
-personal-social skills
The program educators assist the caregiver/parent in guiding the child’s learning through 13 strategically planned activity centers. Structured physical education is also provided in the gym and outdoor playground area.
Classes are offered at the South YMCA on 3010 R Street on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00am-12:00pm.

State(s):
Nebraska

Administering Organization:
YMCA of Greater Omaha

Program Objectives:
Caregivers/parents are the child's first teacher. Ready to Learn seeks to: aid caregivers in their understanding of child development, provide community resources to encourage the caregiver to support the child during their school years and establish a new understanding of the importance of early learning in poverty communities.

Resource Materials:
Ready to Learn uses a center based approach with 13 themed learning centers. These centers change for a new theme every month and they include library, writing, math, science, art, puzzles, gross motor(playground or gym), manipulatives, dramatic play, blocks, snack/nutrition, play dough and an  infant center as well as an educational circle time. Since the program started as a  Y/USA pilot program we collaborated to create our curriculum in accordance to the Early Learning Readiness (ELR) program model that Y/USA provided us. We use educational theme related activities in each center. 

Groups Served by Program:
Currently, the majority of families enrolled are Hispanic/Latino. We have served caregivers from the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, China, Morocco, Sudan and Venezuela.

Program Funding:
Ready to Learn currently receives funding from United Way, Pacific Life and private donors.

Program Staffing and Training:
Ready to Learn has a program director and a part-time bilingual coordinator. Staff training is provided through Y/USA and other community trainings.

Program Evaluation:
The caregiver and educator assess the child's development by completing the researched based Ages and Stages - 3 and Social/Emotional Questionnaire screenings for ages 1 month to 5 years. The questionnaire score is used to create individual progress activities and to make referrals. Caregivers are also encouraged to complete caregiver/satisfaction surveys at the start and end of the program for the year.

Program Outcomes:
During the 2017 year: 1. 100% of caregivers understand more about positive relationships and  interactions with young children. 2. 96% of children assessed are on track in communication, gross motor, fine motor and personal social skills. 3. 93% of children assessed are on track in problem solving.

Program Contact:
Elyse DeTurk (402)731-3999 edeturk@metroymca.org http://metroymca.org/ready-to-learn/

Program Dates:
The program began in 2013 and is still operation as of 2018.

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