Part of the Fabric of Our Family’s Life: Q&A with a YWCA Family
Tell us about your children. How old are they and what are their interests?
Lincoln is five (his birthday was on Groundhog Day!). Lincoln loves learning, reading and math, and is incredibly curious. He loves trains — mostly Thomas and Friends, but it could really be anything. He can (and will) talk for hours to tell you all about Thomas. This past summer, he got to go on the Maine Narrow Gauge Railway and the Mt. Washington Cog Railway!
Juniper is 22 months — her birthday is April Fools’ Day! Her spoken vocabulary is exploding right now. One of her favorite phrases to ask is “What’s that?” Juniper is very independent and wants to do things her way. She loves helping at school and at home, especially when it comes to cleaning up. Of course, she tries to copy everything Lincoln does. Most of the time, he’s fantastic with her!
What first drew you to YWCA’s program?
We researched child care options extensively before we had Lincoln. YWCA’s Early Childhood Education program shined through them all as a high-quality center and close to home.
What has your experience been like?
We’re so glad you asked this question! Our experience has been incredible. The teachers are fantastic — we can’t imagine a staff more caring. We must mention that we are both teachers (middle and high school), and their example is a beacon to strive toward. We have to give a specific shout-out to Ms. Sherry May, who was Lincoln’s lead teacher for much of the pandemic. She has been a constant for him, and so incredibly supportive. A highlight was her checking in with Lincoln by phone even when the center was closed. Our children are amazing, and much of the credit for that goes to their YWCA teachers.
We also love the diversity of our YWCA community. Interacting with and getting along with people of many different backgrounds, races and cultures is completely normal to our children. This is something we have had to actively strive for in our own lives, and the fact that it’s no big deal to them is priceless.
The administrative team has been consistently wonderful — responsive, patient and flexible, to name a few things. While we are all ready for the pandemic to recede, it has been lovely to see Deb and Andrew every day.
Has the pandemic interrupted child care or family life for you?
The pandemic has disrupted so much. Our pandemic life started with Juniper being born three weeks early in the first days of pandemic just after everything shut down. Like everyone else, our family lost a lot of social interaction. There are important people in our lives who have never met Juniper and haven’t seen Lincoln in person for almost two years.
Through the dedication of YWCA early childhood education staff keeping everyone safe while allowing the center to remain open much of the time, our children have been more fortunate than many of our own students in having relatively little disruption. Knowing that our children are in a warm, loving, supportive and engaging environment gives us the space to focus on what we can do to support our own students.
How have you seen your children grow over the years since first enrolling with YWCA?
YWCA is part of the fabric of our family’s life. As we have said before, so much of our children’s development is because of YWCA. Their curiosity, confidence, warmth and so much more would be much less without YWCA. It has been a constant through this incredibly stressful time. In a way, it’s difficult to answer this question, because we find it hard to imagine our children without the influence of YWCA.
Thank you, YWCA, for everything. We’re so happy that Juniper has years left with you, and so grateful for your support and guidance of Lincoln. He’s got months left, of course, but it will be a hard day when it’s time to say goodbye.