Early Childhood Education Parent Interview
What has your experience been like as a parent in the YWCA Minneapolis Early Childhood Education (ECE) program?
As a working mother, child care was something that was of the highest priority to me. I cannot say enough about the professionalism and abilities of the YWCA Early Childhood Education staff. A large portion of why we chose YWCA Minneapolis was to have our child not only experience diversity in the classroom families, but also in the staff. We wanted our child to look around and see leaders who looked like him. We wanted a facility that would advocate for him and for the greater good of all people. The staff does an incredible job embodying the message of YWCA Minneapolis.
What makes the YWCA Minneapolis Early Childhood Education program stand out?
For me the ECE program is different in that it is always evolving, growing and changing. The ECE director and board members are available to hear our desires, and they act on them. I wanted my child to be a part of a program where my opinion mattered, I could have impact and where my child’s best interests were at the forefront. I can speak for myself, and many other families, that we greatly enjoy the MacPhail Music with Ms. Sandy. Music is a great educational tool for young children, and this is a great component YWCA Minneapolis offers.
Why do you choose to enroll your child in the YWCA Minneapolis Early Childhood Education program when you have so many other options for child care?
I wanted to participate in the Parent Teacher Committee at YWCA Minneapolis, as I felt this would give me a better understanding of the ECE program; and it has provided so much more. The Parent Teacher Committee allows me to interact with staff members and be at the forefront of upcoming events and Children’s Center changes. I feel this has made me appreciate YWCA a lot more as I understand what goes in to the decision making, and I understand the passions of the staff on a deeper level.
One of my favorite offerings at YWCA is the partnership with MN Reading Corp and the Talk, Read and Write bags, which will soon be expanding to all classrooms. YWCA Minneapolis wants to encourage families to continue to read at home and is assisting parents by making it simple to bring items home: a little bag, an approved book and an accompanying activity for families to complete at home. Changes in the nutrition program are incredible. Some of the changes include: a decrease in red meat, great vegetarian/vegan options, organic fruits and vegetables all while having an internationally-inspired menu. Chef Mateo is outstanding - we have a children’s menu that is made in vast majority fresh by hand and all restaurant quality.
Would you like to say anything about your child’s teachers?
I cannot stress enough how much I adore the teaching staff at YWCA Minneapolis; the teaching staff by far are YWCA’s greatest asset. The staff spends more time with my child than I do some days, and I am proud to have such loving, inspired and brilliant individuals influencing my child. My hope is YWCA Minneapolis will continue to uplift, promote and engage its staff to continue to be leaders in the ECE field. There is so much educational disparity in the Minneapolis school systems. Starting children with a high-quality educational foundation at a young age is essential and that is built by having and retaining excellent staff who are inspired to make a difference using their skills, experience and creativity.
Do you participate in the family engagement activities, i.e. Pizza and Dance Night, Peg+Cat event, Muffins with Mom, Donuts with Dad? Are these events important to you?
We, as a family, enjoy all of the family gatherings YWCA Minneapolis offers. Some of our favorite family engagement activities have been: Pizza and Dance Night and Peg + Cat, stars of the hit PBS KIDS Series, book reading and Karaoke. YWCA makes it easy for families to attend these events by offering them at drop-off times or pick-up times. It is not only fun for our son to play with friends, but I don’t have to cook and happen to enjoy pizza as much as any child. It is also wonderful to have a large family style meal with all of the families and share our parenting experiences—this has been especially helpful as a new parent. The families of YWCA children are incredible. We have definitely found lifelong friends.