A group of children play a game of indoor hockey as part of YMCA Canada's before and after school programs.

Across Canada, thousands of children start and end their school day with the YMCA.

Our programs are designed to be active, healthy and fun with an emphasis on letting children make their own choices. YMCA staff develop a special relationship with each child, helping them develop new physical, cognitive, emotional and social skills in a caring, nurturing environment.

YMCA A Place to Connect Curriculum

In 2016, we began the rollout of the YMCA A Place to Connect curriculum in YMCA Before and After School programs across Canada.

Developed in 2009 by a team of child care experts at the YMCA of Greater Toronto, our YMCA A Place to Connect curriculum brings a standard, high-quality approach to how we deliver before and after school care programs for children 5-12 years old.

Why did we develop YMCA A Place to Connect™?

Our goal is to make YMCA Before and After School Care programs the most enriching places for school age children in Canada. Research shows that children flourish in programs that are structured to let them shape the program, by providing opportunities for choice and leadership with a focus on strengths and the development of skills and relationships.

But research only tells us one part of the story. We listened to what children and parents told us they wanted in a before and after school program. Children said they wanted something that is fun, active and different from school. Parents told us they wanted a program that is safe, reliable, caring, and active.

Combining the latest research with this feedback, YMCA A Place to Connect™ was born.

What can my child expect in YMCA Before and After School Care?

  • A nurturing relationship with YMCA staff who will encourage their individual development and attend to their emotional needs
  • Lots of physical activities, games and outdoor play to help them wind down after school
  • Spending time and having fun with other children, including those they may during the school day
  • Planned activities driven by their interests to allow them to explore arts and crafts, science, math, reading and more
  • Opportunities to take on leadership roles in the program

How we ensure program quality

Staff receive comprehensive, on-going training that supports their existing knowledge and experience, including:

  • Introduction to YMCA A Place to Connect/Child Development
  • Relationship Building
  • Program Planning
  • Topics such as Physical Activity, Bullying Awareness, Healthy Child Development and Developmental Assets

The trainings cover policies and procedures, child safety and protection, program planning, healthy child development, relationship based approach to care, physical activity and nutrition, games and activities, etc.

Annual Evaluations

Every school age program is assessed on an annual basis. The assessment is comprehensive, examining program planning, relationships, aesthetics, choice and activities.