When you become a part of the YMCA Afterschool Program you are joining a movement, not just a childcare program. That movement strives to impact our communities, not from a national for profit company headquarters, but as a not for profit community organization with a history that spans 129 years of service right here in North Texas. As a whole, the YMCA is the largest provider of childcare and youth development programming in Texas as well as the nation.
YMCA afterschool is the place where imagination, innovation and discovery is nurtured while developing the whole child; which is why each week children participate in activities designed to promote a healthy spirit, mind, and body. Our highly trained staff start with welcoming kids at check-in with a healthy snack and relationship building Huddle Time. Next, kids get to participate in engaging physical activity through the award-winning CATCH program. We then offer structured time for homework and independent or shared reading.
Our Ask Y? Enrichment Curriculum allows kids to discover, through engaging hands-on activities, the “why’s and how's” of our world and discover their passion. Ask Y? Enrichment Curriculum fosters critical thinking through activities such as STEM, games, arts & crafts, health & wellness, cultural exploration, and career discovery.
Our program day wraps up with youth choice activities that kids love!
Ask Y? Enrichment Curriculum
Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why?
Our Ask Y? Enrichment Curriculum is designed to give kids a hands-on exploratory experience in answering inquisitive questions! Activities are designed to foster critical thinking and develop leadership skills through center-based activities. Our overall objective is to offer hands-on, non-competitive learning experiences by creating unique enriching activities, encouraging active and healthy lifestyles and fostering strong character values and social skills.
Kids discover the answers to the Ask Y? inquiry questions through engaging activities within:
- Sports Skills
- Jewelry Making
- Interpretive Dance
- Lego Builders
- Creative Writing
- Board Games
- Off-Grid Coding
- Arts & Crafts
- Discovering Other Cultures
- Culinary Exploration
- Career Discovery
- Life Skills
- Home Economics
And much more!
BRAIN CHAMPS Suplimental Curriculum
BRAIN CHAMPS is our focused, daily practice of key topics in math and literacy. Our engaging, lessons and games are aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge Standards (TEKS).
It is important to practice TEKS that kids are currently working on, as well as spiral previously learned TEKS to ensure retention– BRAIN CHAMPS is designed for both!
As a BRAIN CHAMPS participant, kids get the much needed daily practice in reading comprehension, writing, editing, number and operations, as well as mathematical computation. This is accomplished by dividing our program days into A Days and B Days; with different activities on each day, and a variety of choices within each activity.
The ABAB pattern provides repetition of the skills, while keeping the activities fresh and fun. BRAIN CHAMPS curriculum changes each month to allow for review of more advanced topics as the TEK focus shifts during the progression of the year.
We train our staff on leading BRAIN CHAMPS with fidelity and provide leader guides that include both the TEK and question prompts to hold dynamic discussions in both literacy and math.
Meeting Specific Needs
Our curriculum is customized for each district or school. Administrators and parents partner with their Program Director to decide which activities (Home Economics, STEM, Community Service, Arts & Crafts, etc.) are most important to their scholar’s goals.
We differentiate for LITTLE Ys (K-2nd) and BIG Ys (3rd-5th) and our curriculum is adaptable for children with specialized needs. We also offer curriculum designed for our pre-school and middle school participants.
In addition to the Ask Y? Enrichment Curriculum, we offer BRAIN CHAMPS, our supplemental math and literacy curriculum aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge Skills (TEKS).
Resources & Collaborations
Our leaders are impacting policy and best practices locally by sitting at the table with major universities, such as University of Texas at Dallas, United Way, community funders, and industry leaders. We develop our program models by using parents as partners, listening to the wants and needs of districts and campuses, and letting best practices and children’s interests guide us.
Our program utilizes the researched-based resources below:
Our caring staff in partnership with faculty and staff from each campus and district work together to assist children with homework assistance. We know this is important to our parents; therefore, it is a priority in our programs! The YMCA Leaders are dedicated to offering all kids a quiet and structured place to do homework each day.
Thirty minutes of dedicated homework time is provided daily, at a consistent time that works best for each site. It is best practice to offer kids physical activity prior to doing homework, so many of our sites have the award-winning CATCH Kids Club activities before homework time.
Homework is offered in an environment that is quiet with assigned seating. Our dedicated homework time is for individual homework, though kids who are doing group projects may use additional time if needed. Classical music is played during homework time at some sites.
Kids are responsibly for knowing what their homework assignment is and coming to Y afterschool programs with the materials they need to be successful during their homework time. Children are not permitted back into the classrooms if they forgot something.
Y Site Leaders circulate among the students during homework and assist where needed. Y Leaders do not teach new concepts and are not trained on specific teaching and learning styles– particularly when it comes to new mathematical concepts, however they offer support and encouragement for kids to do their best and work on their individual goals.
Culinary Exploration activities are done weekly and designed to give kids a real-world experience in the culinary arts in a safe and encouraging environment. Each activity has a focus on a particular food or culture; most activities have a featured ingredient. Culinary Exploration activities are one of kids' favorite activities at our program!
CATCH® and Physical Activity
Our programs are always active! Students participate in sports, group games, challenges, teambuilding and the award winning physical fitness curriculum CATCH® developed by the University of Texas. Playing and being active is essential to the wellbeing of our busy children and families, and we deliver! The YMCA has pioneered fitness and sports programs since its founding in 1844. Our staff carry on that tradition daily by getting heart rates up and feet moving, but most of all by having fun!