By Andrew Edwards
The Prattville Bradford YMCA branch has had a pre-school/daycare program since 2000, and it offers a plethora of options for your children, ages 3-4.
The problem among staff members is that it hasn’t had the recognition that it deserves.
On Tuesday, April 6th, Sandi Hanna, pre-school Director for the Bradford YMCA, spoke before the Prattville Rotary Club in an effort to shed light on everything that their daycare has to offer.
“I always tell everyone that this is one of the best kept secrets in Prattville, but that it doesn’t have to be that way,” Hanna said.
“It’s funny. When I was asked to come work for the Bradford branch back in 2007, I audibly said, “you guys have a pre-school?”, Hanna laughed.
The pre-school is a full-time, DHR licensed program, meaning that children can attend during the summer months as well. With that, options present themselves to the YMCA children that other schools may not have access to.
“We have a lot of parents that ask if their children will have access to the pool, and they can. We like to take them out at 8:30 in the morning, and sometimes it gets a little bit chilly – but the kids absolutely love it because they get to play and have access to a different type of fun,” Davis said.
The YMCA also has an aquatic program that offers swim lessons to their pre-school students.
There are currently four classes in total – two, three-year-old classes, and two, four-year-old classes. Each class operates on the same curriculum as the K-4 programs in the public school system.
“We found that this curriculum gets our students ready and prepared to go to the kindergarten level, and ultimately to be very successful. That’s our goal as a pre-school – to prepare your children for their next level of education,” Hanna said.
There’s also the chance for students to participate in the STEAM program – short for science, technology, education, art, and mathematics. The program is through snapology, a company based in Wetumpka that offers a variety of activities designed to reinforce core competencies and curriculum being taught at each grade level.
One day each week, a snapology teacher will arrive at YMCA and help students enrolled in the program learn more about each of the subjects in a fun, interactive way.
As for educators, the YMCA has some teachers that have been there since the pre-school’s inception back in 2000.
“We have a strong, loyal staff that, some of which, have stayed with us for a very long time. We truly appreciate their dedication to our program,” Hanna said.
While the YMCA’s staff certainly has shown their commitment to their job throughout the years, none could have foreseen the difficulties that came with the last year.
“The YMCA’s maximum number of children allowed in the pre-school program is 57, and up to 63 in the summer, but after covid restrictions were imposed last March, we were down to just 14 students in a matter of days,” Hanna said.
Hanna said the pre-school program has still not reached full strength, but that they are on the upswing.
“We have 43 students currently enrolled. In fact, several of our new students from the public school system stayed with us after the covid ban was lifted because they enjoyed it so much. So, we’re really proud of that,” Hanna said.
Hanna explained that there’s currently a full waiting list, but if you are interested in enrolling your child, to call the pre-school office at 334-358-1446. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As for the pre-school enrollment prices, the YMCA member rate is $110 a week and the non-member rate is $135 per week. There is also a one-time register fee of $50, and a $12 per-week fee for those who want to enroll their child into the STEAM program.
“If you, or anyone else know of a child that is looking for a place to go, please make them aware of everything that the YMCA has to offer,” Hanna said.