The 14th Street Y is proud to announce a new program this fall for students in kindergarten through grade 5, the 14Y Youth Center! Cat Kenny, the 14Y’s Manager of School Year Youth Programs, is here to share more about this exciting new program.
The 14Y Youth Center is a new program for the 14th Street Y. Tell us a little bit about it.
The Youth Center is a place for children in grades K – 5 to come on their days when they are participating in remote learning. We offer programming from 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM, with an optional extended day.
We have highly trained and dedicated staff members in the room to support children as they navigate Zoom classes, virtual learning, and the transition out of quarantine. Staff work diligently to help students with their work, and provide them with enriching activities to do when they have breaks or finish their assignments.
Navigating so many different schedules can be challenging, but we’re rising to that challenge, and the kids are having a great time! I can’t see their smiles behind their masks, but the giggles and smile-eyes say it all!
What guided the decision to start this new program at the 14Y?
We know that navigating working from home and helping students with virtual learning can be really challenging, and we wanted to support the families in our community. We looked at a lot of different options for what kind of programming we could offer, and we felt that supporting kids during their virtual learning was the best way we could serve our community.
What are you and your team most excited about for this new program?
We’re just excited to be together again! Seeing so many familiar faces on the first day made my heart soar in a way I can’t even describe. And it’s been so amazing to get to meet so many new kids as well.
Is the Youth Center an inclusive program?
Yes! We are inclusive of all needs and abilities. We understand that younger children need a lot of extra guidance as they navigate remote learning, so we have supports for that built into the fabric our program. We also have an additional support program for students who may have an IEP/504, need consistent redirection or reminders, or need consistent support maintaining positive peer relationships throughout the day.
What sort of safety measures is the 14Y taking to ensure students can stay safe while spending time at the 14Y?
The safety of your children is our number one priority at the 14Y Youth Center. Our team closely monitors ever-changing guidelines from the state, the Department of Health, and the CDC to ensure we are following all safety protocols. These guidelines can change almost daily, so we are constantly evaluating and working to improve safety within the program. We have a partnership with Mt. Sinai, and are able to speak with a doctor there whenever we have questions about the best ways to keep kids and staff safe. The main ways that we keep our community members safe is:
- Students and staff are always masked, except while eating.
- Staff always wear gloves when they are in close contact with students, and frequently sanitize all high-touch surfaces in the classroom.
- Students’ desks are arranged so that they are physically distanced while doing their school work, and never share materials.
- The classrooms are deep cleaned by our facilities staff every night.
- We recently installed a state-of-the-art HVAC system and always keep windows open to ensure optimal ventilation.
Are children expected to wear masks inside?
Yes. Everyone in our program wears their mask at all times, except while eating. Staff ensure that students only remove their masks to eat while seated at their desk, away from any other students. Surfaces are sanitized and hands are washed after anyone removes their mask for a snack or meal.
How does the registration process work?
You can go to our online camp registration system to register! If you’ve registered for New Country Day Camp in the last three years, you’ll already have an account. If not, you’ll need to create an account and provide some basic information about your family. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to select each date in a month that you need care. Registration is on a date-by-date basis in order to accommodate so many differing school schedules!
We will be opening registration on a monthly basis, so you’ll be able to register for November now!
Where can families find more information about the 14Y Youth Center?
Many of our community’s students are learning differently this year. Do you have any other tips for families to help them adjust to this unique school year?
Set realistic expectations and cut everyone some slack! Kids may not be learning at the pace they normally would if they were in school every day, and that’s okay. Know that things won’t always be perfect and sometimes calls will be missed, worksheets will be lost, or sight words will be forgotten. It’s okay! Teachers are doing the best they can to provide students with the best experience possible in this difficult time, and kids are doing the best they can to adapt.
Most of all, cut yourselves some slack! Balancing working from home, parenting, and now becoming full-time educators and IT experts is not what anyone expected, but we can all see how hard parents are trying, and it’s really impressive! Keep up the amazing work, you’re doing a great job!