The North Branch YMCA preschool and before and after school program was awarded the first 5 star Step Up to Quality award for Y child care programs in Central Ohio on January 21, 2015. In the end of 2013, the North YMCA program experienced a couple of significant changes when awarded The Ohio Department of Education Early Childhood Expansion Grant and with a newly assigned 4 star rating under the revised Step up to Quality award system. During 2014, the North program focused on rebuilding its programming with the increased enrollment in its preschool as a result of the Early Childhood Expansion Grant and implementing procedures to qualify for the highest rating, 5 stars, in Step up to Quality’s newly revised tiered system.
The areas of programming that Step up to Quality access include the individualization of all learning and developmental standards for children, ongoing professional development for teachers, education requirements for staff and administrators, administrative and leadership practices that focus on continuous improvement in programming, engagement with family and community partners and health promotion standards. For programs that are awarded stars it qualifies them to receive state funds to support all areas of programming. The North YMCA program currently serves forty preschool children in two half day programs and 31 before and after school primary school age students, five days a week. The program accepts publicly funded child care participants and provides Y child care scholarships for families who are not eligible for publicly funded child care.