A Community for Families | Y Early Education Centers

Last updated: January 20, 2023, at 9:52 a.m. PT

Originally published: January 20, 2023, at 9:52 a.m. PT

Mom and dad with their 3 kids smiling

That first week was tough, Crystal recalls.  

Her son, JJ, would often cry when being dropped off at Y Early Education Center in West Seattle. It was hard on their entire family. 

JJ’s teachers, Brianna and Johanna, worked hard to gain his trust and provide an environment that felt safe and comforting. “JJ absolutely loves his two teachers,” says Crystal. “They are the only ones who he will take a bottle from. Now he doesn’t cry anymore at drop-off.” 

“I work to get to know each individual baby so I can meet their specific needs,” says Teacher Johanna. “Before our babies start in my class, I do a meet and greet with families. I learn from parents about their individual schedules so that I can [stay] close to their home schedule, to help make their transition to school easier.” 

That level of support and care is all Crystal hoped for in a childcare provider. But finding high quality, affordable childcare in Seattle can be a challenge. Crystal’s family was no exception. Especially after her third son was born, they weren’t sure how they’d keep up with monthly childcare fees.

A subsidy made possible by Y donors means Y Early Education is not only a wonderful experience, but also an affordable one. It costs Crystal half what she would pay elsewhere. 

“My sons enjoy all the toys at West Seattle Y, they like the playground and the friends in their classrooms. They each have a handful of favorite friends they play with each day.”  

The teachers and staff work closely with Crystal’s family to ensure each of her sons get the support they need. Individualized attention is what makes kids and families feel that sense of belonging, and like their needs matter. When staff learned that Crystal’s son had food allergies, they went out to find snacks and ingredients that were safe for him to eat and added them to their daily meal plan. 

“My oldest, Eli, has really grown a lot this past year... the way he talks about his emotions, the way he interacts and plays with other kids. Bigger vocabulary, fuller sentences. A lot of growth.” Sammy, her second son, has also grown, “I’ve noticed his desire now to play with other kids. Before daycare, he hadn’t spent a lot of time socially with other children, besides his brothers, and the Y provides that opportunity... I knew the Y was a good place to go.”  

“We want our school to be a community for families, where they feel supported and welcomed every day.” - Jill Mudge, Preschool Director, West Seattle Y 

Learn more about Early Education at the Y or how you can support programs like this.