Discover the YMCA’s educational approach

A Canada-wide initiative developed by the YMCA of Greater Toronto, the Playing to Learn educational method is an integral part of child care programs at the YMCAs of Québec. It complements the daycare curriculum proposed by Québec’s Ministère de la Famille, Accueillir la petite enfance.

With more than three decades of experience in early childhood education, the YMCA’s approach is based on the latest discoveries in cognitive science and child development. According to these findings, children learn best when they are playing. In fact, playing lays the groundwork for acquiring language and motor skills as well as learning about art, mathematics, science and technology.

In the Playing to Learn method, the child and the educator become “play partners.” Educators work in small groups to support and encourage interactive and cooperative play rather than trying to control it. They also regularly rearrange the play area to stimulate active learning, presenting children, individually or as a group, with different materials to suit their interests at that moment. 

“Because we are a part of the children’s play, they are not afraid to ask us questions and try new things. I’ve seen a lot of kids come out of their shell this way.”

Michelle, Educator