YMCA receives child care award

For their ongoing commitment to children, the Tiffin Community YMCA pre-school and school-aged child care programs have received a One-Star Step Up to Quality Award for excellence in early care and education from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Step Up To Quality is Ohio’s rating system for early care and education programs. Participants can earn a one-, two- or three-star rating by meeting a list of benchmarks, according to release.

The criteria needed to be met to receive a one-star rating include decreased class sizes. For school-aged children, the center must have a teacher to student ratio of 1:18.

Teachers and administrators must receive 10 hours of training per year, teachers must be familiar with infant and toddler guidelines and Ohio’s Early Learning Content Standards, and the Y must provide at least one employee benefit to staff members.

YMCA programs help parents who work take care of their kids, Molly Lofton, senior program director at the Tiffin YMCA, said.

There are before-school programs that allow children to be dropped off and taken to school when a parent has to work, Lofton said. There also are kindergarten childcare programs when kindergarteners are released from school along with after-school programs for children to spend the time swimming, playing and getting assistance with homework, she said.

“The YMCA pre-school and school-age child care program is proud to be a One-Star program,” Lofton said. “We’re here to provide children with the rich developmental experiences so critical to their well-being.”

To be qualified for the Step-Up to Quality program, the YMCA and staff had to meet state licensing standards.

The staff then had to participate in training in their respective areas, Lofton said. Because of the One-Star rating, the YMCA is to receive money to better equip the programs.

“Being involved in this program will better the YMCA by showing the community that we have gone far and above what is required,” Lofton said. “We want to provide a safe place to be for the kids and for the kids to want to be here.”