In accordance with our goals and philosophy, our program is play-based. Each day your child will be provided time for free play with a wide variety of materials and spaces. Some activities are teacher planned and guided, but each child can freely choose which activity, materials or space he/she wishes to use. The YMCA strives to challenge and stimulate each child at his/her own developmental level and foster a positive self image by accepting each child as an individual.

The Early Learning Centers of the YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties implements the Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers & Twos and the Creative Curriculum for Preschool Children. Our Early Learning Centers are full-day programs which incorporate a preschool curriculum within their structured learning day. School Age Learning Centers use several different curricula that compliment the elementary school curriculum.

Your child shares meals and snacks with their peers, where they learn to make healthy food choices. All meals exceed USDA requirements, as we follow the Healthy Eating Standards put forth by the YMCA of the USA. These standards include a fruit or vegetable at every meal, water or milk as their beverage, 60 minutes of physical activity per day and limited screen time per day (no screen time is given to children under four). Screen time is limited to educational viewing only.

Learn more about our curriculum by visiting our Learning Center pages below!


All of the Early Learning Programs are currently accredited or are working on accreditation through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).  Accreditation signifies that our programs meet the highest standards in ten core areas, exceeding standards required by state licensing.  The ten core areas are: Relationships, Curriculum, Teaching, Assessment of Child Progress, Health, Teachers, Families, Community Relationships, Physical Environment, and Leadership/Management. 

Bright and Early

YMCA Early Learning Centers have partnered with ND Bright and Early. This is an agency who provides observations, training, coaches, and ongoing staff development as part of their Quality Rating System. Programs work to successfully complete 4 Quality Rating Steps – with the goal of reaching 4 Star status. Step one is completing and maintaining licensing standards. Step Two focuses on quality learning environments, using the Environment Rating Scale tools (ITERS and ECERS). Step Three is learning about Creative Curriculum Teaching Strategies Gold. Teachers learning to utilize this program for lesson plans, curriculum, observations, documentation, and assessments. Step Four focuses on quality interactions between teacher and child, using the CLASS tool. As each step is completed, programs are able to work with a coach and must meet all Professional Development requirements. After each step, programs maintain quality and continue working with a coach until the program begins working towards the next level.