YMCA of Greater Brandywine to Offer Learning Centers for Upcoming School Year

A student and teacher work together on a virtual assignment at YMCA learning centers.

Registration opens Friday, July 31 for five-day program 

As school districts grapple with how to educate children safely in light of COVID-19, the YMCA of Greater Brandywine (YGBW), a leading non-profit organization committed to strengthening the Chester County community has announced that it will open learning centers with small staff-to-student ratios to support families when the school year begins.  
“We have been talking with many school districts and parents in our community to determine how we can help, and all have been more than supportive of these efforts. COVID-19 has turned everyone’s world upside down, and the YMCA of Greater Brandywine is here to help strengthen our community in every way possible. We can help support families, as we all work together to successfully overcome this crisis,” said Tina Rydgren, Director of Youth Development for the YMCA of Greater Brandywine.   
As the largest provider of licensed childcare in Pennsylvania, YGBW runs childcare, preschool, and Pre-K programs, a state-licensed kindergarten program, and several before and after school care programs, making them a natural fit for this offering. Since Chester County moved to the yellow phase of the State’s reopening plan in early June, YGBW has safely provided camp and childcare to more than 1,000 children weekly using stable groups, as well as implementing health and safety guidelines recommended by the CDC, Department of Human Services, Chester County Health Department, American Academy of Pediatricians and the Pennsylvania Board of Health.  
Just as YGBW has done with its childcare and camp programs this summer, stable groups, where children are with the same small cohort of peers and staff daily to limit exposure to and the spread of COVID-19 will be implemented at YGBW learning centers with each stable group having a maximum of 12 students.    

YGBW Learning Centers 

YGBW’s learning centers, available for students in kindergarten through sixth grade who are doing virtual learning, will provide full-day care from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, with the option for aftercare until 6 p.m. Students will receive academic support, social enrichment, physical fitness activities and more. Wi-Fi will be provided with students bringing their own device and headphones.  

Students will have dedicated academic support to successfully complete their schoolwork. Each group of 12 students will be supervised by a YGBW staff member and a degreed teacher or educational specialist will be available for every two groups, ensuring a staff-to-student ratio of 1:8.   
After surveying more than 1,000 parents and guardians in Chester County, YGBW found that they want to ensure their children are provided with social opportunities and physical fitness, in addition to academic support. Given YGBW’s mission to support youth development, promote healthy living, and encourage social responsibility, these are natural components of all YGBW programs, and will certainly be a focus of YGBW’s learning center offering.   
“Many families have expressed how challenging it was to balance work, family, school and other commitments when schools went to virtual learning last spring. It’s almost impossible to work while trying to help your children with their virtual learning. Given the Y’s mission to build strong communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, we are thrilled to be able to offer this program and hope it will give families peace of mind,” said Denise Day, President and CEO of YGBW.  

Registration Opens Friday

Registration will open on Friday, July 31 for families who have opted for a full virtual option through their school. As school districts make decisions and finalize their plans for the school year, YGBW is prepared to adapt its program to meet additional needs such as supporting those who do a mix of virtual and in-person learning and possibly offering learning centers at local schools.  
The program will be offered at seven YGBW branches to start:  

  • Brandywine YMCA, 295 Hurley Road, Coatesville  
  • Jennersville YMCA, 880 West Baltimore Pike, West Grove  
  • Kennett Area YMCA, 101 Race Street, Kennett Square  
  • Lionville Community YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton  
  • Octorara YMCA Program Center, 104 Highland Road, Atglen  
  • Oscar Lasko YMCA & Childcare Center, 1 E Chestnut Street, West Chester  
  • Upper Main Line YMCA, 1416 Berwyn-Paoli Road, Berwyn  

Capacity is limited. Financial assistance is available. For more information, visit our Learning Center webpage

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