Building a Foundation of Healthy Living with Children at The Learning Circle YMCA

As a strong believer in youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Summit Area YMCA strives to provide the best programs for children in our local communities.

Through The Learning Circle (TLC) YMCA, a branch of the Summit Area YMCA focused on childcare for children ages 6 weeks through grade school, the Y makes each and every day an opportunity for children to learn, grow and thrive. By weaving in the YMCA core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility our youth curriculum, TLC sets the stage for the development of happy, healthy children.

One way that The Learning Circle plays a critical role in supporting the health of its children, is by providing 150 to 200 nutritious meals daily. A number of these meals are funded by the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), a federally funded US Department of Agriculture (USDA) program that provides assistance to childcare institutions for the provision of nutritious foods to young children.

The Learning Circle YMCA dietary plan is guided by the CACFP nutrition standards for meals and snacks, based on the National Academy of Medicine’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans and includes a larger variety of vegetables and fruits, more whole grains, less sugar and saturated fat. By serving well-rounded healthy meals to young children, the Learning Circle YMCA is initiating healthy habits and smart food choices early on while laying out a foundation for healthy lifestyles for years to come.

“I love that TLC provides healthy meals for our kids every day,” said Sianneth, a YMCA parent. “They teach the kids “Go” foods and “Woah” foods to differentiate healthy foods and non-healthy foods. I once asked my young son what he wanted to eat for dinner and he said ‘Salad!’. I was so surprised, and so happy, because they made eating healthy something fun and enjoyable for my child.”

The Learning Circle YMCA’s curriculum is aligned with the New Jersey State Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards which includes English, Language Arts, Approaches for Learning Mathematics, Science, Social/Emotional Development, Visual/Performing Arts, Social Studies, Family Life Skills, Health/Safety/Physical Education, Technology and World Language. It accommodates full day, full or part week schedules and extended hours.

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For those unable to afford tuition or membership to the Y, the Summit Area YMCA provides financial support so that all children can take part in TLC programs. Individuals and families who demonstrate need of financial assistance living in the Summit Area YMCA service area including Berkeley Heights, Gillette, Millburn/Short Hills, New Providence, Springfield, Stirling and Summit are eligible. 

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About the Summit Area YMCA
The Summit Area YMCA is one of the area’s leading 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. Founded in 1886, the Summit Area YMCA has a history steeped in working side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, income and background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Each year, we serve over 15,000 individuals with our free and fee-based programs and services in an area spanning the communities of Berkeley Heights, Gillette, Millburn, New Providence, Short Hills, Springfield, Stirling and Summit. Through the generosity of our members, donors, and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance for our programs and services to those with demonstrated need.