Children 2 1/2 - 5 years


Bright Beginnings Preschool: Ages 2 and ½ to 5 years old

Today, children in the United States face some serious issues. They struggle to develop positive values, civic responsibility, and educational skills. In a pervasive climate of unhealthy lifestyles, they are at risk of being overweight and having other related health challenges. Furthermore, families are under increasing stress and often need help balancing work, family, and civic responsibilities. YMCA child development programs are purposeful and asset-based, demonstrating high quality and commitment to holistic child development. The YMCA movement’s goal is to engage 25 million children and adults so that 

  • every child and youth deepen positive values, their commitment to service, and their motivation to learn
  • every family builds stronger bonds, achieve greater work/life balance, and becomes more engaged with their communities
  • every individual strengthens his or her spiritual, mental, and physical well-being.
  • Help children develop to their fullest potential 
  • Support and strengthen the family unit
  • Deliver child care in a safe and positive environment 
  • Teach, model, celebrate, practice, praise, and reinforce the five values of character  development: caring, honesty, respect, inclusion, and responsibility; and confront inconsistencies 
  • Foster health and well-being for children and families
  • To help children gain a positive self-image
  • To enhance the children's social, intellectual, physical and emotional development
  • To help children become autonomous
  • To help children feel comfortable with the other children teachers and caregivers in a safe and stimulating environment 

The Garfield YMCA year-round state licensed full-facility childcare center, Bright Beginnings operates from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. We offer a safe, quality enriched, developmentally appropriate environment supervised by a well-trained staff of caregivers. Your child has an opportunity to grow socially, emotionally and academically through play. We use Creative Curriculum in our classrooms which offers many opportunities for learning and coincides with state guidelines for child development. All of our children participate in arts and crafts, music, computers, cooking, physical education, academics and more. Our full-time 4-year-old children also have optional swimming lessons. Preschool program is structured for the options of school daytime, before school and after-school care. Fees are based on the length of your child’s care during the day, Our tuition is based on a monthly fee. Contact 973-772-7450 for more information. 

If you are a resident of Garfield, to register for Our YMCA Garfield Preschool Program, the child must be 3 or 4 by October 1 and all registration is done through Garfield Early Childhood Learning Center. Please call 973-253-6600 to schedule a registration appointment with the District of Garfield and request that your child is placed at the YMCA for Free Public Preschool. We work with the District of Garfield as a provider meeting all criteria of a public preschool. If you are not a resident of Garfield please contact our childcare department directly at 973-772-7450. In addition to tuition, children who take swim lessons or are in extended care must pay a yearly registration/membership fee.

Download Registration Package Here



Afternoon Preschool

When children enter kindergarten, they must meet many goals. Transition into a full day, larger classrooms, and increased activity is a lot of change for our little ones. With the Y’s afternoon preschool session, children will have the opportunity to start a program that will effectively help ease their transition. This is especially true for 5-year-olds who will be attending extended day programs until 6:00 p.m. Our program places large emphasis how unique each child is. Our approach meets children where their talents lie and look at what skills need further development. Children are gently challenged while building confidence in successes. Children will have the opportunity to participate in circle time, arts and crafts, music and movement while developing early literacy and math skills. Grouping, sorting, and recognizing are skills that will be built up at age-appropriate levels.

  • Ages 2 1/2 years to 5 years of age
  • 8-week Program Starts 1/5
  • Must be a member.  Price ranges from 2 days at $185.00/month to 5 days $455.00/month
  • Children will be introduced to C.A.T.C.H., Healthy U and the YMCA core values of caring, honesty, respect, inclusion, and responsibility!
Afterschool Preschool Enrichment Programs

Program Minimum Required to Run Program

The Garfield Y offers al-la-carte programming afterschool for ages 3-6 years old because we understand children have their unique talents and families have different needs. Your child will have the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities that build imagination, coordination, social skills and confidence. Pick just one day or as many days as your child would like. The Garfield Y is proud to use the Horizon Foundation’s Healthy U, C.A.T.C.H. curriculum in our programs. If you sign your child up for our preschool wrap-around program, these programs are included.

  • Monday-Music and Movement
  • Tuesday-Introduction to sports
  • Wednesday-After School-Art
  • Thursday-Build it on your own
  • Friday-Fun with Foods Ages 3 to 6 years of age,
  • Friday-Fun with Foods Ages 3 to 6 years of age,
  • Ages 3 to 6 years of age,8-week Program Starts 1/5
  • 8-week Program Starts 1/5
  • $85 Members  (Must be a member)/ daily program

Healthy U is a collaborative partnership between the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance and the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey with the goal of combating childhood obesity through nutrition education, physical education, and family involvement.

The Healthy U program uses the CATCH (coordinated approach to child health) curriculum to promote physical activity and healthy eating among youth 3 -13 years old.  CATCH teaches kids that eating healthy and being physically active every day can be fun.

The after-school program has been a part of Healthy U since 2008  The goal is to promote healthy habits that can last a lifetime by demonstrating, and learning about the importance of, physical activity and good nutrition.

Healthy U launched in the 2012/13 school year in our preschool-age programs.  Our preschoolers will experience games and physical activities that provide an environment for success in skill development and exercise.   Nutrition lessons are taught through fun circle time and exploration activities.  This program also provides parents with valuable tips and suggestions for use at home.

In New Jersey, 1 in 3 school age children is either overweight or obese.  These children risk developing serious health problems in adulthood.  Through the Healthy U program, we can make a positive impact on youth and families.  The goal is to prevent and reduce obesity in children through physical activity and nutrition behaviors, and strong parental involvement.