About SYC . . .

School for Young Children Welcome to the website of the School for Young Children in Columbus, Ohio. Our program was founded in 1969 as a part-time preschool program.  Our philosophy has remained consistent through the years; that children be allowed to develop at their own pace in an atmosphere of free play enriched with a variety of creative materials and the support of teachers who respect them as individuals.

As a community outreach program of the First Unitarian Universalist Church, we are a welcoming school--we do not discriminate upon the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, or cultural background of parents or children.

Changing School Relationships

Posted on October 21, 2016 in category Director's Blog

Changing School Relationships

A 4s parent approached me one December, worried that her child was not feeling connected at school.  I thought about the child—playing out complex stories with groups of children, saving a seat for a friend at lunch, knowing who was there each day and who was absent—and asked the parent to tell me more.  “He doesn’t talk about the teachers at all.  He doesn’t even remember your names. Last year, he ran to hug his teachers as soon as he got to school and came home every day talking about his small group teacher.”  As we talked, we realized that her child was very connected at school—to his peers—whereas he’d been very connected to the teachers last year.

While every individual and every circumstance is different, the changing importance of various school relationships can come as a surprise to parents as their child matures and gains school experience.  This isn’t something we plan for or try to create, but a pattern we’ve noticed.

The 2s class, for many parents, is the first time they’ve entrusted their child to anyone outside of their family, the first time their child has been alone with a group of children their own age.  At this stage, the most important school relationship—the one that’s a bit different at this age than later on—is the one between the parent and the teacher.  Through talking with the teachers, watching and listening to how the teachers interact with their child and the other children, and seeing that all of the children are loved, respected, and cared for, parents develop a level of trust in the teachers.  At the same time, teachers gain valuable information and insight into the child from their parents.  Teachers help parents and children negotiate the other developmental advancements that happen at this age:  separation, budding independence, toileting, self-help skills, awareness of self and others.  When parents trust the teachers and know that their child’s needs will be met, children are in turn more ready to trust that teachers will take care of them until their parents comes back.  In this way, the teacher-child relationship is also strengthened.

That teacher-child relationship often becomes even closer during the 3s class.  Many children look for a particular teacher when they enter the room, talk about the teachers at home, or look for a certain teacher when they need help.  My own child worked for months to say the “L” sound in “Lisa”—his small group teacher in the 3s—because she was so important to him.  By this point, parents are sometimes ready to trust the teachers after just a few interactions, though sometimes it takes longer especially if this is their child’s first school experience.  Children notice each other and sometimes play near or with each other, but these interactions are often based on similar interests—we’re playing together because we both want the trains, not necessarily because we want to be friends.  What’s important to many children at this point is knowing that the teachers notice them, like them, and will help them.

Then comes the 4s when, for many children—especially later in the year—teachers become irrelevant.  It’s all about peer relationships.  Kids who went home telling their parents every detail of what Molly or Gudrun said in the 3s, now might not be sure of their teachers’ names.  Some children wait for their friend to arrive before they’re ready to play.  Children develop methods to entice other children into their play—offering a prized prop or role to their friend.  They learn that sometimes they have to adapt their own ideas to incorporate the ideas of a friend if they want that friend to play.  The challenges of friendship also come up with 4s and 5s:  teasing, exclusionary play, jockeying for power within a group, negotiating how to have more than one friend.   They may call us all “teacher” for months (or all year!) but are often quick to learn the names of the children they play with regularly and ask for playdates outside of school.  Children and parents who are new to school in the 4s may need some time to develop trust, and some people just naturally take more time to feel comfortable.  But eventually, and with support as needed, children’s drive to be social gives them the incentive to take the leap and make a connection.

Of course, everyone—parent, child, teacher—has their own style and their own level of comfort with different types of relationships.  Some people need to establish trust each year with each new set of teachers, or may take a little longer to build friendships with peers.  And of course all relationships are important.  But knowing the general patterns ahead of time might help you understand your own experiences as your child moves through SYC.

…Susan Roscigno, SYC Co-Director


SYC 2016-17 Parent Ed Series

Posted on October 14, 2016 in category SYC Announce

Once again, we’re offering a series of four parent education evenings. These evenings are presented by SYC teachers, the topics and prices are below. We’re excited about this series. You can sign up in the SYC Office now.

Tuesday, October 18 – 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Discipline, Not Punishment: Guiding Your Child’s Behavior: The goal of discipline is to teach self-control, not to punish. We’ll talk about ways to set firm, reasonable, age-appropriate external limits that help children develop internal controls.

Tuesday, November 1 – 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Growing Kind Kids: Raising Children Who Navigate Our Diverse Worlds with Openness and Compassion: Have you ever felt frozen as your child announced, “That person doesn’t have legs!” in the grocery store? Wondering how to help your child understand our beautiful, diverse world? Come for an evening of conversation and resources on raising kids who are knowledgeable about race, disability, gender and family structures.

Thursday, November 17 – 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
“You Can’t Come to My Party”: Getting along with peers. Navigating the world of friendship and rejection with your child(ren).

Wednesday, February 22 – 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Uncomfortable Topics: Sex, Death and Other Tricky Stuff. Some things are difficult to talk about especially with your children. We’ll help guide you through these very important conversations.

Cost: $10 per adult per session, pay in advance in the SYC office or at the door.
Bargain Package: All four sessions, paid in advance (no refunds) $32 per adult (20% discount)

Child Care: Limited child care will be offered each evening for children aged 2 – 7 years old for $8 per child, if we have a minimum of five children registered in advance. Advance registration is required for child care (no refunds unless child care is cancelled due to low enrollment).

SYC Family Play Date

Posted on September 27, 2016 in category From the Office


Friday, September 30, 5:30-7:00 PM

Come play, visit, and get to know other SYC families.

We’ll have:

All three playgrounds open!

Creative stuff in Fellowship Hall!

A super-cool exploration space with all four of our sensory tables!

A food truck on-site, or you’re welcome to bring a picnic supper!







The Power of Relationships

Posted on September 13, 2016 in category Director's Blog

The Power of Relationships

Throughout the year, visitors tour our program regularly.  We’re often asked, “What makes your program different?  What sets your program apart from other schools?” Our answer is always the same:  relationships. Relationships are what makes us unique.

Why are relationships such an integral part of our program?  Because as humans, we are social beings and crave connections. These connections provide us with a safe space in which to grow and learn, to take risks.

They help us learn to trust one another, which can have a lasting impact on the relationships we’ll form throughout our lives. Relationships are valuable in every aspect of our program.  They are the umbrella over everything we do.

Staff is the backbone of our program.   We strive to treat each other as we treat the children: with respect and dignity, honoring each other as individuals, and with acknowledgement of the unique gifts that each of us has to offer.  To do this, we have to know each other,  so we spend time building connections and bonding with one another, both personally and professionally,  in small and large groups.

We value our relationship and shared partnership with the First Unitarian Universalist Church.  A relationship we have nurtured for over 40 years.  Having open communication and a mutual interest in each other’s programs and events helps strengthen our relationship with each other.  We offer support and care, so both the church and SYC mutually benefit.

The teacher/caregiver partnership is another essential relationship here at SYC.  We know that you know your child best and we offer you support during your family’s journey at SYC that will hopefully also carry you far beyond the preschool years.

Emails and  informal conversations before or after class give us a chance to connect with individual caregivers and get to know each other, as do more formal opportunities such as parent-teacher conferences.

Parent Coffees and parent education nights are offered throughout the year.  Teachers help create these safe spaces where parents, in small and large groups, join in conversation about relevant topics, sharing their challenges as well as their successes. Caregivers support each other and our community gets stronger.

A relationship is not one sided.  We want to hear from you throughout the year. Need someone to bounce an idea off of, wonder why we do something, have a concern about our program or about your child, want to celebrate a milestone? Tell us! We want to grow and evolve alongside you and your child.

The social and emotional development of children is often talked about as the most important piece of our curriculum.  We want to meet each child where they are.  We want to honor their uniqueness, quirkiness, and their authentic selves.  We must develop and build a relationship with each child so that they can trust that we will care for them and keep them safe in our classrooms.   That is why we will not talk about your child in front of them unless they are included in the conversation.  We want to respect them and respect the relationship we are building.  We believe that each child is a real person who deserves to be respected.  That their feelings are valid and ideas are worthy.  It’s our job at SYC to offer them the time, space and materials for open ended play, to keep them emotionally safe, and to guide them through conflict resolution.  

These first school experiences lead to children beginning to build relationships with their peers.  Through conflicts we gain experience on building and repairing relationships.  We will offer children support in exploring this new territory.   We will honor your children’s right to decide who they chose to play with and who they call a friend.  Through the context of relationships our goal is that your children will experience being in a group, gain confidence saying what they need and practice listening to others.

Nurturing a relationship takes effort: setting limits, providing support, keeping an open mind, and most importantly, listening.  Our hope is that by honoring and strengthening all of these relationships, we will continue the tradition of SYC being a safe place where children, parents and teachers come to learn and grow.

So you see it’s not always the newest toy, latest fad or the shiny walls that make a program unique.  It’s the relationships that are built within and outside of the four walls that makes our program so great.  We look forward to continuing to build our relationships in the 2016-2017 school year.  

…Susan Roscigno & Amy Rudawsky, SYC Co-Directors




2016-17 SYC Staff & Teachers