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.

Summer Break

Posted on May 18, 2020 in category SYC Announce

We’re currently on our summer break and we have no regular summer office hours.  Someone usually is in the office once a week to get the mail and check messages. 

The easiest way to reach someone over the summer is by e-mail, we check that daily.  Our e-mail address is syc@syccolumbus.org.

Grown-up Growth

Posted on March 19, 2020 in category SYC Announce

Grown-up Growth

Kids change and grow quickly, most noticeably when they’re really little.  When a child enters SYC at two years old and leaves at three, they’ve been here for a fourth of their life, and in that time may have learned to use the toilet, put their coat and shoes on, speak in more complex sentences, remember things from months ago, follow a 2- or 3-step direction, and (sometimes) restrain the urge to smack someone who takes something they’re using.

As adults, hopefully we grow and change from year to year as well, though often in more subtle ways: new habits, new ideas, new perspective. Outside events – sometimes desirable sometimes not – may happen that prompt change but we sometimes have to be intentional if we want to grow.

At SYC, we are intentional about growth for adults as well as children.  We offer parent education and parent coffees to give families an opportunity to learn from and with each other.  And teachers are always available to answer your questions or act as a sounding board.

As early childhood professionals, SYC teachers have a variety of opportunities for learning and growth.  Sometimes we invite experts to help us address something we’re curious about or struggling with. This year, SYC parent and early childhood mental health specialist Erin Tebben talked with us about trauma, its effects on children, and how we can help children build new neural pathways.  We’ve also been working with another early childhood mental health specialist from Nationwide Children’s Hospital who has helped us be more intentional about interventions we use with children who are struggling.

Here at SYC, we have a wealth of knowledge within our walls and learn from each other all the time.  Teaching teams meet daily to share observations, questions and challenges. All the teachers get together monthly, sometimes to learn about a specific topic such as a reflective practice.

Most years we take a trip together in the spring as part of our professional development.  We may attend a conference, arrange for a workshop by someone we admire, or visit an early childhood program.  All of these experiences have inspired growth: we might refine who/what we are or what we do, or the experience might help us define who/what we are not or what we do not do.  Both are valuable and fuel conversations and reflection for months or sometimes years.  Whether the visits and conversations encourage us to make changes or to hold more firmly to what we don’t want to change, they encourage us to remember the why of SYC and help us to better articulate who we are.

On March 2, the SYC teachers visited St. Mark’s Nursery School in Bloomington, IN as our spring professional development.  Their director, Sierra, was kind enough to answer an online plea for a play-based preschool program within an eight-hour drive of Columbus who would be open for a visit, and to welcome our teachers into their program for a morning.  After researching more about their school, we noticed how much the two programs have in common: both started in 1969, both outreach programs, both around 140 students, both 2.5 hrs a few days a week.  

When we visited, though, we were surprised at how eerily similar the programs are.  We heard teachers say things like, “You said ‘stop’ and you said ‘stop’ but you’re both smiling.  Do you still like it?” and “What’s your plan?” and “You can ask her if you can use it.” It’s like they’d read the back of our t-shirts! We saw teachers treating children’s needs and bodies with respect, saying things like, “It looks like your body needs to move.”  We saw kids engaged in free play: using materials how they chose, playing with whoever they chose, for as long as they chose.  

In this way, our circle of like-minded professionals has grown and we are confident it will lead to further conversations and visits.  Our trip was also an affirmation that the SYC approach not only works here in our specific context, but in other environments as well.  

Equally important, the trip allowed teachers time together away from our busy lives with families, other jobs, and a life outside of SYC.  Just as it’s essential for children to have time for uninterrupted play to learn who they are in the world and in relation to others, it is essential for adults to have uninterrupted time whether it’s playing, eating, or long talks on car ride or late into the night.  Like children, we too need time to clarify who we are in the world and in relation to others. This time for reflection and for learning more about the people we work with rejuvenates and refreshes us, allowing us to come back to the classroom with our cups full, ready to be there for the children.

We know that time alone or with other adults can be in short supply when your children are young!  Nevertheless, we hope that you find time – where and when you can – to think about how you’d like to grow alongside your child.

-Susan Roscigno and Amy Rudawsky, SYC Co-Directors

SYC Closed March 16-April 3

Posted on March 12, 2020 in category SYC Announce

As you may know, Gov. DeWine announced this afternoon has suspended all public and private schools for three weeks starting at the end of the day on Monday, March 16, until at least Friday, April 3.  

Upon the advice of the governor and other experts, SYC will close starting at the end of the school day on Friday, March 13 (note that we will NOT be open on Monday) and will stay closed until at least Friday, April 3.  Our spring break is scheduled for the following week, April 6-10. We may reopen that week instead of taking a break, but will let you know as the situation evolves.

Amy and Susan will be accessible by email, director@syccolumbus.org, over the extended break should you have questions.

We appreciate your understanding as we all take steps to keep ourselves and our community safe.  We’ll be working on some boredom-busters and stress-relievers that we’ll share to help make the weeks pass as quickly as possible. And don’t come begging us for TP – we have none to spare!! 🙂

-Amy and Susan, SYC Co-Directors

COVID-19 Information

Posted on March 10, 2020 in category SYC Announce

We are taking this opportunity to share the most recent COVID-19 (coronavirus) information with you, both about what is happening in the wider world and what is happening at SYC. 

We are in touch with the Centers for Disease Control, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (our licensing agency), professional child care organizations such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and directors of other programs both local and national. We will continue to use the best advice from these professional organizations in the coming weeks and will keep you informed should our plans change. Our goal is to minimize disruptions while keeping children, families, and teachers safe. 

To reduce the chance of transmission of this or any other illness at school, SYC is: 

-Disinfecting surfaces/items that children touch on a regular basis 

-Encouraging everyone to wash their hands often (upon entering, after using the bathroom, before eating, after wiping their nose, when soiled) 

-Working on effective hand-washing techniques and coughing into a tissue or arm 

-Requiring teachers to stay home if they are feeling unwell, or are not 24-hr fever free – if they are unsure about coming in to school, we are encouraging them to err on the side of caution and not come in 

-Temporarily not using some materials that go on/near children’s faces (masks, baby bottles, face paints) 

-Conducting regularly scheduled deep cleaning days (most recent was on 3/9/20) 

-Working on obtaining some hand sanitizer to have in the foyer so you/your family can sanitize your hands on the way out of SYC. Until then, there is a container of sanitizer in the office that you’re welcome to use on your way in/out. 

You can help reduce the chance of transmission of this or any other illness by: 

-Keeping your child at home until they are 24-hr fever free without medication or are feeling miserable – if you are unsure about keeping your child home, we ask you to err on the side of caution and not come in 

-Helping your child practice effective hand-washing techniques when they come into school (Happy Birthday 2x, ABCs or Table Table are all about 20 sec) 

-Encouraging your child to cough/sneeze into their arm and wash their hands after wiping their nose 

-If you are sick or your non-SYC child is sick, please consider keeping your SYC child home just in case they are infected but haven’t shown symptoms yet, or call the office and we can walk your child in/out to the car so you don’t have to come in. 

-Making sure that Holly has a current phone number and that your voicemail is not full so that we can quickly get in touch with you should your child become ill at school 

-Signing up to take home toys/play food/other items to wash. Sign ups and directions are here

Helpful Links: Talking with kids: https://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/talking-with-children-about-the-corona-virus

Handwashing tips for families: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/handwashing-family.html

Coronavirus and Children: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/children-faq.html 

For the most part, we are doing the things we always do to try to keep kids, families, and teachers safe, knowing that preschoolers are still learning about hygiene, where to put/not put their hands, and some are still oral learners. Our goal is to encourage safe behavior while recognizing that it is primarily the role of the adults to keep kids safe. 

As described on the Aha! Parenting Blog, keeping kids physically safe is only one part of what we can do. By limiting their exposure to the news, asking what they know about the coronavirus, giving age appropriate information, focusing on the helpers, and addressing any worries they may have, we can keep them emotionally safe as well. Importantly, the article also suggests that you “work out any worry you have about this BEFORE talking with your kids. Your own attitude will always communicate itself to your child. Children take their cues from us. So don’t let your children overhear you venting your own fears to other people.” 

Finally, we trust you to make decisions about what you need to do to keep your child and your family safe. As always, if you feel your child needs to stay home for a period time, whether because they are sick, you suspect they might be sick, or you want to limit their exposure to others, please feel free to do that and give us a call so we know what’s up. 

Again, we will continue to be in contact with the official agencies who are on the front lines and will let you know immediately if anything changes, including a recommendation from the authorities that we close for a time. Please stop by the office or email/call Susan and Amy if you have further questions or concerns.

Susan & Amy – SYC Co-Directors