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.

Communication and Relationships

Posted on December 06, 2019 in category SYC Announce

Communication and Relationships

One of our core values at SYC is relationships through open communication.  We strive to have strong relationships with the children, each other and you the parents and we know that the key to any great relationship is open communication.  In order for us to maintain and improve our quality program we need to evaluate and reevaluate our practices with input from all parties.

Teaching teams meet daily before or after class to review the classroom dynamics, celebrate the things that went well and brainstorm the challenges.  As a whole staff we meet monthly and sometimes bi-monthly to stretch our thinking and examine our practices on a larger scale.  We set individual and program-wide goals each year. 

After the New Year, your small group teacher will reach out to schedule a time to meet for a conference.  Prior to that, Holly will send out a link to the Pre-Conference Questionnaire for you to either fill out online or on paper. The questionnaire asks about your child’s experience in school thus far, your concerns, and other information that is vital to teachers in preparing for your child’s conference.  It helps teachers better manage the conference time in order to address your concerns and to prepare resources for you. During your scheduled conference time you can expect your child’s small group teacher to share observations of your child’s play interests, peer relationships, and developmental stages, and to discuss goals for your child’s growth  You can also expect teachers to share insights on any concerns you may have and to provide information on additional resources should you need them. 

In years prior we have sent out a year-end program evaluation which we have found helpful if a little late in the year.  To find out what your thoughts and concerns might be earlier in our relationship, this year we will also be sending out a short mid-year feedback form.  We ask that you take a few moments to fill it out or to come in and talk with one of us if you’d rather.  Your feedback is an essential piece to our process in examining our practices.  We value your thoughts and ideas, both positive and negative.  Please fill it out before we close for the winter break on Friday, December 13.

As mentioned above, communication is one of our core values.  The last section of the form will ask if you would like your child’s small group teacher to contact you, if you’d like a director to contact you or if you do not need to discuss further.  Please know that although we are requesting feedback through this form, should you want to talk at anytime throughout the year, we invite you to share your thoughts with us or with the teachers. As you may have noticed there is a quote hanging in our hallway leading to the classrooms.  “In times of conflict, increase communication.” -Jan Waters and Stephanie Rottmayer.  We could add that much conflict can be avoided or addressed sooner if we communicate early and often.   Hearing what’s working well for you also helps build our relationship.  Let’s talk.  

…Susan Roscigno and Amy Rudawsky, Co-Directors

Anything goes at SYC?

Posted on November 01, 2019 in category SYC Announce

Anything goes at SYC?

It’s often been rumored that SYC is the place where anything goes.  Everything is allowed.  No structure.  No rules.  

Well that is not entirely correct.  It’s true, yes, that our focus is child-centered.  Children make their own choices of who they play with and what they play with and how they spend the majority of their time at SYC.  We honor SYC as their time and their space.   

But there’s more to SYC than “do what you want when you want.”  SYC does have structure, rules and limits.  

These limits fall into some general categories:

· Safety – People and things aren’t for hurting, wash hands, stay in a room with a teacher

· Structure/Routine – your stuff belongs in your cubby, “it’s time for us to ….”

· Independence/Self-help – everyone throws away their own trash, gets their own lunchbox

We believe that every child at SYC has the right to feel safe and respected.  So limits are set in a gentle yet firm matter-of-fact manner.  We might empathize with a child, “You really wish you didn’t have to wash your hands”, or joke with them, “What if we never  washed hands?!?”, but the limit is still there.  

Because each child and classroom community is unique, the finer points of the limits may vary slightly from room to room and child to child.  We understand that some children need more support than others, and that younger children tend to need more support than older ones.  Some respond better to a firm “shoes” than a longer “it’s time to put your shoes on now.”  Similarly, self-help looks different in a 2s class than in the 4/5s.  Teachers are constantly observing both individual children and the class as a whole to assess their needs and skills and consider that information when setting limits.  They are also prioritizing building relationships with children so that any limits that are set are done so within the context of a safe, trusting relationship.

So, is SYC a free-for-all where kids can do whatever whenever?  Certainly not.  Is it a place where children can take risks, follow their own interests, decide how to spend their own time while they learn to set limits on others, listen when limits are set on them and build their self-help skills within the context of a trusting relationship with an adult other than a primary caregiver?  Absolutely.

…Amy Rudawsky and Susan Roscigno, SYC Co-Directors

2019-20 Parent Ed Series

Posted on October 10, 2019 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 below.  We’re excited about this series and there is no cost for current SYC adults to attend.

Wednesday, October 23 – 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Strong Emotions: Kids have a lot of them.  We’ll discuss how to let kids have them without being drawn into those feelings ourselves.

Tuesday, October 29 – 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Separation in the Age of Attachment: Separation is hard for everyone! We will discuss the challenges of difficult separation between parents and children, and behaviors associated with separation anxiety within the classroom and home. We will introduce skills and strategies to ease in the separation from parents in the school and childcare environment.  Easing separation difficulties among children and helping them manage discomfort in the end builds resilience and self-efficacy.   ** Note:  This Parent Ed is adapted from a professional presentation that Dawn and Susan will be presenting at Columbus State and at a conference in December, including photos and visuals

Wednesday, November 13 – 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Discipline and communicating values through the limits we set: We’ll talk about organizing your thoughts and actions as they relate to guiding your child’s behavior.  Our hope is that you can create a vision that allows you to feel less like you’re putting out fires and more like your discipline is contributing to lifelong learning

Tuesday, February 25 – 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Your child’s emotional health: Talking openly and honestly about sex and death.

Cost:   Free for current SYC families. $10/adult for each session for non-SYC families.

Child Care: Limited child care will be offered to current SYC families first and then, if space allows, non-SYC families. Parent Ed childcare is 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). Register early because it will fill up fast.

Getting “Ready” for School

Posted on July 30, 2019 in category SYC Announce

Getting "Ready" for School

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost time for us to begin getting SYC ready for you and your family.  We have the playgrounds to tidy up, classrooms to arrange, floors to wax, carpets to clean, and supplies to buy.  Whew!

You might be thinking, “Well, WE need to get ready for school, too!”  Your next thought might be, “But, how?” We’d like to share with your our all-time favorite ways to get ready for school:

1. Play!

2. Enjoy the outdoors.

3. Read a book with someone you love (or look through one on your own).

4. Play!

5. Imagine.

6. Create (with boxes, sticks, toys, scarves, buttons, anything).

7. Play!

8. Snuggle up with someone you love and tell them a story.

9. Splash in a puddle or a pool or a bathtub.

10. Play!

11. Spend time with something fuzzy or furry.

12. Build something.

13. Play!

14. Tell a joke

15. Laugh.

16. Play!

17. Explore. 

18. Dig.

19. Play!

20. Make something delicious.

21. Eat something delicious

22. Play!

You get the idea… 

What NOT to do to get ready for school:

1. Talk a lot about school.  It’s still a LONG way off, especially in the mind of a child.  Casual mentions here or there are fine, but too much talk can lead to stress.

2. Use superlatives, “You’ll have a great time!  It’ll be so fun! You’ll make so many friends!” because sometimes it won’t be fun, and sometimes they might be sad or mad at school, and they might not care about making friends.  And that’s ok! When you do talk about school, keep to the facts. “You’ll go to school. I’ll stay with you for a little bit. The teachers will be there to help you. Kids will be there.  You can play with them if you want. There will be toys and paints and dress ups. Then I’ll come pick you up and we’ll go home.” 

3. Get new school clothes – unless you want them to turn into old school clothes pretty quickly.  We get messy. Often.

4. Shop for school supplies (unless you really like them… which some of us do!).  The only things your child will need to bring to school are:

· An easy-to-open lunch container with a few things to eat (think snack rather than meal)

· An extra set of weather-appropriate clothes (and shoes if you have extras)

· A lovey if you want

· A bag or backpack to put it all in


Please join us at the Playgroup Clean-Up Day if you’re able to. We’d love to meet you and to have your help as we get ready for school!

..Susan Roscigno and Amy Rudawsky, SYC Co-Directors