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.

SYC’s 50th Anniversary Events

Posted on July 29, 2018 in category SYC Announce

SYC's 50th Anniversary Events

This coming school year will be the 50th year for SYC.  Can you believe it? Started by Janet Stocker and Lee Row with two classes, 42 children and six teachers, SYC has grown to nine classes, 147 children, and 15 teachers. Over the last 50 years, however, SYC’s philosophy has stayed the same:  that the foundation of all learning is social and emotional development through play, within a context of loving, respectful relationships.

We are proud of who we are as a school and a community, and would like to invite you to celebrate with us throughout our 50th year at the following events:

Alumni Family Play Date & Open House

  • Friday, Sept 28, 5:30-7:30
  • Current and alumni families of all ages
  • Indoor and outdoor activities
  • Visit the Classrooms
  • Photos of SYC classes through the years
  • Family Sing-Along of SYC Songs
  • Contact susan@syccolumbus.org if you would like to help or have ideas. We would love to have:
    • A photographer for the evening
    • Someone to arrange for two food trucks (we have one connection already)
    • Help with set-up/clean-up
    • Ideas for outside activities that are open-ended and good for all ages

SYC Scholarship Auction

  • Friday, November 9

  • All funds are earmarked for scholarships

  • Please consider donating goods or services

  • Come to bid, buy, and have fun!

  • Monetary donations also gratefully accepted through our website www.syccolumbus.org.  Please note “SYC Scholarship” in box.

Parenting Post-SYC:  A Special Parent Ed

  • Wednesday, Feb. 13, 7:00-8:30
  • A panel discussion featuring SYC Parent Alumni and Teachers
  • Q&A about how to parent “SYC-style” as your children get older
  • Contact director@syccolumbus.org if you are interested in helping out with the evening and/or being on the panel.

Maybe a Spring Event  – Let us know if you have ideas!

We’d like to put together a video of current and former students, teachers and families to share at our various events.  If you’d like to participate, please send a 1-min video clip to amy@syccolumbus.org answering the question:  What does SYC mean to you?

  • Contact director@syccolumbus.org if you’d like to help with any of the 50th anniversary events or if you have ideas about how to make them better.

  • Publicize the events with current/former SYC families you know and encourage them to attend.

  • Let us know if you have ideas for a spring event…!


Nurturing our staff

Posted on May 15, 2018 in category Director's Blog

Nurturing our staff

Each year as part of our continuous development as a staff and for our program we take part in either attending a conference or visiting a school. This year some of our team traveled to Urbana-Champaign, Illinois for the Prioritizing Play Conference.  In this inaugural year the conference was hosted by KOOP (Kid Owned and Operated Play) Adventure Play and Pop-Up Adventure Play.  The staff had the opportunity to attend lectures and interactive conference sessions by several speakers and researchers in the area of prioritizing play for kids of all ages.

Dr. Peter Gray, an evolutionary psychologist, led lectures and shared his research on the power of play and self-directed learning and on adult discomfort with self-directed play.  Morgan Leichter-Saxby a trained playworker and co-founder of Pop-Up Adventure shared her knowledge on reflective practice, play-based approaches to challenging behavior, and led us through an open discussion on issues of gender and race.  We also had the chance to hear from other trained playworkers and the co-founders of KOOP on topics such as risk and risk-benefit assessments, building community around play for all ages, and loose parts in the classroom.

These opportunities for staff development led to enriching reflective practice of our program.  It anchors what we know to be true, that children learn best through play.  Through our almost 50 years in practice we continue to focus on the social-emotional development of each child through play.  Through our conversations we continue to question and reflect on our goals for how we can best meet the needs of our program.  We look forward to continuing our conversations and review of our practices that could lead to an even stronger program.

We wish you a playful summer.  If you’re moving on from SYC we hope you will come back to visit and keep in touch.  Stay tuned for information on the  50th anniversary celebration!


…Susan Roscigno and Amy Rudawsky, SYC Co-Directors


Carpenter or Gardener?

Posted on March 16, 2018 in category Director's Blog

Carpenter or Gardener?

As a part of our continuing growth as a staff, we recently dove into a book study on The Carpenter and The Gardener by Alison Gopnik.  The book explores the different ways parents can raise kids by looking at modern styles of parenting.

This analogy of the Carpenter is the idea that you start with a specific kind of material or model in mind and your job is to shape the material into a final product.  You measure twice and cut once.  You use precision and control to shape your product.  You select the best tools and equipment to ensure that your final product is exactly as you expected.  You assess the job by looking at the final product and your vision to create a “chair” creates a chair.  Your product of course is your child.  A carpenter may think “Here’s how I want my child to come out.  If I do the right things and read the right books then my child will turn out that way.”  This high pressure method can lead to parents and children feeling anxious when their expectations aren’t met.

The analogy of the Gardener is to create a protected space to nurture your plants to flourish. You may draw out plans and carefully select where your garden will be planted.  You build a protective fence around it and carefully consider what seeds to plant, which soil is best.  You consult with other gardeners.  But you know the elements of nature can thwart your plans and can cause things to grow differently than expected.  You appreciate the value and beauty in the way each plant grows.  Though gardening can be messy, risky and challenging it can also provide the greatest joy when an unexpected plant shows up in just the right place.  You don’t place value on your abilities as a gardener by the way the garden turns out.  You expect that with the foundation you have laid the plants will thrive with strengths/beauties and adapt to weaknesses/difficulties making your plants perhaps more resilient.

As parents, you prepare your children to prepare for these elements.  You do more than meet the basic needs of your children.  You share your knowledge and feedback from your experiences out in the elements.  You model setting boundaries, empathy, compassion and kindness.  You’re open to the probability that your children will not turn out exactly as you expect them too.  You continue to love and nurture them while they grow and develop into who they are going to be.

As a parent myself, I think that many of us strive to follow our kids lead while creating a protected space to nurture them, just as a Gardener.  But, I also think there is a Carpenter in all of us.  Our own childhoods have shaped us in what we want to provide or avoid for our own children’s experiences.  We may make intentional decisions with an outcome in mind because of an experience we had.

I think we can find balance between these two methods. To have some very general and realistic expectations while being laid back and flexible to accept and create a new plan.  To have the best intentions about what we feel is best for our children and the ability to put aside our expectations and accept who are children really are.

If you’re interested in learning more about the book here is a recent NPR interview with the Author Alison Gopnik https://www.npr.org/2017/12/11/569907638/the-carpenter-vs-the-gardener-two-models-of-modern-parenting

– Amy Rudawsky, Co-Director


2018-19 School Year Lottery Results

Posted on February 18, 2018 in category SYC Announce

Below you will find the lottery results for the 2018-19 school year. Children were enrolled using priority levels and a computer-generated random lottery number to determine enrollment order. Please keep in mind that these results are preliminary. Although each year is different, we usually have a good deal of waitlist movement between February and the beginning of the school year in September. We are continuing to accept applications for the 2018-19 school year.  Enrollment materials can be found on our Enrollment page.

2018-19 School Year

Updated 2/18/2018

Class Spots Available # on waitlist
MW am 2’s 0 15
TTh am 2’s 0 15
January Fri 2’s 0 14
MWF am 3’s 0 25
TTh am 3’s 0 15
TWTh pm 3/4’s 0 16
MWF am 4’s 0 30
TTh am 4’s 0 13
TWThF pm 4/5’s 0 14