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.


Posted on July 31, 2016 in category Director's Blog


Summer offers different opportunities for kids and families.  Swimming at the pool, trips to the zoo, visits to local parks, day camps, festivals and fairs.  It’s a great chance to make some wonderful family memories.  But, it can also feel exhausting trying to be the cruise director of your summer “break.” Building in unstructured time and time to be bored into your summer plans is also important.

Having the unstructured time kids will usually find something interesting to do with it.  Play is children’s work and they thrive with self-directed play.

They need time to:

  • move their bodies, to jump, climb
  • play out their emotions and experiences in creative ways
  • decompress and reflect from a day full of activities
  • tinker and discover new interests
  • catch fireflies
  • swing on swings and climb up the slide 😉
  • build mud pies
  • stare and wonder
  • run barefoot in the grass

This time allows them to develop and enhance their imagination and to become more creative.  When they have the chance to wonder what to do they may discover a new passion or master a task, gaining confidence in new and old skills.

So allow yourself to resign from pre-planning all the activities and let some of the summer just be.  Memories will still be made and probably more messes.  But nothing a garden hose can’t wash off.

It’s hard to believe that a new year of SYC will upon us in about 6 more weeks.  In this newsletter we have provided a listing of this year’s classes and teachers.  We haven’t yet staffed our Friday 2’s class.  We’ll let you know as soon as we have those two positions filled.

Be sure to watch your e-mail for lots of information that will be arriving as we begin another year of playing.

Enjoy the rest of this HOT summer!

…Amy Rudawsky, Co-Director



Posted on May 20, 2016 in category From the Office

Julie Ballinger

Julie Ballinger


Denise Jacobs

This year we also say goodbye to two teachers who will be taking a break from SYC.  Julie Ballinger, who has taught at SYC for 12 years, will be taking classes at OSU full-time next year as she pursues her degree in occupational therapy.  Denise Jacobs, who has been a teacher with us for 13 years, will be taking a hiatus to care for herself.  Both Julie and Denise may come back to SYC in the near or distant future, as helpers, subs or classrooms teachers. Until then, we know that SYC will always be with them, in their hearts, as they will be with us.


Stephanie’s Legacy

Posted on May 19, 2016 in category Director's Blog

Stephanie's Legacy

Stephanie Rottmayer knows how to make every person at SYC feel special – because to Stephanie, every person at SYC is special.

The child hiding behind his mom’s legs as he enters to building knows he’s special because Stephanie waits until he’s ready – and it may take all year – until she acknowledges him.

The mom who is worried about leaving her crying child knows she’s special because Stephanie offers her a hug and a listening ear, and some reassurance that the teachers will take good care of her child.

The dad who is unsure about how to handle a playground conflict knows he’s special because Stephanie listens carefully to his worries, helps him define the problem, and encourages him to increase communication with the other parents even though it’s hard.

The teacher who wants to try something new, or who isn’t sure how to help a struggling child knows they’re special because Stephanie takes the time first to listen as they talk through their thoughts and then to share the wisdom of her experience.

The child screaming in the hall knows she’s special because Stephanie sits quietly by her side totally comfortable with the child’s big feelings and never rushing her through them, but ready with a hug or a note or a listening ear if/when the child is ready.

The  teacher who knows she’s special because Stephanie was so nurturing and encouraging when she was a thinking about becoming a teacher even though wasn’t sure she could do it. Stephanie was her rock all through her years at SYC as a parent and teacher.

The parent who knows she’s special because Stephanie helped her when her son fell apart in the entryway and face planted himself in the carpet screaming and refusing to move. Stephanie sat on the bench to be close to her son, and told him she was there for him and he was safe and that the parent she could go take care of herself. Such beautiful compassion for both of them, and remembered in difficult moments always.

The parent who knows she is special because Stephanie was always waiting on the bench when she came in. She always welcomed us every day – loved that.

For 40 years, the children, parents and staff at SYC have been blessed by knowing that they are special because Stephanie believes that they are.  Every person who walks through the SYC doors and sees Stephanie sitting on the bench knows that she is truly glad to see them and that they are welcome here.

That specialness stays with us in our lives outside of and after SYC, and is one of the many legacies Stephanie leaves behind as she retires from SYC.

We will miss her and will welcome her (hopefully!) frequent visits as we carry on, making sure that everyone who comes into our school knows just how special they are.

…Susan Roscigno & Amy Rudawsky

Coming Home to Play

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

Coming Home to Play

You know what that’s like: when you’re used to being the odd person out, the one who just doesn’t fit, and then you get together with a group of people with whom you have something in common and it feels like home.

Many of the SYC teachers had this feeling last weekend when we went to the first annual Play EmPowers Rally in Maryland.  At other professional conferences, we often feel like we are the only ones who believe in the power of play, who respect children for who they are right now, who know that children learn best when they are loved and listened to.  But at the PEP Rally, we met other like-minded early childhood professionals from around the country and around the world.  We shared stories about the incredible learning that can only happen when children take risks, about how children must move and do in order to learn, and about how to spread that message out into the wider world.  We’ve come back from this incredible weekend inspired and invigorated!  We’ve found our people and have been reminded that we are part of a movement to return play to its place of importance in early childhood education.  Join us!

…Susan Roscigno, SYC Co-Director

Teacher Tom and SYC

Teacher Tom with SYC Teachers at the Pep Rally