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.

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


Posted on March 21, 2016 in category SYC Announce

It's OK to go Up the Slide (1)

Stephanie is retiring

Posted on March 18, 2016 in category Director's Blog

Stephanie is retiring

Last May, I retired from being the director at the School for Young Children but I stayed on as a Program Consultant this year to support the new Co-Directors, Susan Roscigno and Amy Rudawsky.  It was an event filled year in the midst of construction but the school and new directors made it through brilliantly. So at the end of this May, I am retiring completely.

I have loved every minute at SYC since I enrolled my two young sons here. I volunteered in their classes and then began teaching here in 1976. During that time, I discovered that I loved working with young children, so I went back for my Masters in Child Development from Pacific Oaks College. I became the director in 2005 when Jan Waters retired.

It has been a joy and an honor to spend these last 40 years with the community of SYC—children, families, staff and the greater church community. I could not have chosen a better path to follow and will always be grateful that I had that opportunity. I’ll probably end up volunteering in next year’s classes, at least a little, along with other retired SYC teachers. We can’t seem to stay way.

…Stephanie Rottmayer, Soon-to-be Director Emerita


Assuming Positive Intent

Posted on February 18, 2016 in category Director's Blog

Assuming Positive Intent

Let’s all try to assume positive intent.

Several years ago we had an in-house staff workshop which focused on the theme: Assume Positive Intent.  It really resonated with the staff on a professional level and at least for me on a personal level as well. 

Just think a moment about that phrase and what it means.  Assume.  Positive.  Intent.  

Relationships are part of our everyday life.  We interact with people all day long.  Some interactions are positive ones and some leave us feeling not so good.  What if we use a positive lens to look through those negative interactions instead?  Then, we could respond with more compassion and acceptance.  

When I think about assuming positive intent with children, I think “what was their motivation behind that behavior?”  Ok…wait a second.  To be fair when I’m wearing my Mom hat my first thought is probably, “Seriously, did they really just do that? What were they thinking?” But then my child advocate hat which is permanently placed on my head, pokes through and says “Exactly!  What were they thinking?”   When I change my thinking to view the problem with my positive lens my response changes.  

As adults we have had more practice and life experience feeling and regulating our emotions.  Young children are just discovering and learning how to navigate in this big world.  Now add big emotions to the mix and you’ve got fireworks.  If we could just try and assume positive intent with children’s responses, we can give them the tools to manage those big emotions.  We can give them the skills to control their impulses while showing them compassion and not shaming them. 

There is no parenting manual. Although, It’s OK Not to Share is the closest in my opinion (shameless plug).  When I think about assuming positive intent in our community, I think it means cutting each other some slack and removing judgement from one another. Providing support for one another. One of the amazing things about our community is the wide range of people and ideas.  

Some of us are babywearers.  Some of us breastfeed.  Some bottle feed.  Some of us believe in attachment parenting.  Some a more traditional parenting approach.   Some of us have strong ideas about food preferences.  Some of us may believe in bed sharing.  Some people may think, “No way is my child sleeping in my bed”.  Some of us use cloth diapers. Some use disposable. 

AND THAT’s OK.  Even Todd Parr says that in his book It’s Ok to Be Different.  

I know being a parent is probably (ok, certainly)  the most difficult job we will ever have.  If we could all just try to assume positive intent when we encounter a parent or friend who choses to parent vastly different than we do our own.  It’s OK that we have different ideas and different methods.  It’s what makes our community great.  We are each parenting our children with positive intentions.  

…Amy Rudawsky, SYC Co-Director