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.

2021-22 School Year Applications

Posted on January 11, 2021 in category SYC Announce

The application process for the 2021-22 school year will begin the first week of February. If you would like to get on our mailing list to receive the 2021-22 Registration Packet, please call Holly in the SYC office, 614-267-0254, or email her at syc@syccolumbus.org. Information about visitor tours will be out shortly.

Our SYC Values

Posted on December 02, 2020 in category SYC Announce

Our SYC Values

Have you ever sat down to identify your core values? Those things that you just wouldn’t be you with or without? The things that drive your  decisions? 

A few weeks ago the SYC teachers and staff took a look at our SYC values. From a long list, we considered which were non-negotiable, memorable and actionable starting with individual results and then compiling them: 

The top five: 

  • Relationships
  • Caring/kindness/respect/compassion
  • Collaboration/teamwork
  • Growth/risk
  • Child-centered

While not surprising, we were pleased to see how consistent these values were across the staff. We talked deeply about what each of these means, how they overlap, what it looks like and what it doesn’t look like.  

Valuing relationships 

Looks like:  

  • Focusing time and energy on relationships with children, parents, staff that build respect
  • Meeting kids and families where they are
  • Letting parents know their concerns are valid
  • Listening 

Does not look like: 

  • Avoiding each other 
  • Making judgments 

Valuing caring/kindness/respect/compassion

Looks like: 

  • Allowing children the right to take risks
  • Listening to children and supporting parents
  • Setting boundaries when needed (adults and  children) 
  • Supporting others to be their best 
  • Caring about the person as a person, seeing who they are 
  • Being with someone when they’re having hard feelings, not trying to fix or distract 

Does not look like: 

  • Disregarding children’s right to grow at their own pace 
  • Being disingenuously “nice” 

Valuing collaboration/teamwork 

Looks like: 

  • Being able to talk to each other when you have a conflict (adults and children) 
  • Bouncing ideas off each other 
  • Acknowledging that parents know their child, teachers know child development
  • Working together (parents, teachers, directors) to help children 
  • Taking chances, getting out of your comfort zone 
  • Being listened to, valued 
  • Should also remember that this is a work in progress 

Does not look like: 

  • When you can’t share your thoughts and ideas, can’t take risks 
  • One person is the “expert” 

We’re proud of the work we do every day to uphold these values, while acknowledging there’s always room for growth. We will keep these values in the forefront as we make both day-to-day and long-term decisions at SYC, and to challenge ourselves and each other if we seem to stray. And we invite your feedback if you feel we haven’t lived up to our ideals. 

If you’ve never done an activity like this as a family, it’s something to consider, at least with the adults and maybe older kids in your household. What are your family’s values – the ideas you hold close, that guide the  way you behave with each other, the decisions you make? If you’d like the list of values we started off  with, just let us know. We’re happy to share.

… Susan Roscigno, SYC Co-Director 

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