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.

Ann Rigney’s Ohio Teacher of the Year Acceptance Speech 4-26-2013

Posted on May 02, 2013 in category SYC Announce

Thank you to everyone involved.  I am most grateful.  I was completely surprised by the announcement that I was the winner because I didn’t even know that I had been nominated.

When a teacher from our preschool won this award a few years ago, she wet her pants.  I didn’t wet my pants, but I did have to sit down suddenly.  They called me out of the classroom to receive a special phone call.  I couldn’t even understand what I was told on the phone because I was so distracted by the sight of my husband, fellow teachers, retired teachers and director surrounding me with balloons and cameras.

I’m extremely honored to receive this award.  I am representing the many creative and wonderful preschool teachers, past and present, at the School for Young Children and also the many excellent teachers statewide who work with young children.  But this award is especially meaningful because it honors a school I’ve devoted my life to — the School for Young Children and its play-based philosophy.

At the School for Young Children, we know that kids need time and space for free play without teachers telling them what to do.  That wrestling matches in the classroom are OK.  That boys can wear princess dresses.  That kids can paint their arms and feet purple.  This type of play helps kids develop socially and emotionally.  That’s the core of our preschool program, and it has remained strong for the past 43 years, despite many national swings of the pendulum.

The School for Young Children was started in 1969 by two forward-thinking women.  It has made a profound difference in my life.  When I first encountered the preschool I was a struggling new parent.  I felt uncomfortable with my children’s feelings, unless they were happy.  I soaked up knowledge from mentors at the School for Young Children, became a teacher, and stayed.  Forty years later, I am still learning.

I feel so lucky to have found this very supportive and loving community of teachers and parents.  Both my son and daughter attended the preschool and they are here tonight.  Both my children are writers, and my daughter felt so strongly about the School for Young Children that she wrote the book It’s OK Not to Share, which summarizes its philosophy.

There are a lot of expectations that pressure young children these days.  When in doubt, trust your own instincts; trust your children’s play ideas, and Let Kids Play!  Thank you.

Ann Rigney

Ohio Teacher of the Year


A Letter from an SYC Visitor

Posted on April 25, 2013 in category SYC Announce


SYC recently received this letter from an early childhood professional from San Francisco.  We thought we would share her wonderful words.


Dear SYC Staff,

Thank you so much for allowing me to visit your center earlier this month.  After reading It’s Ok NOT to Share, I found out the SYC was in Columbus, I knew I had to visit, as I’m from Dayton and was heading back to Ohio shortly.  So, lucky for me, about 2 weeks ago I got to visit your lovely school on a Friday afternoon for a few hours.  I was so impressed by the teaching staff and the environment they had set up for the children.  But what stuck me most about the SYC was over and above everything else was the high quality of teacher-child interactions.  In child care, we certainly can’t emphasize enough how important it is to speak with children in a respectful manner.  I shared all the photos I took and the information I gleamed from my visit with my staff last night at our monthly meeting and they were so interested to hear about it.  We’re considering reading the book for our professional development next school year.

Then when I found out on my visit that SYC staff had just met with Celia Genishi, who was my supervising professor in Grad School, I realized why I was attracted to the book and your school in the first place.  Like minds do eventually find each other!

Thank you so much for providing the environment that put this book out there in the public eye, we’ve recommended it to all our families at the Children’s Campus and I’ve let all my mommy friends know as well.  The children and families at your school are very lucky.

Keep up the good work,

Kelly Dotson


Kelly Dotson, MA

Children’s Campus Program Manager

San Francisco State University


Tuition Deposits and Signed Contracts are Due 4/15

Posted on April 11, 2013 in category SYC Announce

This is a reminder that tuition deposits and signed tuition contracts for SYC’s 2013-2014 school year are due on Monday, April 15.  If there are any questions about a contract or deposit, please contact us.  If we have not received a signed contract and deposit by next Monday, we will assume the family has decided to not have their child attend SYC next year and will offer the class space to a wait listed child.

Summer Playcamp for Preschoolers

Posted on April 03, 2013 in category SYC Announce

The SYC program runs from mid-September through the third week in May.  For those interested in signing their children up for a summer play program, we recommend First UU’s Church’s Summer Playcamp Program, which runs Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 9:30-12 noon, in four 2-week sessions, beginning June 3.

Children who will be age three by September 30, 2013, up through age 5 who have not yet attended Kindergarten are eligible to enroll in that program.  Children of members of First U.U. Church, as well as children who are currently enrolled at SYC, or enrolled next year or on waitlists are all given a one-week priority registration period beginning April 8, 2013, before other children will be enrolled into the program.  Children will be placed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 9:30 a.m. on April 8.

Registration Info and Form: Summer Playcamp 2013  We also have some printed forms available in the SYC office.

For children age 5 and older First UU Church will also be offering a Peace Camp.  We’ll post registration details when those are available.