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 December 11, 2018 in category Director's Blog


When I first discovered SYC, I really didn’t think of it being anything much more than a program to send my children.  I knew and trusted it was the best quality program for them and I never considered that it could also be a start of one of my communities.  As my son’s first year in the 3 year old classroom started, I found myself making connections with other parents in the room.  We would linger in the classroom until announcement time then maybe linger down the hallway to the parking lot while sharing the struggles and celebrations of our parenting.  Then, after school on nice days, we would gather on the bench with other parents and continue our conversations while watching our children play and get even messier than their day in the classroom.  Then, playdates evolved. To be honest, it was nice my child was having some one on one playtime with a friend, but also a nice break and to enjoy a cup of coffee and chat about all things kids or all things not kids.

Choosing to send your child to preschool is primarily to help your child develop socially among their peers.  However, I hadn’t expected to be building my own connections and peer group alongside my children.  SYC is such a unique program and I found as a parent it was refreshing to find a community of other like-minded parents.  I remember how relieved I felt after attending my first parent coffee and hearing other “real” stories of parents trying to wrestle (sometimes quite literally) with a similar parenting challenge.

Each new year and each new classroom was enhancing and expanding my community of parent peers.  I’ve continued friendships with some of these parents even though our kids have have moved on to their own expanded community of peers. Our once preschoolers are now high schoolers but I still reach out to these parents for advice and sometimes to gripe about its challenges.

Now, as a co-director, I delight in watching the SYC community open its arms to preschoolers and parents through small groups, sharing a meal together and by singing songs in a large group in an entire classroom. These classroom communities then grow to multiple classrooms with parents sharing experiences on the playground and during special events. Families build their own community amongst this and to continue these relationships far beyond the preschool years…it’s obvious to me that it’s the great community of people who have seen SYC continue to flourish through its 50 years.


…Amy Rudawsky, Co-Director

Happy Birthday, SYC…

Posted on October 22, 2018 in category Director's Blog

It was a magical night!  Over 300 people, 30 or so current or former teachers and staff, oodles of boxes, 50 lbs of cornstarch, and 50 years’ worth of play, all together to celebrate the 50th year of SYC.

What made it all real – the years of dedication, experience and love in this place – was gathering with this amazing group of people and remembering those who weren’t able to be with us.  SYC is our people – our teachers who often commit decades of their lives to the children and families at SYC, and those families who trust us again and again with their precious children.  Each of us who has taught or worked at SYC can attest to how SYC becomes a part of you, affecting how you deal with the joys and sorrows of life, how you relate to those you love and those you disagree with, and how you see your place in the world.  Many of us learn to accept our own difficult feelings in the same way that the children learn that it’s okay to be mad, sad, or frutrated.  We learn to increase communication in times of conflict rather than turning away.  We learn to let loose and play in a way that we might have forgotten since we were children ourselves.

SYC families, past and current, are also our people, the ones who come to us year after year, generation after generation, to give their children a place where they can play, learn to be together, and grow into who they are.  Parents and caregivers bring us their questions, their worries, their doubts and trust us to hold them closely, with love and compassion.  They know that we understand the challenges of being the parent you want to be, and that we, too, have made mistakes, struggled through, and learned.

We strive to live up to the expectations we have for our children, to be our best selves, knowing that we will make mistakes along the way.  As we tell the children, everyone makes mistakes,  Then we try again.

Here’s to making mistakes, getting into conflicts, having hard feeling, and playing.  For the next 50 years.


…Amy Rudawsky and Susan Roscigno, SYC Co-Directors



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