Heritage Park YMCA selected for free pre-K programming

Heritage Park YMCA selected for free pre-K programming

PAWTUCKET - The Rhode Island Department of Education has announced that Ready to Learn Providence and Heritage Park YMCA Early Learning Center, part of the YMCA of Pawtucket family of branches, has been selected as an additional site for the 2013-2014 pre-kindergarten program. The initiative is designed to offer free, high-quality early-learning classes to children, regardless of their economic status.

Heritage Park YMCA, at 333 Roosevelt Ave., is the only site in Pawtucket to have been selected, according to a news release.

The Heritage Park YMCA specializes in the education and nurturing of children. As a BrightStars-rated facility, the Pawtucket Y offers children a safe environment to grow and develop a love of learning. BrightStars assesses childcare programs throughout Rhode Island across many quality standards and criteria to promote the physical, emotional, and intellectual development of young children.

The additional pre-K classroom will continue the partnership with Ready to Learn Providence, which has been working with Heritage Park YMCA for several years on literacy-based programming.

"We are so pleased to be offering a free pre-kindergarten class to the children of Pawtucket," said Erin Combs, childcare director and education coordinator for Heritage Park YMCA. "Early childhood education is vital to the positive development of our young people, and our partnership with Ready to Learn helps to ensure that our students receive the best education possible, regardless of income."

To be eligible for the free pre-K program, children must be 4 years of age by Sept. 1 and must be a resident of Pawtucket. The Department of Education will select children by lottery. Applications are available at www.ride.ri.gov or at the Heritage Park YMCA, 333 Roosevelt Ave.

Esselton McNulty, general director of the YMCA of Pawtucket, is encouraging parents to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the program.

"The curriculum we have developed at Heritage Park, coupled with our expert staff, has truly helped children become excited in the classroom," he said. "We hope parents will enroll their children today to start them on the path to a bright future."

Heritage Park YMCA will offer before- and after-school childcare for an added cost. Additional branches of the YMCA of Pawtucket include MacColl YMCA in Lincoln, Westwood YMCA in Coventry, Pawtucket Family YMCA, and Woonsocket YMCA.

To learn more about the Heritage Park YMCA Early Learning Center, call Erin Combs at 401-727-7050 or email ecombs@ymcapawt.org.