Early Learning Readiness

Prepare your child for Pre-K and continued learning. The YMCA’s Early Learning Readiness Program provides a stimulating environment for children ages 2-4 to play and learn while developing the physical, verbal, and social skills they’ll need to start school ready to succeed.

Thanks to grant funding, the program is offered free of charge to the public and focuses on increasing the school readiness of young children in low-income families. In an informal setting with multiple play stations, adults will learn more about how children develop and how they can encourage learning and skill-building at home. The program is geared toward families without access to other early learning opportunities, and is offered in English and Spanish.



Sponsored By

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About Early

Learning Readiness

What is Early Learning Readiness?

  • The Early Learning Readiness Program is a free grant-based community program for qualifying low-income families that focuses on preparing children 2-4 years old for school, while providing their caregivers with the tools to facilitate their child’s development and encourage learning at home. The program is designed to empower families with resources and support as they prepare children for school.   

Children learn through Play-to-Learn activities. As a caregiver, you will be given the opportunity to engage with your child to develop skills and become an integral part of your child’s learning and enjoyment! 

During class each child is screened to help identity early intervention opportunities. Outside of the classroom, families are invited on field trips to explore local family resources such as the library, YMCA branches, and YMCA Camp Moody. We provide monthly activity calendars listing events in the area. Upon graduation, you and your child will receive resources and gifts to continue your child’s development and education. 

COVID-19 Notice: The current plan is for in-person ELR classes in the fall at designated schools. Safety measures such as smaller groups, social distancing, hand washing and hand sanitizer, frequent cleaning of materials, and more will be in place. If in-person instruction is not possible, ELR will be offered virtually through a secure online platform. 


  • Classes occur twice weekly during a 15 week period at local elementary schools for 2 hours for caregivers and children.  
  • Instruction is given in both English and Spanish
  • Open to children ages 2 to 4 years old & their adult caregivers - parent, aunt or uncle, older brother or sister, grandparent, neighbor, or nanny
  • Four convenient locations throughout Austin (Blake Manor, East Communities YMCA, Guerrero-Thompson, Houston)

Register for Fall 2020 TODAYCall 512-322-9622 to speak to a Y Ambassador for more information!

Program Information Flyer (English & Spanish)

Parent Handbook (en Español)

  • To empower caregivers and parents of young children with the tools they need to help their children to achieve school readiness
  • To help caregivers understand the important role they play in their child’s development and school success
  • To provide children ages 2-4 years old from low income communities an enriching learning environment
  • Strengthen family and community bonds in class between the child and caregiver, between caregivers, and between caregivers and facilitators

Registration open NOW until the second week in August, or until classes are full. 

Call 512-322-9622 for more information on how to enroll!

North Austin

Guerrero-Thompson (Google Map Link)

Tue & Thur 9-11am

East Austin

East Communities YMCA (Google Map Link)

Tue & Thur 9-11am

South Austin

Houston Elementary (Google Map Link)

Mon & Wed 9-11am


Blake Manor Elementary (Google Map Link)

Mon & Wed 9-11am

2020 Program Dates:

  • Program start & Registration week: August  
  • Enrollment closes: Second week of August
  • Field Trip: information TBA
  • Early Learning Readiness Graduation: December

ELR runs for 15 weeks and meets twice a week for 2 hours (usually 9-11am). Classes are facilitated in English and Spanish with age-appropriate activities that focus on different areas of development for children in the 2-4 age group.

A Typical ELR Class Day looks like this:

9:00 - 9:05 AM Greeting and Sign In Practice Name recognition and writing skills.
9:05 - 9:15 AM Circle Time Interactive songs & stories.
9:15 - 10:30 AM Centers Guided hands-on activity stations focusing on writing, music, science, technology, and more!
10:35 - 10:50 AM Snack Time Clean up all together and wash hands before snack time. Healthy snack provided each session.
10:50 - 11:00 AM Goodbye & Sign Out Closing Circle

Frequently Asked Questions

New families are always welcome, but everyone has to sign up and qualify to participate. Invite friends and family to register by calling the YMCA of Austin at 512.322.9622.

Younger siblings are welcome to attend and participate in the class with your family. Caregivers are responsible for supervision of all family members.

Minds ready to learn! When you come to class each day we provide all of the supplies needed to play and learn together as well as a snack for each child.

Attendance is important to receiving the full benefits of class. However, we understand things can come up that can affect your ability to attend. Arrangement for makeup classes can be made with your teachers. If able, please inform your teachers when you are not able to attend class.

Yes, if this session is not convenient for your family, let us know and we can contact you for the following program.

In addition to the knowledge, skills, and support you’ll gain through the program, when you participate in ELR your family will also receive:

  • Weekly take home bags with activities
  • Community Resources, Calendars
  • Early Intervention Screening for Children
  • One month pass to the YMCA upon graduation

It is ideal for the same caregiver to attend each program since the information you learn in each class session builds on each other. But, if this is not possible, we welcome other caregivers to come and participate in class.

Adults and the kids will be participating in various activities, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and comfortable clothes. Avoid open-toed shoes if possible and remember that activities have the potential to get a little messy in class.

Testimonials from Families

Caregivers, who have experienced the ELR Program with their children, shared their feedback via anonymous surveys:

“I felt so alone in my teaching before I came here. The teachers helped me from the start understand other ways to teach and play.”

“My son has become more interested in learning numbers, and he is more confident around other kids.”

“I love that we do stuff that we would never have done at home, like making playdough, pinata, glue with pasta for example. I love that my daughter is in contact with other kids, it is a nice and smooth transition before going to school.”

“I loved the program. I liked the aspect of including the parents and the kids to learn together and how my kid learned to interact with other kids and adults for the first time.”

“The teachers were always prepared. They were very inviting and always welcoming and very helpful with everything. If we had questions, they were very patient and they got to know the kids’ personalities.”

“The teachers are amazing, and they were always prepared. For future classes, kids are going to like it. My daughter wanted to go every day.”

“My child is excited to go to school!”


with the Y

YMCA Early Learning Readiness is looking for volunteers both in the classroom and behind the scenes! Preference is given to volunteers who can commit to a semester of consistent volunteering and have or desire experience in the field of early childhood development and education. If interested in learning more, please call (512) 322-9622.

Community Partners

  • City of Austin
  • United Way
  • Austin Independent School District
  • Success by Six
  • Campfire
  • Literacy Coalition
  • Any Baby Can
  • Jeremiah Project
  • PBS
  • Austin Public Library
  • Austin Fire Department
  • Junior League of Austin