Early Learning Readiness

Early Learning Readiness is FREE!

The YMCA’s Early Learning Readiness Program provides a stimulating environment for children ages 2–4 years 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 focuses on increasing the school readiness of young children in low-income families.

Families are given the opportunity to understand the important role they play in their child’s development and school success. Through this program, we are able to strengthen family and community bonds between the child and caregivers and between caregivers and facilitators.

El Programa de preparación para el aprendizaje temprano de la YMCA brinda un ambiente estimulante para que los niños de 2 a 4 años jueguen y aprendan mientras desarrollan las habilidades físicas, verbales y sociales que necesitarán para comenzar la escuela listos para tener éxito. Gracias a la financiación de subvenciones, el programa se centra en aumentar la preparación escolar de los niños pequeños de familias de bajos ingresos. 

Las familias tienen la oportunidad de comprender el importante papel que desempeñan en el desarrollo y el éxito escolar de sus hijos. A través de este programa, podemos fortalecer los lazos familiares y comunitarios entre el niño y los cuidadores y entre los cuidadores y los facilitadores. 

How to Register: Call (512) 522-0077 to enroll.

Enrollment is based on financial need and availability.

The program is geared toward families without access to other early learning opportunities, and is offered in English and Spanish.

  • Learn tips about ways to prepare your child for school Aprenda consejos de cómo ayudar a su niño a prepararse para la escuela  
  • Weekly coaching calls to learn tips about ways to prepare your child for school Llamadas semanales para aprender consejos de cómo ayudar a su niño a prepararse para la escuela  
  • Monthly contactless distribution of curriculum, activities, supplies resources and books Distribución de currículo, actividades, útiles recursos y libros cada mes sin contacto  
  • Connect with other families with young children Conéctese con otras familias con niños pequeños

Please call to see if you and your family qualify. 512-522-0077 Priority will be given to families with proven financial need. Must live in Travis County. Por favor llamar para ver si usted y su familia califica. 512-522-0077 La prioridad será dada a familias con necesidad de bajos recursos económicos. Requerido vivir en el condado de Travis. 

Program Sponsored By

City of Austin Logo


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What is Early Learning Readiness?

  • The Early Learning Readiness Program is a FREE  community program for qualifying low-income families that focuses on preparing children ages 2-4 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-focused 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. 


  • Delivered at four locations across Austin/Manor
  • Classes occur twice weekly for two hours
  • Program runs for a 15 week period 
  • Instruction in English or Spanish
  • Open to children ages 2 - 4 & their adult caregivers - parent, aunt or uncle, older brother or sister, grandparent, neighbor, or nanny
  • Families will receive Amazon Fire Tablets in order to participate in program. Tablets can be kept upon program graduation.
  • Register for Fall 2021 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

All locations Bilingual (English/Spanish)

Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

  • Guerrero-Thompson Elementary School
  • East Communities YMCA
  • Blake Manor Elementary
  • Houston Elementary School

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 & writing skills.
9:05 - 9:15 AM Circle Time Interactive songs & stories.
9:15 - 10:45 AM Centers & Outside Play Guided hands-on activity stations focusing on writing, music, science, technology, and more!
10:45-11:00 AM Goodbye & Sign Out Closing circle.


Program Director, Emily Ledesma, 512-522-0077

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 512.522.0077.

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
  • Two months of membership 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!”

Volunteer 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 512-522-0077.

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