Playing to Learn Cover Photo

Playing to Learn

What is the YMCA Playing to Learn Curriculum?

The YMCA Playing to Learn Curriculum is a national program that is being implemented in all YMCA childcare centres across the country. Based on the most recent research in child brain development, this is a child directed curriculum which means that the activities that are planned by the staff are based on the individual and group interests of the children in each childcare room. The YMCA Playing to Learn Curriculum program believes that children learn best when a child’s day is less structured and there is opportunity for free play and exploration that is supported by qualified early childhood educators. YMCA Early Childhood Educators are very diligent to ensure that children have the opportunity to participate in many experiences and activities that foster the development of fine and gross motor skills, creative arts, literacy, science and pre writing skills. Daily outdoor play is an important part of our program as well.

Are your centres licensed and subsidized?

Yes. All of our centres are licensed, which means that we follow strict government regulations with respect to operations, staffing, programs and safety. All licensed facilities in Saskatchewan are subject to drop in inspections from the Early Learning and Childcare Consultant that is assigned to our region. Being licensed also means that we have access to additional government grant funding to further support children who may have diverse needs. Government subsidy for low income families can also be accessed if your child attends a licensed centre.

Do I qualify for childcare subsidy?

The toll free number for the Saskatchewan Childcare Subsidy is 1.800.667.7155. You may call and ask to speak to an assessor. The subsidy office will ask you for some information including how many dependent children you have, what the gross monthly family income is, and what the total childcare fees are. There are many variables that may affect whether or not you qualify, the best start is to call the subsidy office, or to complete and send in an application. Application forms are available online at or at a licensed childcare centre.

How old does my child have to be?

The YMCA provides community childcare to children 18 months to age 6 in our Downtown and Sutherland centres. A child can begin care the month that they turn 18 months, even if their birthday is at the end of the month. Our Martensville centre also provides community childcare for infants.

What qualifications do the staff have?

Staff members employed in a YMCA of Saskatoon Child Development Centre are trained in Early Childhood Education. Some have degrees, certificates or diplomas in Early Childhood Education, while others are in the process of completing classes with a certificate, diploma or degree as the goal. As well, all employees have completed a criminal record check, child abuse welfare check, First aid and CPR. Additionally, early childhood educators participate in national YMCA Playing to Learn training on an ongoing basis to ensure that our programs are following best practices.

What items do I need to send with my child?

Each child should bring an extra change of clothes, any special items they need in order to fall asleep at nap time (such as a blanket or stuffed animal) and clothing suitable for the weather, such as mittens, hats, boots and ski pants in the winter, and sunscreen, hat and insect repellant in the summer. Parents are asked to bring a good supply of diapers for children not yet potty trained, and for children who are potty training many extra sets of underwear and pants are required. All children require a clean pair of indoor shoes when the weather is snowy or inclement. Please clearly label all belongings with your child’s name.

What items should I leave at home?

The centre is well equipped with toys to keep your child entertained, please leave toys from home at home. Toys may be lost or broken, and centre staff members are not always able to spend time searching for misplaced toys. Toy guns and weapons are not permitted at the Centre.

Licensed Care

Licensed care means that the centre or home is licensed and monitored by the ministry of Education, Early Years Branch. The Department of Learning Child Day Care Branch currently regulates and monitors licensed childcare by means of a childcare consultant. In the Saskatoon area, the consultant can be reached by calling 306.933-6071. 

Licensed care homes centers must meet the standards of the Saskatchewan Government Child Care Act and Child Care Regulations (2014) before they receive a license. They are inspected at least once a year and have occasional unannounced drop-in visits to make sure that they are meeting the standards. These standards include the number of children for each staff, group size, minimum play space per child, nutrition, health, safety, and outdoor play. 

In addition to the above requirements, staff members employed in a child care centre are required to have current CPR and First Aid training, pass a criminal record check and have a minimum level of early childhood development training, obtained through college or university classes. 

All staff employed at the YMCA Child Development Centres are required to complete a child welfare check and are also required to compete a minimum of one early childhood development course every six (6) months. All of our centres have a parent handbook to inform parents of centre procedures, activities, policies, and parent responsibilities.



Licensed childcare centers are obliged to follow ratios with respect to the maximum number of children that can be with one staff member.

  • One staff:3 infants
  • One staff:5 toddlers
  • One staff:10 pre-school age
  • One staff:15 school age

Childcare Subsidy

 Licensed childcare may give you the opportunity, depending on your gross monthly income, to receive subsidy for your child's care. 

To find out if you may qualify for subsidy, call 1.800.667.7155

Be prepared to provide the assessor with your average gross family income, and the total childcare fees that you will be expected to pay to the childcare facility.