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There’s No Other Place We’d Rather Bring Our Children: Q&A with a YWCA Family

By YWCA Minneapolis
January 18, 2022
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In this Q&A, some of our wonderful Early Childhood Education parents, Angela and Jermaine Smith, tell us about the experience their family has had with our Early Childhood Education program and why they love being a part of our YWCA community.

Tell us about your children. How old are they and what are their interests?

We have three-year-old twins named AJ and Jax, who attend the preschool program at YWCA Ecolab. Our son Jax is a very friendly, busy and curious guy who enjoys dancing, drawing, giving hugs and being active. Our daughter AJ is full of spunk and personality. She enjoys music, makeup, learning about new things and all things Peppa Pig.

What first drew you to YWCA’s program?

We are both educators and former YWCA child care teachers. In fact, YWCA is where we met! We knew after having our twins that there was no other place, we would want our kids to be than YWCA. We know firsthand that YWCA childcare teachers and staff recognize and strive to meet the diverse needs, abilities, interests, and cultures of their children and families. We wanted our family to belong to a place that felt like a community and where each of our children would be valued and respected.

What has your experience been like?

We have had a very positive experience having our children in YWCA’s child care program. Being teachers ourselves, it can sometimes be a tough challenge dropping off your children to child care while going to work with other children during the day. The immediate love and attention our children receive in the morning when they are greeted by teachers and staff makes this easier on us. It helps make our day better knowing that our children are loved and are in good hands. Our children are constantly talking about their teachers at home and how much they love them. They often ask to go to school on the weekends as well!

Has the pandemic interrupted child care or family life for you?

During the pandemic, AJ and Jax’s former childcare (YWCA at Hubbs Center) had to close temporarily. We were fortunate to be able to relocate them to YWCA Ecolab but we were very heartbroken about them having to start over at another center since we loved all the Hubbs staff and teachers and our children had such a positive experience being there. We are very hands-on parents who love visiting, spending time in the classroom and chatting with our kids teachers, so the new COVID measures were different than we were used to. Dropping off at the door and not being able to be in the classroom and have much contact or attend family events is taking a little getting used, to but we totally understand and appreciate all the measures to keep our children safe and healthy. The teachers and staff do a wonderful job communicating with us about things going on in their classroom and what they are learning. The staff also do a great job enforcing health and safety measures.

How have you seen your children grow over the years since first enrolling with YWCA?

One of the biggest things we have noticed in our children over the years is their strong use of positive affirmations when at home. We often hear and listen in on our children when they are playing by themselves or with one another. We regularly hear them modeling their teachers through their play with their use of positive self-talk. While playing with her toys we hear AJ speaking to herself, “Wow AJ, I love your pretty hair. What colors do you have today?” We also catch Jax in the window each morning before school singing “What’s the weather guys? It’s sunny today, great job — so smart!”

As parents we love hearing and seeing our children learn and create positive emotions within themselves. The positive relationships that our children have with their caregivers show even when they aren’t at school. It is very empowering as parents that our children are creating positive thoughts and feelings of self-worth at such a young age. Also our children’s language and communication skills have grown and improved so much with them attending child care. With them being in a social setting around other children, they have gained a sense of independence and identity which can be very hard especially being a twin. We have enjoyed seeing them grow into their own individual selves. They also have a better appreciation for one another and get along better at home which is a plus for us!