ABCs of YMCA School Programs

Starting kindergarten is a big step for you and your child. At the Y, we want to make sure you start on the right foot.

YMCA of the Triangle Vice President of Youth Development Kim Keith offers this advice, “Take a deep breath. Relax. You can do it.”

And, Kim's talking to parents, not kids!

“The way to get children ready for kindergarten is to get parents ready for kindergarten,” says Kim.

We know that the start of a new school year can be stressful no matter your child's age. In the coming weeks, you’ll be gathering paperwork, making big decisions and learning a new language. The YMCA offers programs that work with your school calendar, whether you live in Chatham, Durham, Johnston, Lee, Orange or Wake County.

Here’s the YMCA guide for school programs.

After School

The YMCA's After School Program Curriculum offers a variety of age-appropriate activities that balance opportunities for active play, learning and making friends. Our curriculum focuses on these six areas:

  • Homework Time (Excel Program)
  • Sports and Active Games
  • Arts and Humanities
  • Engaging Theme Days
  • Family Events
  • Community Service
  • Character Development

YMCA After School starts at school dismissal and ends at 6 p.m. Early release days are included at no additional cost.


We care about your child, safety is our top priority. Our staff are experienced, responsible, nurturing and fun. You can count on us to provide:

  • Programs led by a sernior staff member who is on site, under the supervision of a full-time YMCA professional.
  • YMCA youth staff selected through an intense interview process that includes a background and reference check.
  • Counselors receive over 30 hours of YMCA training that includes child abuse prevention, basic First Aid and CPR.
  • A 1:12 staff to child ratio that ensures two staff members are always present.
  • assistance for families of children with special needs.

Our caring counselors do everything from jumping rope to singing songs to playing freeze tag on the playground. They also lend a helping hand with homework or quiet time. Our YMCA staff members receive 30 hours of training.

Early Arrivals

This is the YMCA’s before school care. We start at 7 a.m. Children are dismissed to their classroom at the first bell. Currently the YMCA only operates Before School programs in Wake County. 


The YMCA offers full-day programs on many teacher workdays and school holidays in Chatham, Durham, Lee and Orange counties. Kids in grades K - 8 come to the YMCA for a full day of playing games, swimming, arts & crafts, sports and other activities that keep them engaged and active.


Tracking Out and Intersession are YMCA child care programs for children on a year-round or modified school calendar schedule. The YMCA offers Tracking Out and Intersession in Wake, Durham and Lee counties. During school breaks throughout the year, kids come to the YMCA for a full day of active programs including swimming, field trips, sports and games.

SChool Transition

If the YMCA after school program is at your child’s school, a Y counselor will walk with your child from his or her classroom to the YMCA program area, typically in the school's multipurpose room or cafeteria.


The Y program is just a short bus ride away. Our staff work closely with teachers and school administrators to ensure that all children who are registered for YMCA After School are escorted to the Y bus at dismissal. Counselors are always present and take attendance. Bus drivers are licensed and all Y buses are properly maintained and inspected. 


With all these great programs, it's no wonder the YMCA of the Triangle leads the area in providing safe, affordable programs for school-age children to keep them active, engaged and learning.

Find the YMCA that may serve your elementary or middle school.