Early Childhood Education

Strong Beginnings, Bright Futures

As with any YMCA program, our preschool is grounded in the YMCA mission and program objectives. The YMCA mission is to put Christian Principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

Y programs, such as early education, are tools the YMCA uses to help children grow in spirit, mind and body. The Greater Naples YMCA has consistently served over 200 children annually, earning the distinction as our area’s largest early education center.

In 2016 Florida SouthWestern State College selected the Greater Naples YMCA as their provider of choice for the supervision and operation of  the world class Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF) Early Childhood Education Center. This award winning LEED-certified building design originally funded and opened by NCEF in 2008  boasts seven classrooms, a children’s art studio and a creative playground.  The seven age appropriate classrooms directly open to outdoor play areas that provides a learning environment centered on play and nature.


Second only to human relationships, a well-planned curriculum helps define a child's experience in our program. To ensure that the Gaynor Early Learning Center delivers high quality activities and interactions, we have embraced The Creative Curriculum for Preschool, developed by Teaching Strategies, Inc. The curriculum is consistent with the Y's philosophy, which is grounded in a child-centered and holistic approach to early childhood.

Children experience the core components of the preschool curriculum through dramatic play, art, discovery, library, music, computers, outdoor activities and in YMCA pools and gyms. The curriculum outlines the six core components and includes two additional components specific to the YMCA.

Literacy: In our program, you’ll see a print-rich environment with a well-stocked library of books and audio. You'll find staff reading to children, children leafing through books, and adults and children talking about what they are reading.

Mathematics: In our program, you'll find children using a variety of math-related toys, tools and games. You'll hear children counting, and observe them manipulating measurements and sorting and classifying collections.

Science: In our program, you'll see staff talking about the world around them, introducing scientific ideas to children, and responding to and expanding upon children's observations. Don't be surprised if you find nature activities happening in the preschool garden or in our forest preserve.

Social Studies: In our program, you'll find children trying on different roles in the dramatic play corner, and you'll find children and adults taking responsibility for their environment by recycling.

Art: In our program, you 'll find children and adults listening to, moving to and making music, art materials including paints, markers, crayons, clay, paper and glue and young children participating in puppet shows or performing skits or stories they've read.

Technology: In our program, you'll find children using a variety of tools, both for play and for real and you will see children as young as 3 or 4 using a computer.

Healthy Habits: From our Preschool Gardening Initiative to Sports Days, you will find children learning healthy eating and activity habits.

Social, Moral and Spiritual Development: You will find our staff demonstrating, teaching and celebrating our core values of honesty, respect and responsibility.


Greater Naples YMCA Lead VPK teacher Mollie Skidmore gives our parents and community an inside look at how we use GOLDplus-Creative Curriculum model with our students in early childhood education. This curriculum is standardized and built to dovetail perfectly with Collier County School District's kindergarten programs.

While it is fun, the Greater Naples YMCA is not kidding around when it comes to your kid's Early Education.Take a look at our segment on the Morning Blend as we discuss our Creative Curriculum.


Our professional, dedicated, and highly trained staff is our greatest asset. You will find that our teachers are truly dedicated and focused on providing a nurturing environment with outstanding curriculum activities.

INFANT & TODDLER CENTER: Ages 3 Months - 3 Years

Our Infant and Toddler Center cares for children as young as 3 months old up until the age 3.  Our staff of highly trained, certified care givers are trained in early learning and development to insure your child is both physically and mentally stimulated during the day.  As children progress from infants to toddlers, they will continually be challenged to meet developmental goals preparing them for Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) and Preschool.


Our Early Education program is the largest in Naples. Children enrolled in our program receive the highest standard of care and curriculum.  Our school-readiness rates are some of the best in state and we are proud of our teachers and staff for continuing to make the YMCA an excellent site for Early Education.


For more information on YMCA Early Education or to schedule a tour of one our facilities, please contact:


Marianne Gaffney
Early Education Site Director
Email Childcare

Monica Taccone
Early Education Site Director
Email Childcare