Playing to Learn Curriculum

Playing to Learn Curriculum


The YMCA Playing to Learn Curriculum is a national program that has been launched and is implemented across Canada. Playing to Learn was conceived in the YMCA of Greater Toronto and was piloted in the YMCA of Toronto’s Family Development Centre. YMCA of Toronto Playing to Learn Training team created core training sessions and published the YMCA Playing to Learn Curriculum Text book and launched across the innovative curriculum across the country.


This program is an interest based, emergent curriculum that follows the interests and the developmental levels of the children in our care. The educators engage in being a play partner with the children, waiting for a natural break in the play or an invitation to join in the play. Through this model the educator are able to give the children the freedom to explore through open ended play experiences, develop and work through their stresses and emotions and are given opportunities to build upon their knowledge in a natural and calming manor. These strategies give the educators the chance to model appropriate social interaction and ask open ended questions to extend the experience. Through meaningful play experiences the children and educators continue to build upon growing interests and developmental milestones.


Programming is an important part of the Curriculum. Educators observe the children engaging in natural and spontaneous plan, document emerging interests and plan accordingly. Working to make sure they are not only extending the interests, but also scaffolding new information and concepts. Taking the learning in a natural direction where children are actively participating in their own learning. The program plans are broken up to touch on each developmental area, making sure that we are consciously working on holistic learning. Learning can occur during art, sensory motor, dramatic play, block play or story/circle times. Having the program plans allows for the educator to ensure all areas are given equal attention and show the evidence of the learning that is taking part in their classrooms.


Educators are required to complete two documentations a week with the YMCA Playing to Learn program. The documentations are broken up into three sections. The first being the experience itself, capturing the moment, documenting the conversation and painting a picture of what the experience looked like. The second is the learning piece, identifying what the children learned from that particular experience. The third is supporting the learning with a quote from the YMCA Playing to Learn text book or any other published text book.


The educators complete a journal outlining the meals, naps and toileting routines of the day, as well as incorporating a play highlight. The play highlight will outline the important learning that happens while their children are playing. Parent communication is a crucial part the YMCA Playing to Learn curriculum. The parents have access to the program plans, documentations and journals each and every day. We encourage parents to take a moment and ask about the program plans, documentation and journals. The children and educators are always excited to share about the happenings of their busy classrooms.


The environment for the space is the backbone of the curriculum. A calm home like atmosphere where the emphasis is on the play centres and activities. The space is organized in a way that the flow of play can continue naturally, allowing the children the freedom to move about the space utilizing the centres, toys and props to enhance their play experiences. The environments are decorated in calming color schemes and are organized in a way that creates an environment that can be considered the “third” teacher in the room.


The YMCA of Regina believes in the philosophy of the YMCA Playing to Learn Curriculum and has committed to maintaining a high quality childcare program. The Educators are required to participate and complete the YMCA Playing to Learn Core Trainings. The YMCA Playing to Learn training team out of the YMCA of Toronto come out and audit each centre every year. These audits give us valuable feedback and encourage us to strive for excellence.


If you have any questions regarding our curriculum please don’t hesitate to ask anyone of our Childcare Centre Directors.