ECEC Provider in Focus - YMCA OSHC and Early Learning
The Sector > Practice > Long Day Care > ECEC Provider in Focus – YMCA OSHC and Early Learning

ECEC Provider in Focus – YMCA OSHC and Early Learning

by Freya Lucas

January 13, 2023

YMCA Australia (The Y) runs over 196 out of school hours care (OSHC) and vacation care programs with nearly 26,000 families registered across Australia. The provider also runs 53 early learning centres/Kindergartens with over 9,500 enrolled families.


What is the history of The Y? 


The Y was founded in 1844 during the Industrial Revolution in England, a time of great despair and poverty. George Williams, a drapery merchant, decided that something had to be done. He gathered together a few friends to form a society that met regularly to support each other and gain renewed strength in body, mind and spirit. The group called itself the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA).


The Y has a 175-year legacy of supporting young people through events such as the Spanish Flu, World War I, World War II, the Great Depression, the Global Financial Crisis and now the COVID-19 global pandemic.


From its inception, through to the early 1900s, the focus was on the welfare of young men, and related social concerns. In 1851, after first reaching America, the Y further spread its wings to Adelaide, Australia, on the back of the gold rush. 


From the mid 1930s to the early 1960s, the Y was forced by depression and world war to revert to the original foundations of social and community concern. The emphasis was on youth work, youth clubs, physical development, leadership training, education and welfare.


Y associations and centres can now be found all over the world. The Y is a community not-for-profit and the oldest youth organisation in the world, and services in Australia now include: children’s services (early learning, kindergarten and OSHC), recreation (swimming, gyms, gymnastics), camping, youth programs and disability services.


What is The Y’s vision and approach to learning?


In the OSHC space The Y “exists not merely to occupy kids out of school” but also to stimulate, inspire and involve young people so they arrive back home with the sort of zeal and enthusiasm every parent wants to see.


“We believe in the power of inspired young people and we know that if we can create the sort of programs that make out of school care more than just compromise, young people will be inspired. And from that their power emerges,” information published by the provider notes. 


The provider believes that all children enrolled in its OSHC program “should go home having had an experience that makes their parents smile.”


In the early learning space the provider aims to provide an early education experience” that ensures families make a choice they never regret,” by joining with families each day to ensure that every child thrives. 


“Ultimately, our success comes down to one simple thing; that the parents who trust us with their precious ones, love the way their children grow,” the provider said. 


Are there any unique aspects to what The Y offers?


The Y is influenced by a global mission based on Christian values to provide opportunities for all to grow in body, mind and spirit, driven by five core values, namely: 


  • We value the whole person, consisting of body, mind and spirit, each of which is of equal importance.
  • We value diversity of people, communities, and nations.
  • We value equality of opportunity and justice for all people.
  • We value healthy communities based on relationships between people which are characterised by love, understanding and mutual respect.
  • We value acceptance and personal responsibility


To learn more about The Y Australia, visit its website.

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