The YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit offers quality, tuition free preschool for eligible children who will be 4 years of age by December 1st. It is part of the Y’s mission to provide healthy development for children, enabling parents and family members to go to work knowing their children are in safe, stimulating environments. The YMCA and Great Start Readiness program brings together a unique combination of resources to ensure that children gain the skills and knowledge to successfully begin kindergarten. In Great Start Readiness Program Preschool at the Y, your child will be active and engaged with highly trained teachers who understand the importance of quality, guided play in every child’s development.

Our Cause-Driven Approach to Preschool

Providing quality, affordable care for your children is not just a business to us. It is our cause – a vital part of our commitment to the community. It is an approach that includes unique programs to make sure kids stay motivated intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically. We strive to deliver the program in a safe and nurturing YMCA environment. The Y is driven by community need, guided by community volunteers and open to all. Subject to available resources, no person is denied participation in a Y program solely due to financial inability to pay the fee. The YMCA is a United Way affiliated agency.

Our Preschool and GSRP programs:

  • Support and strengthen the family unit
  • Help children develop to their fullest potential through developmentally appropriate activities
  • Provide a positive YMCA environment of safety, support and care
  • Appreciate the diversity of families and staff within the program and the community at large
  • Grow children to become our future leaders and supporters
  • Help children develop new skills through self directed choices
  • Allow children to have fun

Our Philosophy

Our Early Childhood Center recognizes that play is children’s work, and that providing a rich environment where creative play promotes cognitive, emotional, physical and social development is critical to your child’s health. Our program is language rich, with emphasis on offering the children pre-reading and pre-writing experiences that will spark a lifelong love of language. Our staff develops character activities that reflect the YMCA emphasis on honesty, caring, responsibility and respect.

Programs and Activities

The activities and atmosphere of the program aim to meet the developmental, physical, emotional and social needs of the children. Our approach is designed to create a wide range of learning opportunities. Each Y Child Care Teacher develops lesson plans to meet the particular needs of the children in their classroom. The program includes all of the following:

  • Group Time: Children sit in a circle or group with the lead teacher. Calendar, weather and theme topics are discussed along with books and songs.
  • Work Time: Teacher directed activities that include language, science, math, big and small muscle movement, and arts and crafts.
  • Meals: The YMCA will provide your child with a healthy breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack through the Child and Adult Food Program. Milk and water offered with every meal.
  • Technology: Children enrolled in GSRP have directed lab time weekly using educational software designed to build preschoolers skills and terminology using the IBM Young Explorers program.
  • Outdoor Time: Outside play is critical to good health, and kids will spend time outdoors as long as temperature and weather permits.
  • Home Visits: Teachers visit the children and families in their home twice per year to offer support and resources.
  • Parent/Teacher Conferences: We have a private playground for toddlers, and a separate playground for the older children. Outside play is critical to good health, and kids will spend time outdoors as long as temperature and weather permits.
  • Parent Involvement: Parents are encouraged and welcomed to join in family literacy nights, parent advisory meetings, and classroom trips.


  • Must be age 4 on or before December 1, 2017.
  • Must attend an interview to determine possible risk factors to be considered for enrollment.
  • Family income is the main factor in determining eligibility.
  • Students will be admitted into the program pending funding.
  • Each child and/or family must have qualifying risk factors to be considered for enrollment.

Risk Factors for Eligibility

  • Low family income
  • Diagnosed disability
  • Identified developmental delay
  • Severe or challenging behavior
  • Primary language other than English
  • Parents with low educational attainment
  • Abuse/neglect of child or parent
  • Environmental risk factors
  • Parental loss
  • Sibling issues
  • Teen parents
  • Family is homeless or without stable housing
  • Reside in a high-risk neighborhood
  • Parents with low educational attainment
  • Abuse/neglect of child or parent
  • Prenatal or postnatal exposure to toxicants

Quality Staff

Every YMCA Child Care Classroom is led by at least one state licensed Child Care Teacher. All YMCA staff must complete a background check before working in the program. Our staff members are experienced and caring, trained in child care program, First Aid and CPR. Each potential YMCA employee receives risk management training before beginning any type of employment at the YMCA, and all staff is required to take 12 hours of child care training annually.
Student Teacher Ratio

Age Groups and Ratios

Our child care program is committed to ideal teacher-child ratios to ensure safety and quality learning opportunities. This allows for a great deal of focused attention on each child.
GSRP Class Ratio: 1 adult to 8 children

Our Partners

Additional Information

The Great Start Readiness Program is currently only available at the Boll Family YMCA

Contact Us for Information

The Y offers preschool at the following locations: