YMCA of Southern Maine

For a Better Us.™

Early Learning Readiness

Learn Together

The YMCA’s Early Learning Readiness (ELR) program provides a stimulating, preschool-like experience for children ages 0-5 and their caregivers. The program’s learning centers foster children’s development and school readiness, while developing their caregivers’ skills and confidence.

This program is FREE and open to the community. 

Participants who attend regularly will receive a free family membership throughout the length of the program!

  • Language Development
  • Creative Experience & Dramatic Play
  • Science & Discovery
  • Early Math & Literacy
  • Music & Movement
  • Healthy Habits
  • Gross & Fine Motor Skills
  • Global Learning & Sensory Play

A nationwide study found that ELR programs:

  • Increased proficiency in school readiness indicators in children by 68%
  • Helped 83% of parents and caregivers prepare their child for school success
  • PORTLAND, 70 Forest Ave:  Tuesdays OR Thursdays
  • NEW GLOUCESTER, 25 Campus Drive (Pineland):  Wednesdays
  • FREEPORT, 26 Village View Lane: Mondays

All classes meet once per week from 9:30-11:30am.

The next session begins the week of September 10th.

Registration is required. To register or for questions contact Trisha Mullins at tmullins@ymcaofsouthernmaine.org or 207-865-9600 x213.


When Elin started school this fall, she was prepared. Fortunately, Elin’s mother, Hilda, had help along the way. When Hilda’s sister told her about the importance of preschool education on a child’s future, she knew that she needed to give her daughter that opportunity. At just the right time, Youth Development Coordinator, Jenna Welch, told Hilda about the new Early Learning Readiness program being offered at the Pineland Branch and she decided to give it a try.

Hilda stopped working in 2013 when she and her husband adopted Elin from China in order to devote her time to her daughter. But as Hilda explained, “at home, even if you’re spending time with a child, it’s here and there. Early Learning Readiness allows you to spend two hours with your child… This gave her a change, for her to interact with other children and for me to meet other parents.”

ELR also gave Hilda tools to support Elin’s development on her own throughout the week. “You get all kinds of ideas that you don’t do at home and then you use it at home.” The Y “feels kind of like a second family in a way… There’s a lot of support.”

“We learned. I think it gets the child ready. She’s so much fore ready to go to school tomorrow if it wasn’t for that class we took.” More prepared, Elin is now more likely to see that success build as she continues through school.