Learn­ing be­gins in Nana y Yo pro­gram

The YMCA’s free course for chil­dren get­ting ready for kinder­garten — and their care­givers — aims to ex­pand across Sil­i­con Val­ley

The Mercury News - - Front Page - By Emily DeRuy [email protected]­yare­anews­group.com

Marivic Hoayun, left, plays a learn­ing game with her daugh­ters Vic­to­ria, cen­ter, and Gwen­dolyn at the YMCA’s Nana y Yo pro­gram at Lake­wood El­e­men­tary School in Sun­ny­vale. The early learn­ing pro­gram is geared to­ward chil­dren and their care­givers.

Amaya Salazar stared straight ahead, in­tently fo­cused on the pic­ture book her teacher held aloft.

Cu­ri­ous Ge­orge, the in­quis­i­tive mon­key beloved for gen­er­a­tions by chil­dren the world over, was vis­it­ing a fire sta­tion and the al­most 3-year-old’s eyes were glued to the bright yel­low and red pages.

Sud­denly Amaya’s lit­tle voice pierced the air. She’d been to a fire sta­tion, she an­nounced proudly.

Without miss­ing a beat, the in­struc­tor, Sab­rina Mon­tijo, cap­i­tal­ized on the in­ter­jec­tion. Who works at a fire sta­tion, she asked the chil­dren be­fore her, and what do they do?

Sev­eral kids piped up, “Fire­fight­ers!”

The ex­change was brief, a blip on a re­cent morn­ing. But it’s ex­actly what the YMCA of Sil­i­con Val­ley wants to see. Aay­isha Gupta, 3, holds a ball on a jun­gle gym at the YMCA’s Nana y Yo pro­gram. The pro­gram pro­vides train­ing for care­givers with tools to en­hance early learn­ing.

PHO­TOS BY RANDY VAZQUEZ — STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

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