Operation Little Learners is an interactive education program for parents and their children to enhance child development. Parents learn to be the primary educator of their child with tools to enhance child development and early learning, as well as parent-child bonding.
Armed Services YMCA Hawaii offers two sessions to foster specific development needs for children up to age 3: Playmornings to focus on social and creative skill development; and Early Learning Readiness (ELR) to prepare children for preschool and encourage a culture and love of learning.
Operation Little Learners at Armed Services YMCA Hawaii is an educational program that acts as a much-needed platform to help support and build confidence in parents in their roles as their child’s first teacher. Our programs guide and provide tools to parents to enhance key areas of early childhood development and offer opportunities for parent-child bonding. Our classes also provide the setting for both parents and children to make new friendships and feel part of a community, which is critical in the lives of military families.
Additionally, parent-child bonding can predict a child’s ability to develop healthy relationships, handle conflicts, and have an overall higher quality of life well into adulthood. Our classes provide a variety of activities that enhance cognitive, emotional, social, motor, and other skills of children up to age 3.
Frequent moves due to military orders are unique stressors of military family life. These moves can come without warning and without control over future location. The move can often cause economic hardships and feelings of isolation. Coupled with potential short-term deployments by the service member, military life can result in the military family feeling untethered without the support of their own family or an established local network to rely upon. Many junior-enlisted active-duty spouses are young, new parents, away from the familiarity of their home community.
Our classes provide the setting for both parents and children to make new friendships and feel part of a new community. From a physiological and sociological perspective, we know a parent’s bonding with their little one can predict the child’s ability to develop healthy relationships, handle conflicts, and have an overall higher quality of life well into adulthood. As such, the Armed Services YMCA has created Operation Little Learners, which fosters a connection to a community of support, as well as fun and engaging activities to ensure that parents and their child/children learn ways to grow together as a family.
Operation Little Learners results in parents and children that are stronger and more resilient, who not only develop and grow due to the organized curriculum but also connect to a support network filled with other moms and dads experiencing the same military life challenges. With a focus on phonics, writing, art, music, nutrition, and fitness, each participant leaves the program having established a foundation for future social and academic success.
Playmorning is offered at our JBPHH and MCBH Branches as follows:
Class Description: Playmorning provides an opportunity for families with small children to play and socialize through crafts, free play, storytelling, and singing. Playmorning promotes social skills, creativity, literacy, and fine & large motor skills for children 0 to 3 years old while providing an opportunity for parents to connect with each other, develop friendships and create community. Playmorning is especially helpful for families new to the island and hoping to meet other families with small children.
How do I enroll? Families may attend one complimentary Playmorning class to see if it is a good fit before enrolling. Registration packets are available for families at the JBPHH and MCBH Branch offices. DOD also requires us to request a child’s immunization record and flu shot prior to enrollment.
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Early Learning Readiness is offered at our JBPHH and WAAF Branches as follows:
Class Description: ELR opens with circle time led by an ELR Facilitator, followed by a self-directed exploration of 10 to 13 Play-to-Learn Stations. These stations provide children with high-quality physical, emotional, and cognitive experiences and arranges the opportunity for children and caregivers to engage in interactive learning that promotes vocabulary, math, and listening skills. Each station has a cue card designed for the parent that explains the activity, what their child will be learning, and questions they can ask their child to deepen their understanding of the topic. ELR closes with story-time led by the facilitator.
How do I enroll? Families may attend a complimentary ELR class to see if it is a good fit before enrolling. Registration packets are available for families at the JBPHH and WAAF Branch offices. DOD also requires us to request a child’s immunization record and flu shot prior to enrollment.
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