Armed Service YMCA’s Operation Little Learners education program provides a much-needed platform to help support and build confidence in parents in their roles as their child's first teacher. The program guides and gives tools to parents on how to enhance the developmental areas of the child and offers an opportunity for early learning and bonding. The classes provide a variety of activities which enhance cognitive, emotional, social, motor and other skills of children generally reaching children ages 2-5 years old.
Forced frequent moves due to military orders is one of the unique stressors of military family life. These moves can come without warning and without control over future location. The move often causes economic hardships, and feelings of isolation. Coupled with a short-fused deployment by the active duty spouse and it can result in a spouse and children left behind without the support of their own family or any type of established local network to rely upon, which can lead to depression, poor financial decisions, and marital discord. Many of the spouses are young, often new parents, away from support groups of their home community.
This class provides the setting for both parents and children to make new friendships and feel part of a community, often missing from the lives of military families. Medically, we know a parent’s bonding with an infant can predict a child’s ability to develop healthy relationships, handle conflicts, and live an overall healthier life well into adulthood. As such, Armed Services YMCA has created Operation Little Learners, which provides a connection to a community of support and fun and engaging activities to ensure that parents and their child/children learn ways to grow together as a family.
The program 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, science, and math skills, each student graduates fully prepared for kindergarten having established a foundation for future social and academic success.
Click here to find your local Armed Service YMCA branch.