The Bangor Region YMCA Early Childhood Education program utilizes a nationally recognized program model and highly trained educators to provide critical educational and social interventions to children aged 18 months to 5 years old in a year round setting.
Lisa (name changed) joined our Early Childhood Education Program in 2016, when she was just two and a half years old. Although she has had significant emotional and developmental challenges in her early years, The Bangor Region YMCA has been an incredibly supportive environment and has become a second home for her each day when her parents are working.
Transitions are Lisa’s primary challenge, and even within the walls of an environment she has come to thrive in, transitions have consistently been tough. When Lisa first came to the YMCA she struggled to manage her emotions and interact with peers. She barely spoke upon arrival, and by the end of her first year she was speaking in full sentences and using her words to solve conflicts with peers.
At the beginning of each school year our little ones “graduate” to an older classroom, and Lisa displayed some emotional regression with this change. She often screamed or cried when she was frustrated or angry. Her new classroom teachers continued with the effective methods her previous teachers had put in place, and drew on those previous teachers for support. Soon Lisa found her groove again, and when it was time to move up into the Preschool classroom, her parents were very proud of her progress, and we all felt she was ready for this next step.
In September of 2018, Lisa began a half day, pre-k program at Vine Street School. She came to the Y in the morning, took the school bus to Vine Street for afternoon Pre-K, then returned to the Y for the remainder of the afternoon. The multiple transitions, new faces, and new expectations were even more difficult for Lisa than anticipated. Furthermore, difficult changes were happening at home along with a significant change in her family’s financial situation.
With these new stressors Lisa began to self-harm by biting herself and pulling her hair out. At a time when Lisa needed consistency more than ever before, her family became very fearful that they could no longer afford to send her to the Y. They approached our Program Manager with their financial concerns, worried that Lisa would have to leave the program. Her mother was encouraged to fill out our financial aid application. We did not want to give up on Lisa, and did not want money to be a barrier. Her family was awarded a 40% scholarship, which enabled Lisa to stay in our program.
Due to her self-harming behaviors Lisa was referred to the Child Development Services (CDS) of the Department of Education. Her evaluation took place in our classroom at the Y, and this assessment has been very valuable to her parents and teachers alike. With intentional implementation of necessary approaches, with patience and understanding, and with the consistency of her classmates and teachers at the Y, Lisa is thriving again! She has continued to grow cognitively, and has made leaps and bounds emotionally and socially.
17 Second Street — Bangor, ME 04401