Applications for the 2012-2013 school year at the Y's Little Owl Nursery School at the New Canaan YMCA will be accepted through Jan. 20.

The Y's Little Owl Nursery School offers programs for children ages 2 through 4 and is located at the Y facility. The daily curriculum includes large and small group activities along with guided free-play. Large group activities, such as gym games and outdoor play, are planned daily so children can develop muscle skills, learn about outdoor environments and express themselves loudly and freely.

The Y's four core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility are reinforced regularly throughout each day's activities. This includes building each child's awareness of themselves and those around them -- focusing on respecting differences, being responsible for their actions, being honest and caring for one another. Children also work in small groups with the teacher on daily projects and a variety of learning areas. Areas may include blocks, books, dress-up, games and puzzles, housekeeping, music, etc. These activities provide the children with opportunities to develop important social skills, such as cooperating, helping, negotiating, and problem solving.

"Being held at our Y allows our children to experience activities beyond the scope of a traditional nursery school and participate in programs unique to the Y as a part of their nursery school curriculum," Sandy Hogan, Nursery School Director at the New Canaan YMCA, said. "Popular Y programs such as Bouncing Bears preschool gymnastics, More Than Just Music and swim lessons supplement our classroom activities, enriching the children's nursery school experience and giving them the opportunity to grow and develop even more."

The New Canaan YMCA also offers an array of youth and family programs, giving the children not only the opportunity to interact with their peers, but also with members of their family and members of the community in a wide variety of programs offerings.

Y's Little Owl Nursery School classes are available for children ages two through four. Two-year-olds may attend once a week (Fridays 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.) or twice a week (Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.). Three-year-olds may attend twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays 9 a.m. to noon) or three times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 9 a.m. to noon). The 4-year-old program meets five mornings or five afternoons a week (Mondays to Fridays 9 a.m. to noon or 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.). An extended "Lunch Bunch" program is also available for 3- and 4-year-olds. Financial assistance, made possible by the Y's annual support campaign, is available to those who qualify.

Registration applications for new participants are accepted through Jan. 20. Additional information is available online at www.newcanaanymca.org or by contacting Sandy Hogan at shogan@newcanaanymca.org or 203-966-4528, ext. 181.

Founded in 1954 by a group of community volunteers, the New Canaan YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enrich all people in spirit, mind and body. As an inclusive community service organization, the YMCA turns away no one for reasons of race, religion, or economic background and last year awarded more than $270,000 in membership and program scholarships. Serving the communities of New Canaan, Pound Ridge and South Salem, the YMCA also strives to partner with a variety of outside organizations to further its role as a community service provider.

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