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YMCA Grant Focuses on Educating Informal Child-Care Workers

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded the YMCA of the USA $1 million to expand a pilot program that offers free early-childhood education classes for the caregivers of children in informal settings.

The money will focus on the neighbors, friends, and relatives who babysit children in their homes while parents work. It will offer them content on child development and activities that can be replicated, a statement from the Chicago-based nonprofit states.

"Thanks to the Kellogg Foundation, we can help to transform the critically important developmental years for thousands of children who lack regular access to early-learning opportunities and prepare them for greater success in school and life," said Y-USA President and CEO Neil Nicoll.

Classes will be held at neighborhood locations including YMCAs, community centers, libraries, schools, and places of worship, the Y's statement said. Children will be invited to participate in the classes.

Informal child-care arrangements are the most common sources of child care for many low-income and immigrant families. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 33 percent of children ages 5 and under were likely to be cared for by a non-relative; 42 percent were cared for by a relative.

"Starting at birth, we must build the strongest pathways possible for educators, schools, communities and families," said Huilan Krenn, program officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which is based in Battle Creek, Mich. "Effective teachers, even those who are informal, impact children for a lifetime."

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