Early Learning & Childcare

About YWCA Childcare Programs

YWCA Halifax is proud to provide quality early learning and childcare through our three licensed centres, our many family home childcares, and our before and after school programs in (soon-to-be) two schools in Spryfield.   

Early learning and childcare are important for women’s equality and financial security, for children’s wellbeing and development, for the economic strength of our communities, and, when universally accessible, to building more equitable communities. 

As one of the first licensed childcare facilities in Nova Scotia, YWCA Halifax has a long history of providing quality inclusive early learning and childcare programs. Together, the 32 YWCAs across Canada are the second largest provider of early learning in the country. 

Our curriculum is based on Capable, Confident, and Curious: Nova Scotia’s Early Learning Curriculum Framework. The learning goals used by our Early Childhood Educators focus on the emergence of children’s skills, interests, and developmentally appropriate abilities as they pertain to the following objectives:  

  • Well-being 
  • Discovery and Invention 
  • Language and Communication 
  • Personal and Social Responsibility

YWCA Halifax operates all our early learning and childcare programs from principles of inclusion and family-centred care.  We work closely with parents and caregivers to ensure best outcomes for all children.  

Meet our Team 

The YWCA Halifax Early Learning and Childcare team includes a strong and experienced leadership group.  Our staff have years of training in early childhood education and are committed to the inclusion of diverse children and families with various needs.   

Kerri Johnson: YWCA Director of Early Learning and Child Care (HRM)

k.johnson@ywcahalifax.com or 902-444-3799 (direct line).

Kerri is a member of the YWCA Halifax management team and has held the position of YWCA Director of Early Learning and Child Care since 2012.

Kerri has been in the field of Early Childhood Education and Child Development for over 30+ years and instrumental in the opening of the YWCA Halifax Early Learning Centre (Spryfield) In 2012, Before and After School Programs (BAP /school based), as well as the Dartmouth Child Development Centre (DCDC) recent merge with YWCA Halifax, in January 2022.

Kerri is a member of the Nova Scotia Early Childhood Education Curriculum Framework Committee with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development , teaching faculty at Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), a recognized leader in the provincial childcare sector with active roles in child development, education, advocacy, ECE curriculum, parent/family support, ECE student support, the development of Nova Scotia’s Community College Africentric Curriculum for ECE students, as well as employment and settlement support for ECE newcomers to Canada.

Krista Maynard: Assistant Director, YWCA Early Learning and Child Care

Krista has been in the field of Early Childhood Education for over 25 years and has been in in leadership/supervisory roles with the YWCA Halifax since 2016.

Krista joined the YWCA Halifax as a toddler Early Childhood Educator teaching staff in 2013. She has experience working with all age groups, with a passion for inclusion diversity. During Krista’s employment with the YWCA, she has held the positions of, ECE teaching staff, Program/Inclusion Coordinator, Assistant Child Care Manager and is currently the YWCA Assistant Director of early Learning and Child Care since 2021.

Yuna Lee: Inclusion Coordinator , YWCA Early Learning and Child Care (Halifax/Spryfield)

Yuna has been an Early Childhood Educator (ECE) for more than eight years working with all age groups. Yuna has been employed with the YWCA Halifax since 2013 and currently serves as YWCA Halifax Inclusion Coordinator for our Halifax/Spryfield Early Learning Centre and Before and After School program(s) since January 2022. Yuna strives to support children, families and YWCA ECE teaching staff in ensuring the delivery of a positive inclusive environment and culturally reflective quality program and experience at the YWCA Early Learning Centre programs.

Erin Organ: Program and Inclusion Coordinator, YWCA Dartmouth Child Development Centre (DCDC)

Erin has been in the field of Early Childhood Education for over 12 years and has experience in working in all early learning age groups. Erin has over 3 years of experience as an Inclusion Coordinator and 3 years of leadership experience as the Acting Director for the Dartmouth Child Development Centre prior to joining the YWCA Halifax in January 2022, as the Program and Inclusion Coordinator at the YWCA DCDC Dartmouth location.

Centre Based Childcare

YWCA Early Learning Centre Spryfield is located at 358 Herring Cove Rd. This location opened in December 2012; and is licensed for 70 children. Our Spryfield location has 5 classrooms that are designed to meet the needs of all children ages 6 months to 5 years old.

Hours of Operation: 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. Mon-Fri.

YWCA Elmsdale Early Learning Centre is located at 658 NS-2 in Elmsdale. This location opened June 30, 2023, and is licensed for 29 children. Our Elmsdale location has 3 classrooms organized by toddler, preschool, school age groups, and accommodates children ages 18 months to 12 years old.

Hours of Operation: 6:30 am to 5:30 pm.
Phone number: 902-259-2844

YWCA Dartmouth Child Development Centre is located at 61 Boland Rd, in North End Dartmouth – This location opened in January 2022 and is licensed for 80 children. Our Dartmouth location has 7 classrooms to accommodate children ages 3 months to 5 years old.

Hours of Operation: 7:00 am to 5:30 pm.

YWCA’s Early Learning curriculum follows the NS Early Childhood Education Curriculum Framework ; Capable, Confident, and Curious: The learning goals used by our Early Childhood Educators focus on culturally responsive/reflective pedagogy which leads the direction for the emergence of children’s skills, interests, and developmentally appropriate activities as they pertain to the following objectives: Well-being, Discovery & Invention, Language & Communication, and Personal & Social Responsibility.

YWCA Early Learning Centre Philosophy

The philosophy of YWCA Early Learning Centre Programs is to provide quality early childhood education, our program is committed to providing a diverse, inclusive, developmentally appropriate, play based program through self-reflection and culturally responsive practice. We believe that interactions between the child and his/her environment fosters the children’s learning and future success.

By facilitating culturally responsive/reflective pedagogy, our educators provide opportunities for the children to build on their individual personal strengths and learn through experience throughout the day. The educators demonstrate developmentally appropriate practice, positive role modeling and effective communication and partnerships with families. The main role of the educator is to support and guide the children throughout the learning process.

Inclusion Statement

The YWCA Early Learning programs welcome and actively promote and support inclusive practice to meet the needs of the children, families and staff of the YWCA Early Learning Centre. We believe that all children have a right to quality childcare regardless of their ability, need, religion, gender, culture, or economic circumstances. Through inclusive practice, the YWCA will ensure that all families in the community have equal access to quality childcare which will enable their child to grow and develop to their fullest potential.

YWCA Early Learning Programs – MEALS AND SNACKS

Our YWCA Early Learning Centre Programs continue to encourage and promote a lifelong interest in healthy eating by introducing our “Around the World With Food” which is influenced by our many cultures encompassing our very diverse early learning programs. Our children receive plant-based sources of protein several times a week which is a recommendation by nutrition specialists.

Meals and snacks are planned and prepared on site by our very own YWCA Nutrition Specialist and childcare centre cook and served fresh each day.

The YWCA childcare programs are all inclusive, this is reflected in all our childcare programs in many ways, including our Menu, the children experience food from around the world. Some of the Favosites are Korean Bulgogi Brown Rice, Nigerian Chicken Jollof, Indian Chicken Tari Brown Rice, and Nova Scotia Fish Chowder.

Inquire About Childcare

For general inquiries, book a tour, enroll your child or be added to our waitlist for all program locations, please contact :

Krista Maynard, Assistant Director, YWCA Early Learning and Child Care:

k.maynard@ywcahalifax.com or 902-444-3799

Please Include in your email, the following information for enrollment OR to be added to our waitlist(s) :

  • Program : (Early Learning Centre(s)/ Before and After School Programs), i.e YWCA DCDC (Dartmouth), YWCA Early Learning Centre (Spryfield), Before and After School Programs (Rockingstone Heights Elementary or Central Spryfield Elementary)
  • Your name
  • Child’s name
  • Child’s DOB
  • Date of Need
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Location preferred (Halifax / Dartmouth)

Our YWCA Early Learning and Child Care Programs (all locations) are now Accredited Lab Schools/Centres

YWCA is the 2nd largest provider of childcare in Canada , our YWCA Early Learning Program(s) is a leader in child development, early learning and childcare.

YWCA Early Learning and Child Care programs – Lab School/Centre(s) is proud to support the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Early Childhood Education diploma programs in the region.

Attending a lab school is an enriching experience for children in many ways, including the fact that they get to know a range of students of different ages, interests, and backgrounds—making it a living laboratory for the children’s ongoing “research” in the world!

A Teaching Laboratory

As a teaching laboratory for the NSCC Early Childhood Education diploma program, our classrooms are observed regularly by NSCC students and faculty. Our YWCA Early Learning programs provide onsite practicum placements, supervised by qualified early childhood educators, for students enrolled in NSCC Early Childhood Education Diploma Programs.

The YWCA Early Learning and Child Care Lab School(s) are aligned with the Early Childhood Education diploma program offered at NSCC and provides practicum experiences for NSCC students under the guidance of ECE NSCC faculty.

Each of our YWCA Early Childhood Educators at each of our Early Learning Centres, mentors NSCC ECE diploma students while providing the children in our care with high-quality, culturally responsive/reflective, and developmentally appropriate, play-based learning experiences. Under the guidance of NSCC ECE faculty, YWCA Director of Childcare, and YWCA Early Childhood Educators, NSCC degree students implement current and best practices in program planning and activities for all children in YWCA Early Learning Centre programs .

  • Students may carry out observational or interview studies on various aspects of child development. These projects are developed with their course teachers, approved by the YWCA CC director and Program/Inclusion Coordinators, and presented to the children as part of their daily activities.
  • Student project activities might involve indoor/outdoor play; environment enhancements (indoor/outdoor) ; Inclusion support plan; or memory, perception, or language tasks. Student project/program activities are always interesting, engaging and developmentally and culturally appropriate for all children within the program.
  • · Student presence results in a high adult-to-child ratio, which assists the early childhood educators in providing an enriched physical and social environment for the children’s exploratory learning activities.

Family Home Childcare Program

The Family Home Childcare program is licensed by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development that approves, monitors and supports family home daycare all over the HRM.

This is a voluntary program offered to lessen isolation, provide knowledge and encourage professional development. Our mission is to help provide safe and quality childcare for children from infancy to school age in a private home setting at no cost to the provider.

The goals of the YWCA Family Home Childcare program are to:

  • Expand access to quality regulated care in a home environment, particularly in communities where subsidized care options do not exist for families.
  • Increase the quality and flexibility of early learning and care options available to families.
  • The agency works with providers to create an appropriate early learning curriculum that is child-centered, play based and reflects the cultural diversity of the children along with their interests.
  • Match families to providers that prefer home daycare over centre based and the opportunity to keep siblings together and the possibility of extended childcare.

The YWCA Family Home Childcare Program has funding for 40 registered homes with the opportunity to enroll seven children (which includes your own children under the age of 12 years).

The agency is committed to support providers who are either; starting up and need support with tables/chairs, cribs etc., or up and running homes that require additional resources and support.

To learn more about opening your own home childcare or to find a home childcare for your family contact the Family Home Childcare Manager


You can also learn more about the Family Home Childcare Development Project in the report below.

Prepared for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, the 2022-2023 report explores the unique value of the Family Home Childcare Program, who care providers are, how people can join the program, and ways the program can continue to evolve.

YWCA Before and After School Program

YWCA BAP is Located in Rockingstone Heights Elementary School (Spryfield)

1 Regan Dr, Halifax NS

**In September 2022 YWCA’s second BAP location, opens at Central Spryfield Elementary School.

364 Herring Cove Road, Halifax NS

BAP hours of operation : 7:30am to 9:00 am and 2:30 to 5:30 pm. Monday – Friday with the exception of school holidays, PD days, storm closures. The YWCA BAP will not operate when the school is closed for any reason. The YWCA BAP program offers a snack/meal during both morning and afternoon program hours each day.


When the Province of Nova Scotia introduced the universal pre-primary program for four-year-olds, it was recognized that there was a gap for families who needed care before and after the regular school hours. As a result, the province introduced the BAP in schools that did not already have options for this age group. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (EECD) and the Department of Communities, Cultures and Heritage (CCH) approached the YWCA Halifax Early Learning Program to implement BAP programs in the schools within the communities experiencing the most need.

The YWCA NS- BAP follows the mandatory program standards and guidelines to reflect the Nova Scotia’s Let’s Get Moving Action plan and guided by the following key guiding pillars:

  • 24-hour movement guidelines
  • Outdoor Play
  • Physical Literacy
  • Inclusive and culturally responsive practices

Let’s Get Moving Nova Scotia is the provincial government’s action plan to increase physical activity in Nova Scotia. This action plan strives to make daily movement a cultural norm in spaces and places where we live, work, learn and play.

To align with the intent of this action plan, the YWCA before and after programming will encourage energetic play in both indoor and outdoor environments. In addition, sedentary time will be limited, and screen time will not be offered.

For more information please see our Q&A sheet on YWCA’s Before and After School Program:

To inquire about YWCA Before and After School Programs, please contact Krista Maynard, Assistant Director, YWCA Early Learning and Child Care: k.maynard@ywcahalifax.com or 902-444-3799