Our children went to the Youth Center when they were young for a few years after school and also enjoyed the summer camps as well. My husband and I were very appreciative and impressed by the staff, programs and overall facility. Would recommend this Center to anyone who looking to send their children to a safe and loving environment.
Review from Guidestar
I am a current Novato Youth Center board member and a parent of a 3 year old child currently enrolled in the preschool. My son has been attending the Novato Youth Center since he was 16 months and has been in the pre-todddler and toddler rooms. We have had an amazing experience with the program. All of the teachers are wonderful and so caring with the kids. We really appreciate the communication we receive at the end of the day informing us of the activities and meals as well as how his day went. I highly recommend the Novato Youth Center to everyone who is looking for a safe and enriching place for their child.
I have been a Novato Youth Center Board member for 9 years, serving as Board President for 5 of those years. It is an amazing agency with a diverse group of services, all related to youth and supporting their journey to become successful adults. We touch their lives as we teach, guide, care, and counsel. We offer an array of programs to meet youth at their stage in life: child development, counseling, adolescent health & wellness, athletic programs, and collaborate to offer community-based prevention programs. We are proud of our long-standing partnership with the Novato Unified School District that enables us to co-serve services in an effective and efficient way on school campuses and throughout the community. All our services are delivered by highly qualified and educated staff. I am proud to be a part of the Center as we celebrate 36 years of service to the community.
Review from CharityNavigator
Looking for child care is an investment of time. If you are looking for the one-stop shop, this is the place to be.
The Youth Center offers more ammenities than our local schools. They have 4 play structures. They have one for infants, one for toddlers, one for preschoolers, and one for the school-aged program. They have their own full-sized gym for basketball, indoor soccer, martial arts, and roller skating. They have their own art room, their own game room, and their own library, complete with computers.
Homework is a priority for the older children, and there is dedicated homework time. They have staff and tutors to assist with homework to ensure that it is done correctly. I'm glad I don't have to spend much time helping my daughter with homework; it has usually been completed by the time I pick her up at 4:30 p.m.. Education is also important for the younger children; even my 2-year-old son has a curriculum, consisting of circle time, art for colors and exploring senses, music, dramatic play, story time for language development, outdoor time for exercise and gross motor development.
They have their own cafeteria with full cooking facilities and large refrigerator, which allows them to store nutritious, fresh fruits and vegetables. All meals and snacks are included in the fees, including snacks and formula for infants. Their food is also healthier than school lunches, often including fresh fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods. For the infants, they even wash the baby bottles! It is convenient to not worry about packing a lunch box every day; it's nice to know that I don't have to worry about missing forks, water bottles, etc..
Health and cleanliness is important. All the children wash their hands before meals. Children are dressed warmly for cold weather. In summer, the younger children are assisted with applying sunscreen. Sick policy is strictly enforced. Crib bedding, bibs, burp cloths, and pacifiers are washed daily by the staff; no need for parents to bring home laundry.
Summer field trips and movies are included in the fees, and usually all children are included.
Last, but most importantly, I feel comfortable leaving my children at the Novato Youth Center. Many of the staff members have worked at the Youth Center for more than 13 years. My first child attended the Youth Center in 2000. It is obvious that some of the staff are dedicated to their jobs; job turnover is low. The staff is willing to work with getting to know the individual needs of each child. My first child never slept in the crib; one dedicated worker often held her and snuggled her during much of her nap. As she got older, she gave up her naps, but rather than force her to sleep, yet another dedicated worker read to her, and she ended up being able to read independently before she entered kindergarten. My second child required a stroller ride to lull her to sleep; another dedicated worker kept the stroller going for nap. My third child needs frequent feedings due to his low weight; he was offered frequent bottles, frequent meals, variety of high-calorie foods, as the doctor ordered extra butter and whole milk to his foods. My third child loves his caregivers and cries when they leave their shift for the day. When I ask him, "Who takes care of you?" He doesn't say, "Mama." He instead names the workers at the child care. This is how you I know he's got a home away from home.
The only draw back is that there is no weekend care! We sometimes work weekends, and weekend care would be a huge bonus!
Review from CharityNavigator
Poor communication from staff to parents. Breakfast is supposed to be served till 9 am to the kids and there were instances where I would find out my child didnt eat, despite the fact that I had her at school before 9. This organization has a lot of staff whose children attend the program. The staff kids are clearly favored over the other children. I feel there was a conflict of interest when my child and one of the coordinator's of the youth program's daughter had a conflict and the person who handled it was the mom of the child my daughter wasn't getting along with. When I asked her about what happened, she didn't seem to take my concern seriously at all, and was more concerned about checking in with her older daughter about her school day. The lack of respect I received as a concerned parent was insulting. Like I said, her being involved as a staff, being that her daughter was involved, was very k appropriate. Lastly, my final issue that ultimately caused me to unenroll my child from the program was when my 5 year old was left at school without her scheduled ride picking her up. I had been trusting my child to be in the care of these people, yet they weren't dependable for a ride after school as it had been arranged. I didn't receive the slightest apology when the matter was brought to the staffs attention, till I informed them that my daughter would no longer be enrolled in their program. At that time, I received an apology that happened too late. This organization says they are about nurturing children, but its not the feel that was given.
I am a parent of 2 children who attend the youth center. Both of my children started at NYC when they were only a few months old. What a difficult decision for a parent to make! But I found it was an amazing experience for me and my kids! My daughter (almost 5) just moved to their Kindergarten room. She is already sounding out and spelling simple words, doing math problems and learning how to get along with her peers. My son (not yet 3) is in the toddler room and can identify the entire alphabet and even write a few letters! He can recognize and spell the letters of his name. He's been doing that since he turned 2!! While I would like to take credit for my children's brilliance, I know that NYC has a huge part in these developments. Both of my children potty trained before they were 2 1/2 years old. NYC helped me with this awesome feat! The teachers are warm, kind and caring. They even do parent development so that parents can discuss our mutual concerns and issues that arise with our kids. I know the entire ECE staff as they really work together to make the center a knockout. When kids transition from one room to another, they work with the kids until they are ready to move to that next step. They really seem to be in tune with the child's needs. I could rave on, but I will close with the fact that the leadership of the NYC is unparalleled. From the Board of Directors to the Management Team, Administrative team and teachers. You will not find a childcare center in Novato with people who are more dedicated to their jobs, but more importantly to the children than at NYC. No wonder the school's motto is Success Starts Here! I am a believer and know my kids will be successful from the start they have gotten at NYC!
I have just completed 12 years on the Board of Directors of this incredible organization. I have been involved with other organizations, but NYC has amazing staff, leadership, and a very productive Board. Every time I entered the building I was aware of sounds coming from happy children, whether at play, doing art projects, learning, or playing sports. The outreach to Novato schools, couseling, tutoring, health care were all programs that the organization provides. I will miss my time on the Board, but I will always be involved with this amazing organization Larry Aronson. Former Board Member & President.
Review from Guidestar
My children have thoroughly enjoyed the facility at NYC. The indoor soccer is a fabulous sport that is played at the Novato Youth Center. Our daughter loves the arts and crafts room; and our son loves the entertainment center. Both love the food that has been provided there. The faculty is committed, inspiring, and very kind. Our 5 year old daughter says, "It's the best place I've ever been." -- Toni Shroyer, Novato, Realtor - Pristine Properties
Review from Guidestar
This place is like an extended family. Not only does my daughter get stellar stimulation, love, and care but they offer parenting classes, they have family counseling, and they are all over the community! The staff and volunteers are so committed to helping our youth grow and learn. I'm grateful to have the Novato Youth Center in our community. Like their video says, "every community should have one!"
Review from Guidestar
My son has been part of the Center for 3 1/2 years and his experience there has been amazing. The teachers (most of whom are parents themselves) care for the children as if they were their own and are incredibly supportive to parents, especially first-timers. My son has many new buddies and we too have made many new friends. It truly is a great place for youngsters to grow up and develop wonderful new skills.
Review from Guidestar
I'm not sure about this place. My nephew was a 3rd grader there. I finally convinced my brother to take him out. When I would pick him up I always heard the teachers yelling at the kids. My nephew said they always yell. I worked with children in Arizona. Teachers like that would NEVER be hired there.
NYC is a safe, fun after school environment for my sons. I especially appreciate the time the children devote to homework. My children usually finish their homework before they come home. NYC has a variety of activities. They have a large gym for kids that like sports and a large game room. Although this is a large facility they do a good job of segregating children into different age groups. Supervision is also good. Most of the staff are also parents that are active in the community.
The NYC is a great place for young children.From geting kids their breakfast , geting them to school in the AM, giving them a good start in the AM .The NYC is my choice for care.My AM is peaceful knowing my girls are in good hands. They get my kids in the PM , GIVE SNACK.. and do homework... what a BLESSING. Most important the staff...
I first found NYC in the summer of 2007. My daughter and I went for a tour and she and I both felt very comfortable with the teachers, structure as well as activities available to her. The hours are great, the summer care is amazing with field trips and all sorts of activities. The care my daughter is given is much to what she can expect at home. It keeps the structure for her and allows me to feel comfortable in having her attend. The entire staff has been extremely helpful and willing to meet my childs needs. I highly recommend NYC!