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      New YMCA early childhood center

      Classrooms were empty for the first day of the YMCA Early Childhood program. So far they have two kids, but the program is designed to have more than 60.

      Traci Shipman, the program director, says people didn't realize when they officially opened.

      "We are really excited to get the word out. We have spent a lot of weeks preparing. There has been a lot of talk in the community, but people were just not sure what time we were officially open, so the biggest thing I want to point out is we are open and we are ready to go," said Shipman.

      After the success of the Vandenboom child center, YMCA management decided K.I. Sawyer Elementary school was the perfect place for a second location. The center is open from seven in the morning until six in the evening.

      With four rooms, they take infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. They also have a before-and-after school program.

      Sarah Boogren is a preschool teacher with the program. After training at the Vandenboom location in Marquette, she decided to enroll her kids.

      "When I was training up at Vandenboom, I could tell the difference between my child, who wasn't in a preschool setting, and the kids that were there. In just a day, the difference between what they were learning and what my child didn't know and what they did know," said Boogren.

      The program helps children of all ages. Whether it's an infant, toddler, or preschooler, each child develops physically and cognitively.

      The program is nationally accredited and prepares kids for kindergarten.

      "We are aware of what the public schools are working on with the children and assess the children regularly to make sure that we are meeting the needs of each individual child," Shipman said.

      They accept kids starting at six weeks until five years of age.

      If you are interested in enrolling your child, you can stop by the school for a tour.ã??