With ever-changing demands on today’s families, support may be required to nurture children's true potential. Child Care and Early Learning programs at the Fulton County Y focus on holistically nurturing child development by providing a safe and healthy place to learn foundational skills, develop healthy, trusting relationships and build self-reliance through the Y values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. At the helm of this effort in Fulton County is Senior Youth Development Director Kimberly Dandino.
Dandino started her YMCA career in 2014 as Childcare Director with the Capital District YMCA’s Southern Saratoga branch. In that role, she successfully oversaw six after-school sites in the Shenendehowa School District, as well as the summer camp program at the Southern Saratoga branch. In 2016, Dandino was promoted to Regional Childcare Director, overseeing programs in Southern Saratoga and Amsterdam. In 2019, she took on the role of Associate Executive Director for Childcare and Day Camp where she assisted the Childcare team in creating and maintaining programs of excellence. “We are delighted to welcome Kimberly to our team. Her years of experience and outstanding track record will help to shape a bright and robust Early Learning program that today’s families want and need”, said Christopher Defibaugh, CEO of the Fulton County Y.
Kimberly graduated from SUNY Oneonta with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and further obtained a Master’s Degree in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology from the University at Albany. In addition; she completed a second Master’s Degree in Literacy thus broadening her knowledge in child development and their various learning styles.
Dandino made safety a top priority upon her arrival in July. “Nothing is more important to us than the safety and security of the children in our care. We adhere to the highest safety standards meeting or exceeding all local and state guidelines”, said Dandino. In additional to physical and building safety, COVID safety is the new normal at the Y. “In March, our childcare program transitioned into an emergency childcare program for essential workers and their families and daily protocols such as health screenings and temperature checks, excellent hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting of classrooms and toys, masks for all staff and school-aged children, modified drop off and pick up, and physical distancing have remained in practice ever since. “We continue to monitor and modify our protocols and plans as guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), NYS Department of Health (DOH) and the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) is released.”
Dandino transformed existing daycare and school-aged childcare programs by shifting focus to “learning by doing” and staffing each age group with consistent, highly trained teachers to ensure a strengthened teacher-child bond. “Our curriculum is developmentally appropriate: promoting learning experiences designed for each age-group and flexibly tailored to each child’s needs. We are committed to delivering a program across all age groups that is innovative, responsive, supportive, and comprehensive”, said Dandino. Dandino is also credited with bringing program innovation such as new Hybrid and Virtual Enrichment programs for school-aged children to support learning and development during the pandemic.
The Fulton County Y is a nonprofit organization putting Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. To reach out to the Senior Youth Development Director, please email Kimberly Dandino at firstname.lastname@example.org and learn more about Youth Development programs at: www.fultoncountyymca.org