The YMCA of Austin is offering a new, free virtual program for preschoolers. The YMCA Early Learning Readiness is for children ages 2 to 4 in families who qualify as low-income and do not have access to other early learning programs.


The curriculum is designed to support brain development, early literacy, healthy habits and strong parents skills.


Families who enroll in the twice-a-week program will be given a digital table to use. The children’s caregivers can participate as well.


The one-hour classes are taught in English 9 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays or 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and in Spanish, 10:30 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays or 9 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.


The classes and technology are made possible through a grant from the City of Austin and United Way for Greater Austin.The program can accommodate close to 50 families, says Missy Garcia, senior director of community programs at the YMCA of Austin.


Families can register by calling the YMCA at 512-322-9622.


"Research shows that half of children from low-income families enter kindergarten at an academic disadvantage," Garcia said in a press release. " ... The ELR program will help lay the foundation for future and ongoing achievement and success."