The YMCAs of Québec's educational approach
The educational approach of the YMCAs of Québec, is based on three complementary approaches
– 40 Developmental Assets, Playing to Learn, and Hands Up!.
Our approach fosters high-quality learning, enabling children and youth to acquire
the key skills needed to achieve their full potential while promoting respect for
children’s rights and social responsibility.
The 40 Developmental Assets, developed by the Search Institute
in Minneapolis, identifies key building blocks for the healthy development of caring
and competent young people. The 20 internal and 20 external assets are comprised
of categories that include support, empowerment, boundaries and expectations, constructive
use of time, commitment to learning, positive values, social competencies and positive
identity. Each category contains four to six behaviours or situations that encourage
the acquisition of the specific assets. The approach shifts the focus from young
people’s problems to their strengths and emphasizes interpersonal relations.
Playing to Learn, a national initiative developed by the YMCA of
Greater Toronto, is an integral part of child care programs at the YMCAs of Québec.
It combines three decades of experience in child care with the latest findings on
how the brain develops and how children learn.
This unique program not only serves as a guide for curriculum but also helps educators
design the physical and social environment, and plan and prepare the foundation
needed for learning through play. The curriculum is based on the idea that children
learn best through real play, which lays the groundwork for learning language skills,
mathematics, science and technology. The program also provides educators with the
skills to prepare spaces that foster learning and exposes them to best practices
to encourage high-quality learning experiences. As well, it complements the curriculum
proposed by Quebec’s Ministère de la Famille et des Aînés, Accueillir la petite
In the Playing to Learn approach, the child and the educator become “play partners.”
One of the distinguishing features is that educators are not silent partners who
intervene only when conflict arises, nor do they assume the traditional “teacher”
role. As a “play partner,” the educator supports rather than interrupts play and
assumes a non-controlling role.
The Hands Up! program integrates the child’s rights into the everyday
work of educators, community workers and all others who interact with children.
This approach creates an atmosphere where children become aware of their rights
and learn that these rights also entail responsibilities. Just as adults are responsible
for knowing and respecting the rights of the child, children too must know their
own rights and respect the rights of others. Hands Up! is designed to make the UN
Convention on the Rights of the Child a living presence in the lives of
the children and those who work with them.
The simplicity of each activity enables even young children to grasp the concept
of rights and responsibilities. Children are encouraged to reflect on their own
lives and the lives of others, to build self-confidence and trust, and to develop
dignity, self-esteem and a sense of well-being.
For more information, please consult the pdf documents below.
40 Assets Infants Need to Succeed
40 Assets Toddlers Need to
Succeed (13-35 months)
40 Assets Preschoolers
Need to Succeed (3 to 5 years)
40 Assets Elementary-Age
Kids Need to Succeed (6 to 11 Years)
40 Assets Middle- and High-School
Teens Need to Succeed (12 to 18 Years)
PLAYING TO LEARN
- Quick Facts
Hands Up! – Order Form