Before and After School Care for K-5

When school is out, you can trust the Y to provide an engaging experience for children in their own school. The Greater Wichita YMCA’s KEY Academy allows children to deepen understanding of and relationships with their schoolmates through active play and collaboration on fun, engaging projects. The inclusion of a healthy breakfast in the morning, snack in the afternoon, and support for homework and learning ensure a well-rounded program.

Key Academy is owned and operated by the Greater Wichita YMCA as a school age program within the Child Care and Camp branch of the association. The KEY Academy program is licensed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and open to children, regardless of YMCA membership status.

Key Academy Content and Daily Activities

When participating in Greater Wichita YMCA KEY Academy programs, your children will think they are simply having fun, but you’ll have the peace of mind knowing they are not only expanding their minds and social skills but developing lifelong healthy habits. Enrolled Kindergartners through students age 12, will benefit from:

Physical Activity
  • Youth in enrolled in our AM sessions participate in 20-30 minutes of morning exercise from yoga to calisthenics they are moving, getting the body and mind active for a great start to the day. When they head to class they are energized and ready to learn. 
  • Afternoon session include 30-45 minutes of active play daily. Student participates in planned physical games and activities that teach team work and good sportsmanship. Weather permitting children spend time outdoors daily. 
Healthy Eating
  • All KEY Academy program sites participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and include a healthy breakfast (AM) and snack (PM) in program enrollment fees. 


  • Daily opportunities for youth and adults to connect and “chat” are skillfully designed and planned to help kids develop self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. 
  • Chats are schedule in advance. Parents are encouraged to track themes and monthly calendars for insights on area of focus and monthly questions so they can continue the conversation at home. 


Homework Support
  • KEY Academy staff set aside 30 minutes, each Monday–Thursday afternoon for quiet activities and to support those with homework and assignment completion. 
  • Study time reinforces positive learning habits and can allow more family time each evening. 


Afternoon Enrichment Activities
  • This year’s “BIG IDEAS!” topics have been expanded to capture and keep kids’ interest. Students will spend four-to-eight weeks exploring each topic to allow more time for learning, and expanded, activity-based exploration including perspectives kids have maybe not yet discovered. 
  • In addition to weekly themed activities youth will explore science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) lessons designed for all age groups, creative art projects, and character education that focuses on our four YMCA values; caring, respect, responsibility and honesty. 


Building Community
  • Considered in every activity and interaction within Key Academy programs, day-to-day interactions and team building activities with peers and Y staff focus on growing positive relationships and skills to avoid, minimize the frequency.
Parent Calendars Keep Everyone Involved
  • Each Key Academy staff offers a complete calendar – with all themes, activities, schedule changes, and information parents could want or need to stay informed. Parents can get copies of each site’s calendar from staff or by contacting the Greater Wichita YMCA Child Care and Camp administrative office

Themes and Big Ideas

Key Academy activities build on themes – or BIG IDEAS! – that are chosen to ensure all kids can participate and benefit from participation and to keep daily content new, fresh, and exciting. 2020-2021 academic year themes include:



Starting off right is the goal of this Big Idea! Using our YMCA core values of Respect, Responsibility, Caring and Honesty as our guide, we will spend the first few weeks building a YMCA family at each of our school sites. At the end of this session, we will have clearly defined our program expectations and brought the character values to life.



As the weather begins to cool and the seasons change, there is so much to discover! This session is rich in STEM activities. From creepy crawlers to catapults, we will make learning fun.



This time of year is often full of family celebrations that include special food, traditions and extended family and friends. Sharing recipes, tasting food, making crafts and playing games from a variety of holiday celebrations allows children to explore culture and diversity in a meaningful way.



From the ancient to the modern Olympic Games, students will explore the rich history and traditions of this international sports festival. From the Torch Relay, to the 5 Rings that symbolize the event, a few special athletes and some really special places we will learn how the Olympics are more of a celebration of culture, diversity and world peace than just a sporting event.



Activities during this session are designed to promote environmental awareness. From the origins of Earth Day, the concept of recycling and other ways we can take care of the world around us, this unit is sure to inspire everyone to take actions.



The weather is getting nice and there is a lot to celebrate in May from Cinco De May to Mother's Day and Armed Forces Day. But do you know some of the lesser known special days of May like; World Laughter Day, Kite Day, National Space Day, No Sock Day or Lucky Penny Day? KEY Sites will have a lot of flexibility this month to add in fun games that center around these and/or other "Special Days of May''. We are sure to keep them engaged with this fun eclectic theme.