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YWCA Preschool: a lifetime of learning

A quality preschool education can transform a child’s life.

Located in the heart of downtown Hilo, YWCA of Hawaii Island Preschool has been serving Big Island keiki and families for more than 80 years. We are a “developmental” preschool, which means we focus on the whole child, helping them develop socially, cognitively, emotionally and physically, so that they’re ready to enter kindergarten—and a lifetime of learning—with all the tools necessary for success.

Here are just a few of the unique benefits of YWCA Preschool:

Optimal hours

YWCA Preschool accepts children ages 2-5. We are open 50 weeks a year (including the summer, spring and fall breaks when many schools are closed), 8.5 hours per instructional day, to accommodate working parents.


Our program is licensed by the State of Hawaii Department of Human Services and accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children. We are the largest (and one of the only) fully licensed, nationally accredited developmental preschools in east Hawaii able to serve any child in the area, regardless of income or ethnicity. Among other things, being accredited means we offer a lower student/teacher ratio, allowing for more one-on-one time so teachers can really get to know students and families. And accreditation allows us to be the beneficiary of discerning grant-making and subsidizing organizations, including Puahi Keiki Scholars, Preschool Open Doors, Castle Foundation, Hawaii Island United Way, Hawaii Community Foundation, and the County of Hawaii. These funds support programs such as tuition assistance, family literacy nights, and our nutrition program.

Our curriculum itself, The Creative Curriculum® System for Preschool, is also accredited. It is a comprehensive, research-based curriculum that features inquiry, exploration, and discovery as the foundation of all learning.

Mental health counselor/Family Hui

Recognizing that events like lava inundation, COVID, and even just everyday challenges in our community can have a profound effect on a child’s well-being, we are the only private preschool on Hawaii Island with a mental health counselor. The counselor meets with teachers to identify potential issues, works directly with kids to help them manage their emotions, and even works with parents to help them adopt the strategies at home. Family Hui happens twice a month, where childcare is provided while small groups of parents gather after hours to enjoy pizza together, talk with the counselor about what’s happening at home, and just lean on each other.

Food & Nutrition program

A hungry child is an unfocused child. Good nutrition, on the other hand, supports brain development and helps kids stay ready to learn. We serve a healthy breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack at no additional cost, with fresh local fruits and vegetables.

For more information visit our website or call (808) 930-5767.

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