Y Beginnings Parenting Center

Hi, there! We’re thrilled to welcome you to the Y Beginnings Parenting Center!

This is your invitation to come out and play‑-with new babies, parents and caregivers from the neighborhood--together at the Y. We’ve got a full roster of classes, programs, and events planned (and always in the works!) for expectant families and those with babies, one year olds and two year olds.

At Y Beginnings, we’re your uptown home for new families. This is where your daughter might meet her first best buddy, your son might take his first steps and where your confidence as a new parent grows. All within a framework of local living at its best—no schlepping downtown to find activities or community.

The Y Beginnings Parenting Center debuted in 2014. We’re still growing and we’d love feedback on what you’d like to see offered at the Y. Let us know what appeals to your unique family, by TAKING OUR SURVEY or EMAILING ME.

As the Coordinator for Y Beginnings, I’m looking forward to meeting you and welcoming your family. By way of introduction, I’m a certified lactation counselor, a mom since 2008, and a local resident active in our neighborhood for more than a decade. I know firsthand what a wonderful community we’re building, together, here uptown.

We extend a warm welcome to families of all types and all backgrounds, while also offering special celebrations of Jewish culture throughout the year. 

Whatever brings you to the Y, we hope you find a welcoming home here.


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Y Beginnings Programs

Parenting Workshops
Moms Groups
Classes for Babies and Caregivers
Classes for Toddlers and Caregivers
Jewish Engagement
PJ Library
Samples of Previous Workshops and Classes

Parenting Workshops

"Changing Emotions of Parenthood"
Along with a new baby, parenthood brings big changes in relationships, responsibility and identity. Yes, it can be an emotional roller coaster. Join Meredith Elson, LCSW, and other parents to talk about managing the emotional ups and downs of becoming, and being, a new parent. Moms, dads, babies and expectant parents are welcome and invited to attend this free talk, which is offered periodically. 
WHEN: please email Mara to be notified when the next date is announced (mbragg@ywashhts.org)
FACILITATOR: Meredith Elson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked in a private psychotherapy practice on the Upper West Side for over twelve years.


Moms Groups

The Y Beginnings Parenting Center hosts free gatherings for new moms that meet (mostly) weekly, alternating between the New Moms Group and the Breastfeeding Cafe. Come for the socializing, come for the support, come to get out of your apartment! All welcome at both groups, which are free, drop-in, baby-friendly. See descriptions and dates below for each group.
Not sure what to expect? Have more questions? Feel free to reach out to Mara directly, mbragg@ywashhts.org or 646-738-6093.

TIME: Fridays, see dates below, 12:30 to 1:30ish pm, late arrivals okay ("baby time")
LOCATION: Room 312 (stroller accessible)

Congratulations on your baby! As you find your way as a new parent, you're invited to join our community of moms and babies at the Y's Friday groups. Together we'll share experiences, ask questions if we have them, or just listen, and learn from each another, in a welcoming and inclusive environment that honors the unique path of each family. Introductions are made between attendees, to help you grow your own community of new parents.   
FALL 2019 DATES: Fridays, September 20; October 4, 18; November 1, 22; December 20. See also Breastfeeding Cafe dates below. NOTE: No groups on October 11; November 15, 29; December 13, 27. Any last-minute changes to the schedule will be posted here. To sign up for email reminders about the groups, for now or for after your due date, email mbragg@ywashhts.org. 

Join us with your babies and your questions about breastfeeding/pumping/feeding, or simply join us for the community, even if you don't have questions. Babies snuggle or snooze while moms chat and gain valuable support and community from each other and the group's facilitator, a Certified Lactation Counselor. The Breastfeeding Cafe is inclusive, and open to parents who are pregnant, nursing, pumping, combination feeding or simply trying to figure it all out! Introductions are made between attendees, to help you grow your own community of new parentsGroup is led by Mara Bragg, CLC, and strives to help parents meet the feeding goals that work best for their family. For help beyond a support group setting, parents should consult their pediatricians for all medical questions, and an IBCLC for a private lactation consultation if desired.   
FALL 2019 DATES: Fridays, September 13, 27, October 25, November 8, December 6. See also New Moms Group dates above. Note: No groups on October 11; November 15, 29; December 13, 27. Any last-minute changes to the schedule will be posted here. To sign up for email reminders about the groups, for now or for after your due date, email mbragg@ywashhts.org. 


Classes for Babies and Caregivers

Be Baby: Discovery Zone 
From tummy time and beyond, increasingly mobile babies explore and discover in a classroom setting, including circle time with singing and story time. Grown-ups enjoy a supportive environment to build their own community. 
AGE RANGE: for babies from 6 to 12 months old, with parent or caregiver  
SCHEDULE: If you're interested in Be Baby, please let us know by sending an EMAIL. 

Classes for Toddlers and Caregivers

Are you a parent looking for activities and socializing for you and/or your child? The Y's Toddler and Parent Programs offer something for every stage to explore this pivotal time of life!

CLASS DESCRIPTION: Children explore and discover through play-based centers, and enjoy music and creative movement during circle time. The 75-minute class is designed to emphasize play, socialization and learning the rhythms of the classroom, while the child's parent or caregiver is present and actively involved. Throughout the semester, children enjoy the freedom to play, grow and gain confidence in a classroom setting.The Y Early Childhood programs embrace families from diverse backgrounds and cultivate a connection to Jewish values and traditions.
AGE RANGE: for children who are walking before class starts in September, and who will be between the age of 12 and 29 months by December 31, 2019. This same age range applies to both Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semesters. 
NOTE: Students attend the entire 15-week semester; this is not a drop-in class. Seats are reserved for enrolled children only; class is not designed to be joined by younger/older siblings, including babies (unless both siblings, for example twins, are within the age range and each enrolled).   
SCHEDULE: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 to 10:45 am, for two 15-week semesters, from September to January, and then January/February to early June. Each semester enrolls separately; fall students receive priority re-enrollment for spring semester. Class is cancelled during winter and spring breaks. Dates for Fall 2019 Semester: TUESDAYS: September 17 to January 21, except October 1, November 19, December 24 and 31. THURSDAYS: September 26 to January 16, except November 28, December 26.
REGISTRATION: Fall Semester is now full. To join the waiting list, please EMAIL Mara.  
FEE: $400 for the Tuesday OR Thursday session (15 classes); $725 for both days (30 classes)

Introduce your child (and yourself!) to music and Jewish culture in a fun, interactive setting! Class is packed with singing, stories, movement, puppets, parachute, shakers, bubbles and more! All families warmly welcomed. Class is led by Jordan from Tkiya, a Brooklyn-based organization known for its participatory music experiences. 
AGE RANGE: for babies and toddlers (through 35 months) with their grown-up
SCHEDULE: Wee Jam returns Wednesday, October 16, through December 11 (except November 27), from 9:30 to 10:15 am 
REGISTRATION FORM:  Click here for the form, which can then be sent via EMAIL to enroll in class. 
FEE: $200 per 8-week session 

Welcome to your Sunday morning escape during the winter months! Kids' Gym season returns at the end of 2019. The Y's gym is open to young walkers through age 5, with their parents/caregivers, for our popular kids' gYm. Click here for all details, including pre-registration, membership discounts, and a mutiple pass discount!  

Jewish Engagement

Join us on Friday mornings to welcome shabbat! We'll sing, read a story, say blessings, and enjoy challah together with our Y Beginnings community. Program features live ukulele music from the Y's own Rabbi Ezra Weinberg, plus Todah, our amazing Sloth (a real puppet!). All families are warmly welcomed at Ukulele Shabbat, which is designed for babies through age three, with their parent or caregiver. Visit our Ukulele Shabbat page to learn more, including the schedule of dates, and holiday cancellations.  

Want to see these previous workshops and classes offered again?

Let us know by sending an EMAIL.  





The Y Beginnings Parenting Center focuses on families who are expecting and those with newborns, babies and toddlers, up to 2 years of age by offering fun, enriching, and educational opportunities.