Learn, Grow and Thrive Joe & Mary Mottino Family YMCA Preschool

preschool child running in the parkWelcome to preschool at Joe and Mary Mottino Family YMCA!

The Y is the largest and oldest provider of youth development services in San Diego County, with a long history of providing a real, positive impact in the lives of children. We are dedicated to strengthening families as a community resource that nurtures the potential in children.

The YMCA preschool program is designed to support the growth and success of children cognitively, physically, emotionally and socially. Using developmentally appropriate materials, curriculum and activities in a play based environment, your child will be supported in learning social skills, Kindergarten readiness skills and engage in physical activities.

All of these activities help children learn helpfulness and kindness as an introduction to the four Core Values of the YMCA:

  • Caring
  • Responsibility
  • Respect
  • Honesty

Our programs are licensed by the state of California. Our excellent staff are background cleared through the Department of Justice and trained in CPR, First Aid and Child Abuse Prevention to ensure the safety of your child.




Joe and Mary Mottino Family YMCA
4701 Mesa Dr.
Oceanside, CA 92056

Directions via Google Maps

Preschool Hours

  • Full-Day Program: 7:30am–5:30pm


  • Enrollment open to children 2-5 years of age
  • Children will need to bring with them daily
    • Lunch*
      • *Please note we are a nut-free facility
    • Reusable water bottle
    • Fitted crib sheet
    • Blanket
    • Diapering supplies (as needed)

Registration packet must be completed each year.


Joe and Mary Mottino YMCA Preschool registration is now open for 2023-2024. Please contact the Preschool Head, Tonja Handley at [email protected] or call us at (760) 758-0808, if you have any questions or would like a tour of our facilities. 

Register Here



Preschool is closed* the following holidays:

  • Preschool Staff Pre-Service & Prep Week (1 week in August)
  • Labor Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving Day & Friday after Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day
  • New Years Day
  • Winter Prep Week (first week of January)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • President’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Juneteenth
  • Independence Day

*Closures subject to change


  • To develop creative, independent thinkers.
  • To foster social-emotional development.
  • To promote capable, productive and self-reliant children.
  • To foster a sense of respect and responsibility for oneself, each other and our environment.
  • To facilitate the understanding that we are part of a diverse multi-cultural community.


Two nutritious snacks will be provided daily (morning & afternoon). Snacks meet the licensing guidelines, containing at least one item from 2 of 4 food groups. Children will need to bring their own lunch daily. Please send a lunch with healthy food choices. All children will be provided a nap in the afternoon. Parents will need to provide a small pillow, crib sheet, blanket and anything else that will make your child feel comfortable at nap time.


  • Free Play: Children are free to explore various centers in the classroom. Blocks, art, library, science and manipulatives will be some of the available choices.
  • Outside Exploration: Children are free to explore the outside environment. Bikes, sand play and other various activities will be available.
  • Group Meeting: The children will meet to further explore the curriculum topics for the day.
  • Snack: A healthy snack will be provided family style. Children will socialize with their peers, learn how to serve themselves and how to properly nourish their bodies.
  • Curriculum Experiences: Small group experiences that are curriculum focused will be set up for all children to enjoy.
  • Assembly: Children will meet to discuss the days events, read stories and sing songs.
  • Early Literacy: Opportunities for story time and individual book time throughout the day.
  • Rest Time: Teachers assist children with resting their bodies by patting their backs, dimming the lights, and playing soft music


Full-Day Program (8:00am - 5:30pm)

All programs include an annual registration fee of $50 for members and $100 for participants. If you are interested in registering for the 2023-2024 school year and need assistance, please email the Preschool Head, Tonja Handley at [email protected] or call us at (760) 758-0808.

5-Day Tuition

  • Participant: $1,434
    • Up to 15% off with select Y memberships

3-Day Tuition (M/W/F)

  • Participant: $975
    • Up to 15% off with select Y memberships


2-Day Tuition (T/TH)

  • Participant: $688
    • Up to 15% off with select Y memberships



Swim lessons are available for licensed preschool students. Interested in having your toddler get an early start in the water? Our licensed aquatics instructors will guide your little one as they learn water safety and basic swimming skills. Lessons include four 30-minute lessons (one per week in a calendar month). Register today!


Financial assistance and scholarships are available for those families who qualify and are made possible through generous donations to the Annual Support Campaign from members and residents in the community. Though there are financial limits to the YMCA’s ability to provide financial assistance, every effort will be made to assist any family needing aid. Confidential applications are available at the YMCA Welcome Desk or at ymcasd.org/family-resources/paying-child-care


The Joe and Mary Mottino Family YMCA Preschool is committed to creating high-quality, imaginative, dynamic, educational programs for children, families and educators. We are an emergent, organic program inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education.

Based on our fundamental belief that children learn best when their world is meaningful, we integrate all areas of curriculum through short-term explorations and long-term projects. Children are viewed as protagonists in their learning and are encouraged to work in collaboration with their peers to co-construct new theories and ideas

The role of our teachers is to extend and deepen children’s ideas and theories. Through careful observation, documentation, thoughtful questions and deep reflections, our teachers work in partnership with the children to negotiate curriculum, extend thinking and develop explorations.

We understand and value the importance of children having time to connect with nature. Our beautiful outdoor environments give children time to explore nature through immersive experiences with sand, water and natural materials.

Research has shown that early experiences in programs such as the Joe and Mary Mottino Family YMCA Preschool, improve children’s abilities to develop socially, intellectually and emotionally before they enter kindergarten, and that children who attend high-quality preschools like the YMCA’s will have more successful academic careers and develop the social skills necessary to adapt more easily to an elementary school environment.