Next month, join NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children) for its “Week of the Young Child 2015: Celebrating Our Youngest Learners,” from April 12th to the 18th, 2015.
First established in 1971, the purpose of this annual celebration is to “focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families” and “to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.”
Each day of the Week of the Young Child (WOYC) has a different theme:
Music Monday highlights the educational power of songs by inviting children and families to sing along with “Thingamajig,” a tune sung by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band.
Taco Tuesday emphasizes the fun of cooking healthy meals together for good nutrition and to show how cooking can be used to connect math, literacy, and science skills.
On Work Together Wednesday, children are encouraged to work together and build something. It might be “a fort of branches on the school playground, a block city in the classroom, a hideaway made from couch pillows at home,” or a Lego creation. “Build and share pictures of children’s creations on NAEYC’s Facebook page or post to Twitter using the #woycworktogether hashtag.”
On Artsy Thursday children can “develop creativity, social skills, and fine muscles with open-ended art projects where they can make choices, use their imaginations, and create with their hands.” Photos of this work can also be posted on NAEYC’s Facebook page.
And Family Friday is a chance to engage and celebrate families. “Share pictures and stories about your family on NAEYC’s Facebook page or post to Twitter using the hashtag #woycfamfriday as we celebrate the unique role families play in their children’s learning and development.”
NAEYC also provides links to resources that can be used on each day.
And there’s no limit on how to celebrate the week. NAEYC points to these creative examples:
– “We held a Family Writing Workshop where parents were invited to create a book with their children. A book-writing kit was provided, and children and parents shared their books at a show and tell. The books are now part of our library collection.”
– “A group of parents and children marched to City Hall. The mayor joined us and read a proclamation adopted by our City Council about the Week of the Young Child. Additionally, we held a press conference sharing information about the importance of quality early care and education.”
At the Keene Memorial Library in Fremont, Neb., there was a Family Fun Reading Night that is part of “a challenge to parents and caregivers to spend 15 minutes a day reading to their children with a goal of 10,000 hours read by April 17.” The reading challenge activities “will culminate with celebration activities April 17 during the national Week of the Young Child.”
Why focus on young children? NAEYC provides an eloquent answer. In “A Call for Excellence in Early Childhood Education,” the organization says:
“Our goal is not to simply defend the status quo. NAEYC’s convictions about early childhood care and education set forth a vision of a system that is still unmet.”
“We can invest now in our children and families and enjoy long-term savings, with a more vibrant nation of healthy, achieving children and more stable families. Or, we can fail to make the investment and pay the price: increased delinquency, greater educational failures, lowered productivity, less economic competitiveness, and fewer adults prepared to be effective, loving parents to the next generation of children.”
So get ready to celebrate and share your activities on social media.
If you’re in Massachusetts, please contact us and let us know what activities you are planning. Send an email to email@example.com.
The Week of the Young Child should be great fun — and a wonderful reminder of just how much potential our smallest children have.