It’s the Week of the Young Child!
Author: Julie Eastes
I visited with my sister today. She is an educator in an elementary school in Colorado. She often shares the joys and challenges of life in her classroom with me at the end of the day. I love living vicariously through her as I am not currently teaching. Today we gushed about new children’s books as we looked at a website together online. She told me she is preparing for her students to take state assessments next week. We also discussed that next week is the Week of the Young Child (WOYC). We tried to imagine what communities would look like if early childhood education were elevated to a level equal to other big events.
During the year, we set aside time from our busy lives to celebrate as a country collectively. In addition to holidays, we have sporting events. On Super Bowl Sunday, most people watch the game, the half-time entertainment, and the commercials with family and friends while eating football-themed snacks found on Pinterest. I know very little about it, but March Madness is just as exciting for basketball fans. In the sports calendar, these national-level events are a time for enthusiasts to pause, come together and celebrate their love for their sport and favorite team. The WOYC is the equivalent of a big game in early childhood education. The Week of the Young Child is set aside each year by the National Association for the Education of Young Children to pause and acknowledge the incredible importance of early education in our country. In Wyoming, this year, we have reason to celebrate! The new Wyoming Early Childhood Standards are in the hands of educators, and we can again come together in our communities. In Natrona County, on April 4, the early childhood community is coming together in person for an evening of celebration and learning.
What is the Week of the Young Child?
“The Week of the Young Child® is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the world's largest early childhood education association, with nearly 60,000 members and a network of 52 Affiliates. “
“The purpose of the Week of the Young Child® 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.”
Here is the link for information and activities to celebrate Week of the Young Child: https://www.naeyc.org/events/woyc
The best way to participate is to share activities with children. https://www.naeyc.org/events/woyc/plan-your-event
“Music Monday is more than singing and dancing; it’s a way to encourage children to be active while developing their early literacy skills and having fun with friends and family!”
“Tasty Tuesday isn’t just about eating your favorite snacks together. It’s also about cooking together and connecting math with literacy skills and science while introducing ways to incorporate healthy habits into children’s lifestyles. “
Work Together Wednesday
“When children build together they experience teamwork and develop their social and early literacy skills. Grab some materials and create!”
“Children develop creativity, social skills, and fine muscles with open-ended art projects that let them make choices, use their imaginations, and create with their hands.”
“Parents and families are children’s first teachers. Family Friday focuses on engaging families to support our youngest learners.”
Take a moment to imagine with me if, as a county, we paused and came together to celebrate early education in a vast stadium. There would be photos and video clips of children, families, and teachers on the big screen, swag bags full of loose parts, children’s books, t-shirts and copies of Young Children, and gift cards for coffee. That’s what I thought when my sister shared the idea with me in our conversation. It’s fun to imagine all of us doing the wave, singing, clapping, and cheering, but it isn’t our style. In the world of early childhood education, we are “Mad” about our work with children and families (not just in March), and I hope all of you know how “Super” you are (not just on one Sunday in February). Instead, let’s join with others in our homes, communities, programs, and classrooms to celebrate the invaluable contribution of those who touch the lives of young children every day. Happy Week of the Young Child!