The Week of the Young Child is coming up soon. This year April 2-8 is the Week of the Young Child, a national time to celebrate both children and early childhood educators.
Each year the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) selects a week in April to focus on raising the profile of our industry and the children we serve. NAEYC is primarily focused on supporting research in early childhood learning and development. Both Kate & Carrie have been members of NAEYC over the years. They provide excellent books for teachers who work in the field. (My current favorite is Big Questions for Young Minds: Extending Children’s Thinking)
WOYC is designed to highlight our profession and provide advocacy opportunities.
You can raise awareness with your clients & their circle or choose to take a broader approach. SOme choose to do some of both. Do whichever you have the bandwidth for.
This is an ideal time to reach out to elected officials about supporting our work. Who should you reach out to?
Anyone who can improve your families lives or YOUR business.
- City council members (zoning, parking, childcare benefit for city employees, resources for ECE programs)
- County commissioners (emergency preparedness, code enforcement, health department fees)
- School Board (Special Education funding, early childhood disability screenings, bussing)
- State legislators -this is the off season for them so they have much more time to talk & hear from constituents. (CCM funding, early childhood intervention, startup grants for ECE programs, special needs education funding, CPS, licensing issues, etc.
- Federal legislators- there was a large amount of funding in the build back better bill that is stalled. Talk to your legislators about increasing funding. (US News has an article with talking points)
If you would rather focus just on your center community, there are endless options. Do you already have things planned?
If not here are some ideas:
- Have your city/town declare it the Week of the Young Children
- Post a video on your social media for each day
- Sunday- Send out a message to all parents letting them know about the week and telling them this is perfect time to show their appreciation for your staff with a link to wish lists or about me pages for all staff (include yourself & support staff)
- Trace children on butcher paper (children can then create art on their traced bodies), add, “I am here because my child is being cared for at and ask parents to hang them up at work.
- Create care packages for your staff. Delegate your package to someone else on staff.
- Send childrens artwork to your city council members, county commissioners, and legislators with a note about how important their support is to your center & the families you serve.
Make a theme for each day:
- Monday – Music: video music time in a class, send parents information about all the things music teaches
- Tuesday – Talking: highlight the stages of verbal development using children in your center as examples, Give each family a book to stimulate verbal development
- Wednesday – Work: two options for this topic, you can highlight what your caregivers do in a day or you can highlight the important work the children are doing. Exploring all the things that doing a knobbed puzzle helps the child with, for instance.
- Thursday – Thinking: Highlight cognitive development in the different classrooms. I find it especially impactful to highlight what is going on cognitively around different challenges like separation anxiety or night terrors.
- Friday – Friends: create a video where you showcase the social relationships that the children form. Send home dictation from the older children about their friends. In the younger classroom send out an article about social bonds & responsive crying or something similar.
- Have a daily celebration. Make this one of the best weeks for your staff. Cater breakfast. Have a face painter for the teachers (kids can get in on the action to, but make sure you hire someone who can do adult designs). Order in pizza or tacos. Take all your staff out to Karaoke. Have fun. Be silly. Celebrate the joy of this profession.
- For more ideas go to NAEYC.org
I am a huge fan of this week and will be doing things throughout the week to make it special for me & hopefully some other people as well.
Write to let us know what you have planned!