Celebrate Indiana’s youngest citizens, their families & the programs that support their learning
The Week of the Young Child™ is an annual celebration that is sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). NAEYC is the world’s largest early childhood education association, with nearly 80,000 members and a network of over 300 local, state and regional affiliates all over the United States. This year, the week is April 10-16 – so the time is now for planning your efforts to honor, elevate and celebrate the critical early years of education.
NAEYC established the Week of the Young Child back in 1971, to honor and celebrate children birth through age eight and to highlight and lay the foundation for the children’s success in school and later in life. It is a time to plan how we – as citizens of a community, of a state and of a nation – improve the lives of our youngest community members and their families.
The week-long event brings focus and public attention to the assets and needs of young children and their families. It also recognizes the early education programs and services that support those young learners. Each day has a designated theme including the popular, Taco Tuesday (check out their taco cookbook!). While NAEYC designates the Week of the Young Child dates, themes and activity ideas, communities and individual programs add their own creativity. Some of the most popular ideas are Teacher Appreciation Day, Parent Appreciation Day, Staff Potlucks, Hat Day and Ice Cream Socials. Celebrations range from public policy roundtables to pint-sized parades. Through this effort, early education programs and schools also generate media attention for the sector, as well as much enthusiasm and support.
Today we know more than ever before the importance of a child’s early years, and that these years help to shape their learning and development. The Week of the Young Child is a time to recognize that our children’s opportunities are our responsibilities, and to recommit ourselves to ensuring that each and every child experiences the type of early environment at home, at child care, at school and in the community – that will promote and encourage early learning.
At Early Learning Indiana, we’re planning our own celebrations from our Day Early Learning classrooms to our Child Care Answers coaches. Our Partnerships for Early Learners team plans to use the week to highlight how system-level innovation and investment can boost opportunities for our littlest Hoosiers. We look forward to hearing about your celebrations, too. Please feel free to share your plans in the comments below!
To learn more or to find tools to help you plan your Week of the Young Child events, visit NAEYC’s website at: https://www.naeyc.org/woyc
Rena Broadnax is Partnerships for Early Learners’ Manager of Statewide Quality Improvement & Workforce Development Initiatives. She leads efforts to improve the quality of early care programs and to expand opportunities, credentials and pathways for early education professionals across the state of Indiana.