Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Week of the Young Child

This year's Week of the Young Child (WOYC) is April 22 - 28.  The theme for this year is "Early Years are Learning Years". The purpose of the WOYC 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".  

One fun activity I conducted years ago was a paper bag project.  We coordinated with a local grocery story and obtained a large stack of paper grocery bags from them a few weeks before the WOYC , wrote our program name on the lower face of each bag, then had children create artwork on the upper face of each bag.  We took the bags back to the grocery store and they used them to bag groceries during the WOYC.  It was a great awareness activity for our program and the children loved seeing their artwork in the grocery store.  

Here are some other suggestions on how to celebrate the Week of the Young Child:
  • Provide buttons to the parents of the children in your care and ask them to wear them to work.  The buttons could say "Child care keeps America working" or "This worker made possible by a high-quality child care program". 
  • Host a parent appreciation day with coffee and donuts for the parents as they drop off their children in the morning.
  • Have children make paper dolls.  Display the paper dolls in your own program or ask a business (or 2) in the area to "adopt" your dolls and display them during the week.
  • Invite a legislator, local community leader, or business leader to "work" in your program for a couple of hours to experience, first-hand, the complexities of providing high-quality child care.  (not in ratio, and under your direct visual supervision at all times, as they will be unfingerprinted visitors)
  • Conduct a book drive to collect children's books for the Reach Out and Read program.
  • Partner with bookstore or library to present a preschool story time.
  • Display children’s art in area restaurants, businesses, etc., and ask parents to display their child's artwork at their places of employment.
  • Host a Family Writing Workshop where parents and children create a book together.
  • Host a staff appreciation day and provide lunch or snacks for your staff.
  • Invite parents to come in and read a story to the children. 
  • Host an open house to allow people in the community to tour your program to see what the children are learning.
  • Conduct a stuffed animal day where children bring in their favorite stuffed animals.  Read the book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear", substituting the names of the children's animals for "Brown Bear".  (example--"Red dog, red dog, what do you see?")
Have fun and enjoy celebrating your children and your program!

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