Why do we celebrate the Week of the Young Child?

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The Week of the Young Child is an opportunity to recognize young children: their innate sense of curiosity, unique way of seeing the world, and the general sense of wonder they have. Just as each parent wants the very best for their child, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), set about more than 40 years ago to create a week in which national and local leaders would recognize the impact children have on society. Thus NAEYC, the leading ECE trade organization through which many Knowledge Universe centers and sites are accredited, created the Week of the Young Child.

“The Week of the Young Child celebrates the importance of young children,” said KU Vice President of Quality and Accreditation Kathie Boe. “It’s one week to recognize the importance of the work our teachers and staff do every day in our centers and sites around the country. Not only do we meet the unique needs of the young children in our care today, but more importantly, we teach them the skills they need for success later in life.”

15482151492_664d1b8ca8_zNAEYC celebrated the first Week of the Young Child in 1971 with the goal of raising awareness about the importance of the early childhood years and the impact experiences in a young child’s life have on their future academic and social success. The week is a celebration but also a moment for everyone – national and community leaders, teachers, and families – to look ahead at how to best meet the needs of young children now and in the future.

“Nearly 70 percent of brain development occurs within the first three years of a child’s life,” Kathie said. “This gives us a brief window in which to develop a foundation for learning through quality interactions, exposure to written and verbal language, and exposure to a variety of learning opportunities. It’s our responsibility as educators to do our best to respect, recognize, and respond to each child’s unique needs, to celebrate their successes and to prepare them for their next developmental milestone. The Week of the Young Child is a time to celebrate, but it’s also a time to acknowledge and reflect on the profound impact we have on future generations.”

As Knowledge Universe centers and sites around the country prepare to celebrate the WOYC next week, be sure to follow the celebration on Yammer (hashtag #woyc15).

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