More than 40 years ago, leaders at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) planned the first Week of the Young Child (WOYC) to shine a spotlight on the needs of young children and their families and recognize the early childhood programs that serve the nation’s youngest learners. This year’s celebration, titled “Celebrating Our Youngest Learners,” takes place April 12-18 and NAEYC has selected a specific theme for each day of the week around which a variety of fun activities for all children and families can be planned.
Early exposure to music helps children think, reason, create, and express themselves. Music also helps children learn math, language, and literacy skills in a fun, engaging way. Aside from fostering listening skills, music also helps young learners begin to recognize patterns, acquire new vocabulary, and shake their sillies out. On this day, you might dance to your favorite children’s song or play instruments the children create.
Promoting healthy habits through cooking with children helps them develop healthy habits early in life. Through cooking, children learn new vocabulary as well as math concepts related to number sense, measurement, and operations. Consider having the children help prepare a nutritious snack or host a taco bar to celebrate this day. For nutritional, kid-approved recipes, take a look at the recipes on Knowledge Universe’s Grow Happy site.
Work together Wednesday
This day is all about encouraging children to use their imaginations to build something together out of whatever materials are handy – blocks, branches, pillows, LEGOS, the sky’s the limit. Why not build sculptures and share the creations with the entire center? Not only will children create a sculpture, but they’ll also build their math, science, and social skills.
Children enjoy expressing themselves creatively, and art provides young children with an opportunity to use their imaginations, build their fine motor skills, and create something amazing all by themselves. You might have the children explore with a variety of media and showcase their creations as part of Friday’s event. And remember – art also includes drama! Teach the children a new finger play or help them prepare to put on a play for their families.
This final day of the Week of the Young Child is all about engaging with children’s families, sharing their accomplishments, and recognizing that families are children’s first teachers. Host a Family Happy Hour in the lobby at pick up time by setting up a snack for children and their families to enjoy together. Display photos of activities that occurred during the week, share anecdotes about the children’s experiences, or show a video clip from the classrooms while families snack.
Be sure to share activities and photos from your center’s Week of the Young Child celebration on Yammer with the hashtag #woyc15.