“The Week of the Young Child is all about you. It’s about how important you are. How creative you are. How wonderful you are. And how much you are loved.”
Those words came from Eva Phillips, Ready Schools coordinator for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, at the Week of the Young Child kickoff event at Old Town Elementary School yesterday.
The Week of the Young Child is an annual event from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). During the week, participating schools have a different daily theme.
The NAEYC encourages teachers and faculty to record their own versions of songs or even create new songs, while emphasizing that “through music, children develop math, language, and literacy skills.”
This day focuses on healthy eating and fitness habits. The NAEYC says cooking with others can draw connections between math and literacy skills, science, and other subjects. The organization encourages staff to make their own healthy snacks for kids.
Work Together Wednesday
“When children build together they explore math and science concepts and develop their social and early literacy skills,” according to the NAEYC website. On this day, children can explore their imagination by working on building projects using any material they can find.
Art can help with creativity, social skills, and fine motor skills, according to the NAEYC. Children use crayons, paint, clay and any other materials to construct art projects.
“Engaging and celebrating families is at the heart of supporting our youngest learners. NAEYC applauds family members’ role as young children’s first and most important teachers.” Families are encouraged to share pictures and stories about their families.
At the Old Town kickoff event, children heard from a number of speakers about the meaning of the day.
“It’s a week that makes us stop and remember how important young children are,” Phillips said. “And how the education and the services they receive throughout their lives is so critical to their success.”
Students listened to some of their fellow classmates serenade them with violins as they filed into the auditorium. They sang “This Little Light of Mine” in a musical jam session. And they had the chance to dance in the aisles along with the faculty of their school. See the video at the bottom of the page for highlights from the event.
The mayor’s proclamation on the day was read to the students by Winston-Salem City Council Member Jeff MacIntosh.
Joe Crocker, director of the Poor and Needy Division at the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust explained to the children and staff why early childhood education is so important.
“We know that investing in young children pays off. Every dollar invested in early childhood development also returns $8 to the community, to you all, and to society,” he said. “It’s a great investment for us to take the time to make sure you all have what you need to succeed in life.”
Dana Caudill-Jones, chair of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education, told the crowd that the Week of the Child is about focusing attention on the kids.
“For the rest of us, I think it’s a week for us to just refocus that it is our responsibility as adults to make sure we can do whatever we can for the kids in this room and in Forsyth County.”
She said that today, we know well the importance of early learning for children. Adults have a responsibility to act.
“Whatever we can do as a community, that’s what we need to do.”