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Week of the Young Child

Celebrating our Youngest Learners and their Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers

Christina Thayer Anderson

This week we are celebrating the Week of the Young Child. This is a week dedicated to celebrating our youngest learners and the adults in their lives. These are challenging years our children and communities are facing, and through these ever-changing times, continuing to provide safe, engaging, and enriching spaces for our youngest children is more critical than ever. This is our opportunity to lift up and shine a light on the nurturing spaces that parents, caregivers, and teachers provide for our youngest learners.

Early learning is critical in establishing strong foundations that ensure students are prepared and equipped for success in their future. Over the past 50 years, brain research has shown that critical development occurs from the ages of zero to six. 90% of a child’s brain is formed by the time they are six! Early learning opportunities, whether at home, in child care, or in school-based classes, provide building blocks for children as they explore their world and how they fit in it. Research shows access to and participation in early learning experiences supports children in academic gains, healthier lifestyles, and improved social-emotional skills critical to navigate this complex world. 

Parents and guardians are a child’s first teacher.

We would be remiss not to honor and celebrate the families with young children this week. Parents wear so many hats. Not only are they a child’s first teacher, nurse, caregiver, and role model, they are a child’s advocate and cheerleader, and a critical partner to other caregivers and teachers in ensuring the ongoing success of their child. Parenting is complex, never-ending, and can be quite exhausting. The pandemic has forced some families and community members into social isolation, the effects of which can be significant on new parents, young families who need resources, and young children who need interactions with other children in order to properly develop their own social skills. In early childhood family education, guardians and children can come to learn, play, and be together in a setting that promotes healthy habits, community building, and early learning. 

What is early childhood education? 

At C-I Schools, the Early Childhood department provides home visiting, Family Education classes, Early Childhood Screening (required for kindergarten entrance), family events, and preschool. This week we celebrate and focus on the amazing work of our early educators and their teams. Research tells us that it is the reliable presence of at least one supportive relationship and multiple opportunities for developing effective coping skills that are the essential building blocks for strengthening the capacity to do well in the face of adversity. It cannot be said enough - the pandemic has had significant impacts on our lives. We can already see the implications for our children, the youngest of whom do not know a pre-pandemic world. 

These past two years have also shown us how critical it is to be able to cope with circumstances outside of our control, think differently and creatively, be able to change plans fluidly and frequently, and hold onto hope that a new day will dawn. Our early educators are here to support families through these challenging times and find ways to meet children and parents where they are at. We do not believe in a one size fits all approach, and would be honored to be a part of your child’s life. We want to serve you and your family!

In community education, we are fortunate to have access to some funding that supports pieces of our programming. Additionally, some programs and state aid is available to support access to preschool for some families. However, we know it is not enough. As we learn more about the critical role early learning experiences play in shaping a child for success in school and making healthy decisions throughout their life, we need to find ways to provide equitable access to high-quality early education for all. Like so many other financial concerns in schools, this is an issue we need to address through state and federal funding. 

Where can I find more information?

  • Interested in getting connected with our Early Childhood department, checking out class options, or getting more information related to our services for children and families? Check out our website here.
  • Interested in volunteering in our schools and programs? We are always in need of volunteers to support our mission and the great work of educators. Check out our website here
  • Interested in advocating on the behalf of families and children with our legislators? Find out more information about how you can support the endeavor to advocate for additional funding to support critical programs in our schools and communities on this webpage.