Week of the Young Child

What is it?  One week of each year in which the public’s focus is shifted toward young children, their families and early childhood programs. 
"The purpose of the Week of the Young Child™ 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" National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2012.

When did it start?  It was started by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in 1971.

When is it?  It is always in April.  In 2012 it is April 22nd – April 28th.

Who decides the themes?  NAEYC designates the week each year as well as the theme.  NAEYC also puts together detailed information, suggestions and templates to help communities take part in the Week of the Young Child.

What is the theme for 2012?  Early Years are Learning Years®

Are there other themes to choose from?  NAEYC calls these sub-themes in which you can use for the whole week or focus on one per day.  It would be up to you to determine how to use them.  They are:

  • Play: Where Learning Begins
  • Embracing Diversity
  • Teaching and Teachers Matter
  • Encouraging Health and Fitness
  • Investing in Young Children Benefits All
  • Prevent the Achievement Gap: We Know How
  • Strengthening Families™

Event Handbook?  NAEYC put together a handbook to help you put together an event for the Week of the Young Child™.  The types of events it can help you plan are:

  • Promoting early literacy and learning in your community
  • Thanking teachers in your community and/or
  • Influencing public policy in your community, in your state and nationally

These three main topics are then directed toward affiliates, early childhood programs and organizations.  NAEYC helps make it easier for you to plan an event with this handbook.  You can find the handbook here: http://www.naeyc.org/woyc/eventplanning

Suggested Activities?  The activities focus on six main topics.  Each topic has several activities that you can lead or take part in as well as resource links, phone numbers and email addresses to help you.  The six main topics are:

  • Raising public awareness
  • Public Policy and Advocacy
  • Reading and Writing
  • Violence Prevention
  • Child Health
  • Creativity

To view the different activities: http://www.naeyc.org/woyc/activities

News from previous years?  To see what happened in the news over the years check out the archive: http://www.naeyc.org/woyc/news

If you think it's too late to take part or do any of these types of activities or events, start planning for next year and do a little something for this year!  Recognize yourself, your parents, and your children and post it on Facebook, the ChildCareInfo.com Network, Twitter, a Blog Post or comment here!  That is putting the young children and the mission of this week in the public eye, via social media!

Resource:  National Association for Education of the Young Child (NAEYC), http://www.naeyc.org/woyc, April 12, 2012.


Samantha Marshall, M.A.

Samantha is, just like you, excited to make a difference in our community and our world. With a Master of Arts degree in English Literature, you might ask how she found herself building and writing for a website focused on child care. From 1995 through 2001, Samantha started her career working for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) sponsors which introduced her to the importance of non-profits, community and quality child care. Her experience with Sponsors, State Officials, and Family Child Care Providers left a great and lasting impression. Later in her career and her most recent position at SAGE Publications, an academic publisher, was as a product manager for a new online resource! During this time many of Samantha's passions collided. A love for the written word, children and the proliferation of knowledge as well as a fascination with the resources the internet gives us, building a community for child care on ChildCareInfo.com is the perfect way to make the difference she wanted to. Needless to say, she is very excited to be an active part of creating and building ChildCareInfo.com.