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Week of the Young Child (WOYC) is an annual celebration usually observed in the first or second week of April, from April 10 to April 16 this year. It is sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) to promote the importance of early childhood education. The earlier you start with the holistic development of a child the better because the interests they develop during this time stay with them throughout their lives. The early childhood years, from birth till age eight, lay the foundation for a child’s later success in their academic and social life. Therefore, the thoughtful investment in a child’s education during these years can go a really long way.
History of Week of the Young Child
Week of the Young Child was first established in 1971 by NAEYC to highlight the importance of early education and take policy initiatives to advance childcare and early childhood education.
The history of early childhood education (ECE) itself goes back to the 1700s. ECE emerged as a field of study during the Enlightenment era when the literacy rate in certain European countries started increasing. The foundation of ECE was laid down by Enlightenment philosophers John Amos Comenius, John Locke, and Jean Jacques Rousseau. John Locke came up with the concept of the ‘blank slate,’ which stated that this is how children start out and then the environment fills their metaphorical slate. Friedrich Froebel developed the kindergarten program in 1837, which was the first early childhood program to be widely adopted in both Europe and abroad. Maria Montessori, further building on the concept, stipulated that children’s senses should be educated first and then their intellect. But it was not until after World War II that early childhood education began to be seen as an important first step on the ladder of education.
Week of the Young Child timeline
Martin Luther stipulates that children should be educated to read independently so that they can have access to the Bible.
John Amos Comenius writes the first children’s picture book to promote literacy.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children, a nonprofit organization for early childhood education is founded.
Project Head Start is launched, which aims to meet the emotional, social, health, nutritional, and psychological needs of children of low-income families.
Week of the Young Child FAQs
Who is a young child?
In the context of Week of the Young Child, from birth till age eight constitutes early childhood years.
What does early childhood education look like?
ECE is based on activities aimed at social and fine motor skills development. These range from cooking activities, art activities, science activities, and more.
Does early childhood education make a difference?
Research demonstrates that high-quality preschool education can substantially increase children’s chances of succeeding in school and in life.
Week of the Young Child Activities
Proclaim WOYC in your community
To spread the message that Week of the Young Child carries, proclaim it in your own community. NAEYC has a toolkit available on their website to request a proclamation from elected officials of the community. So take your part to raise better leaders of tomorrow!
Plan an event
You can also plan an event in your community to highlight the importance of early childhood education by engaging people in different activities. Arrange a family workshop, inviting parents and their children, and plan some arts and crafts and other social activities that require children to work together and practice social skills.
Spread the word
Promote the importance of Week of the Young Child by taking to social media and sharing posts, photos, and resources using the hashtag #WOYC21. You never know, the information might help in the early development of a child!
5 Interesting Facts About Impacts Of Early Childhood Education
It helps combat crimes
ECE helps prevent teenage pregnancy and reduces the overall crime rate.
Saves education investment
ECE provides a 10% return on parents’ investment in child education.
Awareness of sexual harassment
Women who went to preschool when they were young are more aware of sexual harassment.
Decreases grade retention
ECE reduces grade retention and remedial education.
Improves health outcomes
ECE reduces risky health behaviors and prevents or delays the likelihood of developing chronic diseases in adulthood.
Why Week of the Young Child is Important
It spreads awareness about the importance of early learning
A child’s brain is like a sponge that absorbs everything going around them. This idea of an absorbent mind is at the core of the concept of early childhood education. Week of the Young Child highlights this fact and reiterates the importance of the early development of a child in order to help them have a brighter future.
It advances ECE as a profession
Week of the Young Child educates the public and advances the profession of ECE by providing resources and promoting ECE as a career path.
It advocates for research and policies for ECE
Week of the Young Child pushes for strong and dynamic research and policy initiatives regarding early childhood education.