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MnAEYC Week of the Young Child
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Week of the Young Child™ is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Week of the Young Child™ is a opportunity for early childhood programs across the country, including family and center child care, Head Start, and school districts, to hold activities to bring awareness to the needs of young children, their families and teachers.

The 2017 Week of the Young Child™ is April 24–28

As we know, a child's earliest years are critical in shaping his/her early learning and healthy development. And like never before, the needs of young children and their families are more pressing.

The Week of the Young Child is a time to be reflective of our practice and ensure that each and every child experiences the type of environment - at home, at child care, at school, and in the community - that will promote his/her early learning.

Thank you to all who participated in 2017! See how MnAEYC celebrated below, on Facebook and Twitter, and check out what programs across the country did in honor of the week by searching social media for the hashtag #woyc17.

Check out our program spotlights to see the great work being done for children and families throughout our communities.

Mis Amigos Spanish Immersion

Al-Amal

Rayito Del Sol

Music Monday

April 24

Through music, children develop math, language, and literacy skills - all while having fun and being active! This year, make up and record your own unique version of a song or write your own. Find the beat to connect music, movement, and math. Practice clapping, drumming, or stomping to the beat of the music while counting.

Tasty Tuesday
April 25

This fun, food-themed day is about more than just cheese and crackers. Cooking together connects math with literacy skills, science, and more. With the rise in childhood obesity, you can encourage healthy nutrition and fitness habits at home and in the classroom. Create your own healthy snacks or a cookbook.

Work Together Wednesday
April 26

When children build together they explore math and science concepts and develop their social and early literacy skills. Children can use any building material - from a fort of branches on the playground to a block city in the classroom, or a hideaway made from couch pillows at home. Practice organizing blocks by size. Try building a block tower with large blocks on the bottom and little blocks on the top.

Artsy Thursday
April 27

Children develop creativity, social skills and fine motor skills with open-ended art projects where they can make choices, use their imaginations, and create with their hands. Celebrate the learning children experience when engaged in creative art making. Use any materials - from crayons to paint, clay to crafts. Bring art outdoors.

Family Friday
April 28

Engaging and celebrating families is at the heart of supporting our youngest learners. NAEYC/MnAEYC applaud family members' role as young children's first and most important teachers. Invite parents for a Family Friday breakfast, where children can prepare and share breakfast treats with their families.

 

Join us next year from April 16-20, 2018 as we celebrate Week of the Young Child!

You can celebrate in so many different ways, big and small. Use the following resources to get started!

See Week of the Young Child proclamations declared by Governor Dayton.

 

Program Spotlights

Mis Amigos Spanish Immersion 

Mis Amigos, in operation for 15 years, is a Spanish immersion preschool and child care center with three locations in Hopkins, St. Paul and Minnetonka. All three locations are proud to be accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and 4-star Parent Aware rated.

Mis Amigos has a unique teacher-developed curriculum that builds awareness of the Spanish language and Latin American culture, in addition to creating a warm and lively learning environment to prepare their students for kindergarten. Their program is full Spanish immersion and is led by a teaching staff who are almost all native Spanish speakers. Their staff bring with them their rich cultural heritage, and they work hard to create the best possible experiences for children and families. They recently participated in team-building exercises where they identified the characteristics that best describe their team. Respect (respeto), love (amor), ethics (etica), responsibility (responsabilidad) and friendship (companerismo) were the top words that described the values of the Mis Amigos team.

Their warm school environment creates close relationships with their students and their families. A frequent comment they hear from families visiting the school is that they can tell when they come into the program that children are valued, loved, and safe. When a student enrolls at Mis Amigos, they become part of the MIs Amigos family! They have an active Parent Advisory Board that creates fun ways for families to get together and to support and recognize teachers. They also have two unique performance events each school year in which the classes from all three locations come together at an auditorium to perform for their families.

Their directors and staff have been working on plans for celebrating the 2017 Week of the Young Child. Music is an important part of the Mis Amigos experience, so naturally they will celebrate the week with music-filled activities. One such activity is a Monday morning dance party for children and parents to shake off the Monday doldrums with dancing and instruments. Another activity they are planning is to offer families an opportunity to engage their creative sides with an outdoor art project. They are working on a "Let's Build Together" activity for parents and students working together to build something with blocks and Legos. Finally, they are hoping to offer an opportunity for staff, parents and children to do a service project together.

Mis Amigos celebrates children and families each and every day, beginning with the warm welcome they provide each morning. Then the Mis Amigos teachers share their warm culture with the students each day. They want each child and family to feel as though they are a part of the Mis Amigos family. During the year they create fun ways for families to be involved at school, through activities such as a Winter Fiesta, in which parents team up with their children to compete in fun relay games, and Protagonista Days, in which children get to be the "Star of the Day" and have their parents help share things about their own homes, families, and favorite things.

 

Al-Amal 

Al-Amal started in 1994 and is the first Islamic/bilingual full-time school in Minnesota. They use Splash into Preschool curriculum, and they enhance it with their own special religious and Arabic themes. They offer many opportunities for parents to become involved such as holding parent nights, inviting parents to visit their child's classroom, and also having parents chaperone field trips. The staff of Al-Amal work closely together to make sure they provide children with the best possible environment. They are proud to be NAEYC accredited.

Al-Amal has planned a fun week for Week of the Young Child, including art projects, special games outside and in the gym, and a class party on Friday. They celebrate their children and families each and every day through their religious greeting every morning, putting on their culture dress every Friday, and having family days to celebrate their holidays.

 

Rayito de Sol Spanish Immersion 

Rayito de Sol Spanish Immersion Early Learning Center is a Spanish immersion program that was established in 2003. The program serves children from six weeks to six years at two locations in Minnesota, and have plans to expand their locations and program offerings in Chicago by September 2017.

Rayito de Sol is accredited by NAEYC and has a 4-star Parent Aware rating. They have also been recognized by local area community and business leaders as a top family business in the state of Minnesota.

The program is unique in many ways. The teachers at Rayito de Sol are native speakers from a variety of Latin countries, which is not true for many Spanish language programs. They also offer a full Spanish immersion program that is very focused on their vision to be integrated into the lives of their families as a support system, and to be supporting their own cultural initiatives. These initiatives not only expose students to language immersion, but also strive to teach values that prioritize a positive coexistence between all cultures. They hope to create strong foundations for their children that lead them to always embrace cultural differences and allow them to excel in developing a global society. Children are inspired to be culturally curious and socially engaged, so that when they leave the program they will have the skills and education necessary to continue the movement for uniting humanity for a better tomorrow.

During the 2017 Week of the Young Child, Rayito de Sol plans to focus on children's rights and helping children build their self-esteem. They will discuss exactly what those rights mean, and also will have a parent coming in to read the Children's Rights in Spanish. Additional celebratory activities at Rayito de Sol always include a piñata party.

Rayito de Sol is very partnership-focused. They work with their families in whatever way the can to ensure they are meeting the needs of the entire family; they are about the family unit, not just the child. They encourage family engagement and involvement at shows and special celebrations held throughout the year. They also encourage their families to celebrate together with parent networking events and other community-based activities.


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