There are few sights more tender and peaceful than that of a sleeping baby: all the innocence, all the promise wrapped inside that small bundle. We tend to tip toe around an infant asleep. And well we should. A very young child’s brain is producing seven hundred neuron connections a second, there is a lot going in that sweet, small head. By the time that miniature human being is five years old, eighty percent of the child’s brain development will have occurred. Eighty percent! No matter how much longer that baby boy or baby girl lives, those first five years of life remain, by far, the most important for the development of their minds. That is why it is essential to make our babies safe: hold them close and keep them warm when it is cold, cool when it is hot. It is so very important that those rapidly developing brains be stimulated with colors, numbers, nature, songs and stories. Those babies need to be looked in the eye and spoken to; their small and dependent growing bodies need proper and reliable nutrition.
The Week of the Young Child is celebrated this year on April 16 to 21. That is the one time of the year with a direct and national focus upon our very youngest citizens. That is also the week we set aside to honor and appreciate the professionals working in early learning centers. Our preschool teachers are nurturing enormous journeys forward, taken in small baby steps. Whether you have preschoolers of your own or are just someone in line at the grocery store watching the toddler in the grocery cart ahead of you, help celebrate the Week of the Young Child by supporting our very young children and their caretakers. Please always bear in your own mind the miraculous transformations occurring in the developing minds of our little ones. This coming week and always we--as a community and a country--need to look out for our youngest citizens. Our civilization’s future depends upon it.
The Week of the Young Child™ is an annual celebration hosted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers, and families. For more ways to celebrate visit NAECY.ORG