Join the Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC®) to celebrate the early learning community during the Week of the Young Child™ (WOYC) from April 11 – 17!
The theme for #woyc20 is “Step It Up,” which will be celebrated virtually on marylandfamiliesengage.org and @MDEngageEarly on Facebook and Twitter. Sponsored by NAEYC, the WYOC is an opportunity to highlight the needs of young children and to recognize the early care and education providers who meet those needs. This year, family engagement is more critical than ever as schools and programs across the nation are now closed due to COVID-19.
During the 2020 week-long celebration, early care and education providers are encouraged to partner with parents and families by providing resources on the importance of high-quality early learning experiences and emailing/sharing learning activities that they can do at home with their children. The Maryland Families Engage website has a resource collection with a variety of free early learning, family engagement, and family activities that can be done at home. From creative writing and Spanish lessons to fun yoga classes, the website also now features a variety of virtual events for families to continue learning opportunities at home. Check out the virtual field trips!
For additional support, the Maryland Early Childhood Family Engagement Framework puts forth seven goals for family engagement to be used across Maryland’s early childhood system and within individual programs. Specifically, the following activities celebrating WOYC meet Goal Two of the Framework: Family engagement initiatives should promote positive parent-child relationships.
Remember: Strong partnerships between programs and families support lifelong, healthy child development. Below are five fun-filled, WOYC activities to engage children, parents, and families daily, while promoting school readiness and positive parent-child relationships virtually.
It’s Music Monday
Making of the Band: The Family Edition! As a guide, email the Five Tips to Making Music at Home to parents and families. Families can create their own musical instruments at home such as strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion. After creating, ask them to use the musical instruments, download a great song, or check out a virtual dance party, and make a WOYC music video at home. Share the family band live performances with the program and other families on Facebook and Twitter. Remember to tag @NAEYC and @MDEngageEarly using the hashtags #woyc20 and #MDFamiliesEngage.
It’s Tasty Tuesday
Share with your families Cook’s Corner: Recipes for Healthy Snacks, the Two Bite Club (available in English and Spanish), or Smart Snacking for Children. Also, share the 2020 Choose My Plate coloring page so children can add colorful fruit and vegetables to their plates. Encourage families to make healthy meals with their children. Spending time together in the kitchen builds bonds as well as reading and math skills. Ask families to email their healthy meal option ideas to share with the other families in the program.
It’s Work Together Wednesday
Partner with parents and families to host a virtual class meet up on Zoom or Google Hangouts. Share learning activities that can be done at home or just give the children an opportunity to catch up with friends or their favorite teacher.
It’s Artsy Thursday
Ask families to use art supplies and a large piece of paper to create a family tree or a family portrait. Want to get really creative? Other options can include creating a Melted Bead Bowl or Decorated Egg Holder. No art supplies at home? Share the free coloring pages on Nickelodeon Parents or Art for Children Hub. Encourage them to take photos of their family art project. Then ask them to share with the program and other families on Facebook and Twitter. Remember to tag @NAEYC and @MDEngageEarly using the hashtags #woyc20 and #MDFamiliesEngage.
It’s Family Friday
Celebrate the end of WOYC by using the new, virtual Maryland Family Engagement Toolkit for best practices, strategies, and ideas on how to communicate with and engage parents and families, especially during this difficult time. It is more important than ever that you support families by ensuring they have the resources they need to be “their children’s best teacher.”
Help promote family engagement by making sure parents and families have fun and creative learning activities to do at home with their children every single day!