It’s Never Too Early to ENGAGE, CONNECT AND LEARN! Since 1971, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has partnered with over 60,000 child care providers and family-serving organizations across the nation to highlight the importance of the early years (birth through age 8) through its annual Week of the Young Child™ celebration.
Join the Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood and the NAEYC to celebrate the Week of the Young Child’s 50th anniversary (WOYC) from April 10 – 16! Help spread the word about “the importance of high-quality early learning, and the critical role early childhood educators play in a child’s development and learning.”
The theme for #woyc21 is “Step It Up,” which will be celebrated virtually on marylandfamiliesengage.org and @MDEngageEarly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This year, family engagement is more critical than ever as nationwide schools and programs work with communities to recover and reopen due to COVID-19.
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 six fun-filled WOYC daily activities to engage children, parents, and families while promoting school readiness and positive parent-child relationships.
New Theme Added: A part of our Healthy Green Families project, we added a new daily theme for Saturday: Family Seed Challenge Saturday!
Seed Challenge Saturday (April 10)
Tomatoes, watermelon, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, oh my! It’s the spring planting season and the perfect opportunity to start a healthier lifestyle. Teach children the value of growing their food by planting a family or school veggie garden. Take the Family Seed Challenge.
Music Monday (April 12)
Making of the Band: The Family Edition! As a guide, e-mail the Five Tips to Making Music at Home to parents and families a few days in advance. 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, 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 #woyc21 and #MDFamiliesEngage.
Tasty Tuesday (April 13)
Help children develop healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. Share with your families tips on how to become a Healthy Green Family! Share nutrition tips, fun and creative recipes, and more with The MFE Nutrition Collection on the resources page. Ask families to share their healthy meal option ideas with other families in the program.
Work Together Wednesday (April 14)
Let’s learn something new together! Partner with parents and families to host a virtual class or meet-up on Zoom or Google Hangouts. Start a group project, share learning activities that families can do at home with their children, or just give the children an opportunity to catch up with friends or favorite teachers.
Artsy Thursday (April 15)
It’s a Family Affair! Ask parents and families to use art supplies and a large piece of paper to create a family tree or 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. Share with the program and other families on Facebook and Twitter. #WOYC21 #MDFamiliesEngage
Family Friday (April 16)
Celebrate the end of WOYC by using the new, virtual Maryland Family Engagement Toolkit for best practices, strategies, and ideas on communicating with and engaging 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.