|The Early Years are the Learning Years! Honor early childhood teachers who are at the heart of quality early learning during NAEYC’s Week of the Young Child.™Highlight! The Week of the Young Child is celebrated at early childhood programs across the US and beyond.
What is the Week of the Young Child™?
The Week of the Young Child™ is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the world’s largest early childhood education association, with nearly 80,000 members and a network of over 300 local, state, and regional Affiliates.
The purpose of the Week of the Young Child™ is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.
NAEYC first established the Week of the Young Child™ in 1971, recognizing that the early childhood years (birth through age 8) lay the foundation for children’s success in school and later life. The Week of the Young Child™ is a time to plan how we—as citizens of a community, of a state, and of a nation—will better meet the needs of all young children and their families.
In 2011, NAEYC celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Week of the Young Child™. For more information about the history to the event and the 40th anniversary and the history of the Week of the Young Child™, read “Week of the Young Child™ Turns 40!”
Who sponsors the Week of the Young Child™?
NAEYC designates the Week of the Young Child™ dates and theme, but events are planned and implemented by local communities. Celebrations are organized and coordinated by regional, state, and local NAEYC Affiliates, and by individual early childhood programs and community organizations providing services to young children and families.
Local communities may tailor celebrations to meet their own needs. For example, while NAEYC traditionally designates a Week of the Young Child™, some groups generate so much enthusiasm and support that they celebrate the “Month of the Young Child.” Others have modified the dates of their celebration to coordinate with other community scheduled events.
However adapted, the central purpose remains unchanged—to promote the needs of young children, their families, and the early childhood programs that serve them.
Why focus on young children and early childhood programs?
Today we know more than ever before about the importance of children’s earliest years in shaping their learning and development. Yet, never before have the needs of young children and their families been more pressing.
The Week of the Young Child™ is a time to recognize that children’s opportunities are our responsibilities, and to recommit ourselves to ensuring that each and every child experiences the type of early environment—at home, at child care, at school, and in the community—that will promote their early learning.
Read NAEYC’s A Call for Excellence in Early Childhood Education, which describes our vision for all children, all early childhood professionals, all families, and all communities.