This article was originally published in the Racine Journal Times.
The Week of the Young Child (April 8–12), a week in which we celebrate our community’s youngest learners, their teachers and their families, is upon us. It is a time to recognize the important role high-quality early learning experiences play in the healthy development of a child. Fortunately, high-quality experiences do not have to mean expensive or complicated. It is in the everyday moments of play and simple interaction that young minds are shaped and molded for future success in academics and necessary skill sets for life. In celebration of this week, United Way of Racine County has partnered with The Journal Times and community organizations to run a series of articles that provide simple suggestions to transform everyday moments into learning opportunities while bringing to light the wealth of resources and support available to young families in Racine County.
We wrap up this very special week with a Week of the Young Child Celebration this Saturday, April 13 in the Fieldhouse at Case High School (7345 Washington Ave, Racine) from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The event will be held in partnership with Racine Unified School District’s Family Empowerment Day. Visit UnitedWayRacine.org/WOYC for more information. You can celebrate all week long with your family through the daily themes outlined below.
Today is Music Monday! Early literacy skills are developed and strengthened through singing, rhyme and rhythm. Try singing the words to a favorite book or make up your own silly rhyme. Visit the Racine Theatre Guild at the Week of the Young Child Celebration for more information on the magic of singing and dancing in youth theatre.
Tasty Tuesday is a delicious way to celebrate healthy choices and nutrition. Cooking introduces math, science and literacy concepts while encouraging children to try new things. Try making your own recipe for a healthy snack or meal. Plant your favorite vegetable and watch it grow. Master Gardner’s are back at this year’s celebration to help you get your garden started with a seed planting station.
Work Together Wednesday is all about teamwork. Building anything from pillow forts to Lego creations exercises social skills while developing math and science. University of Wisconsin Extension is hosting a Book and Block party at Saturday’s event. Stop in and build with friends.
Get inspired on Artsy Thursday. Kids are meant to use their imaginations, and art projects are a great way to express themselves. Art of all forms encourages fine motor skill development while cultivating creativity. Color a Week of the Young Child post card and return it at the event for a free book! Download the postcard at UnitedWayRacine.org/WOYC.
Family Friday recognizes the important role families play as a child’s first teacher. Making time together creates lasting memories while laying critical groundwork for future success in life. High-quality early learning begins at home. Take time to read each day and register to receive books through Imagination Library (UnitedWayRacine.org/IL). Visit your local library. Go on an outdoor adventure and stop by one of four Racine County Born Learning Trails (UnitedWayRacine.org/BLT). Make spending time together a priority and invest in everyday moments.
Joanee Meyerhofer - Program Coordinator for United Way of Racine County