Making the most of the ‘Week of the Young Child’

Jenny-Byxbee-greenwich-voices

Circle your calendars because next month we will be promoting and celebrating the Week of the Young Child on April 6 through 12.

This time is set aside to recognize the needs of young children and thank the adults involved in their education and care.  Parents, teachers, caregivers, volunteer tutors and other adults play crucial roles in the lives of young children and we can’t celebrate their efforts and accomplishments enough. This week will give us the chance to do just that.

I am proud to say that in our community we show strong support for early learning.  For instance, on the School Readiness Council I have the privilege to work with many wonderful advocates for young children in Greenwich. Many of them are town leaders and also caring professionals that work behind the scenes and share the goal of strengthening local services and, with that, our community’s welfare.

We are fortunate in Greenwich to have such a caring community and have a School Readiness Council in place.

Additionally, as a community and through of our local United Way we’ve seen an increase and enlarging non-profit pre-school care and education centers and big efforts to promote early literacy programs, such as Reading Champions and many others. Collaboratively, we are working to ensure that our public policies support early learning for all young children and to provide financial support for the advanced training of early childhood educators.

As an example, 15 years ago the Greenwich United Way formed the Early Childhood Council to deal directly with early childhood care needs that had been expressed in repeated United Way needs assessments. The council gathered key local organizations and educators together to plan, coordinate and advocate for services that address the developmental and educational needs of Greenwich children from birth through five years of age and the support that their families require.

Since the creation of the council, the United Way has been a leader in seeing to it that more than 250 new full day childcare spaces for Greenwich families have come into being. This wouldn’t have happened without the planning council’s initial research, the leadership of dedicated volunteers, the collaboration of our community partners and the United Way’s investment of more than $500,000 of its donors’ dollars.

It seems to me that almost every week on the calendar it’s dedicated to something. We have everything from Puppy Awareness Week to National Pizza Week and as much as I love puppies and pizza a lot of these events although are fun, tend to be frivolous. The Week of the Young Child is significant and should get our attention as a community because these early years are so critical towards a child’s development and year quiet frankly we can never get back if not invested in properly.

The Week of the Young Child is a time to remind ourselves that these early years are, in many ways, the most important learning years. In Greenwich, we know and work hard to share our resources wisely and that means both our financial and human resources because we all want to help our young learners succeed.

And to end, it is with deep appreciation and admiration I would like to send to very special thank you to Family Centers in Greenwich where my very own children got their first start, and it truly was a home away from home for us.  And a very special thank you to some beloved educators this year, Ms. Anderson, Ms. Levin, Ms. Sugrue, Ms. Lewis, Ms. McGowan, and Ms. Boruchin.

As committed and caring teachers, that always go beyond the call of duty, I have enormous respect, appreciation, and admiration for all that they do. They have truly made a difference in the lives of many young people, but especially this year with two little Byxbee girls helping them to be their very best selves.

My hope is that every family with little ones has people like these in their lives and it’s important that we take the time to let them know and help make our early care and education programs the best they can be.

 

Jenny Byxbee is the Greenwich youth services coordinator. She may be reached at 203-869-2221 or [email protected]

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