I know it’s already Wednesday, but it’s still not too late to celebrate The Week of the Young Child, which is this week, April 22 through April 28! Sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), The Week of the Young Child’s purpose is to center public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs. This year’s theme is “Early Years Are Learning Years.”
T’s school has gotten into the spirit with special activities and events daily this week. Yesterday, there was a luau complete with tropical crafts, dancing, and music. Other days will feature fun extras like a bounce house, bubble mixing center, and a pajama day where all the kids can come to school in their PJs. T had a blast at the luau in his “grass skirt” limbo’ing up a storm!
While this all sounds very playful and not entirely academic, let’s remember that playing IS the way young children learn best. Whether it’s enjoying a new culture through its music, traditions, and clothing at a playful luau, or watching a square bubble wand form circular bubbles no matter how they blow them (then asking why this continuously happens), playing is how children learn new things. In a way, playing is children’s form of work (think about how tired you are after a day’s work, and how tired our kids can be after a full day at preschool – both are mentally and physically taxing!).
I think I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I am grateful that T’s preschool experience has been one where he’s immersed in a completely hands-on, get-down-and-dirty learning environment, one which embraces kids being kids. You’re only a kid once, right RMT’ers?! That said, I am grateful that he’s able to go to a school that celebrates The Week of the Young Child not just this week but year-round.