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Week of the Young Child at Compass Family Services

Last week, Compass took part in the city-wide celebration of the Week of the Young Child. 58 families (over 180 people) came together for a day of enriching activities as part of the movement to shine a light on the importance of early childhood education. At Compass, families learned and played together while establishing skills that the whole family can employ to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Families learned about food preservation and protective factors, made instruments, took family photos, and built community with other families! 

What is Week of the Young Child?

Week of the Young Child (WOYC) is an annual celebration of early childhood education, enrichment, and development, sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). WOYC was started over 50 years ago to call attention to the importance of early childhood development—specifically development in the first 5 years—in a child’s life. In these first five years, a child’s brain develops more than during any other period of life, making it an incredibly important time for the people who raise, teach, and influence children. WOYC celebrates the programs and services that provide quality education to children during the crucial 0-5 stage of life, and encourages parents, educators, and service providers to focus extra attention on nurturing children’s development during these years.

What activities did families take part in?

Families explored Compass’ main office, visiting a variety of stations to learn, play, connect, and grow as a family. Here are some of the activities that they took part in:

Food Preservation Station: Families learned about ways that they can preserve their produce, so they can minimize food waste in their household! At this station, parents and children tasted different kinds of dehydrated fruits and learned more about dehydrating, pickling, freezing, and making jam. Now families have a number of activities they can do together to maximize the amount of fruits and vegetables they have in their regular diet!

Music Station: Families had a blast making shakers out of toilet paper rolls, rice, and paper, as well as making paper guitars that they got to decorate to reflect their own personal style. Throughout the room, kids showed off their musical skills with the instruments they made, as well as the brand new slide whistles and recorders that they received. We love to get kids excited about music, as exposing young children to music is an amazing way to help them grow. Studies show that when kids engage with music from an early age, their brain development accelerates, particularly in the areas of language and reading. 

Protective Factor Wheel: Each child got to take a turn spinning the wheel for a chance to win a prize, which included different resources that align with certain protective factors. These factors, about which parents learned more at this station, include parental resilience, social connections, concrete support in times of need, social and emotional competence, and parental knowledge of child development. When these protective factors are present in a child’s life, the risk for negative outcomes in that child’s life decreases. For children whose families face unstable housing—something which is considered a risk factor for the outcomes of a child’s life—the presence of protective factors can help to disrupt cyclical and generational poverty and trauma. 

Family Photo Booth: Families got to take professional family portraits! Not only did this station give families the opportunity to have a professional photographer capture them, but it also encouraged the feelings of dignity that we want all families to strive for. Having a professionally shot family portrait gives families something to display–something to be proud of. This instills a sense of pride in families which can empower them to maintain self-sufficiency and promote overall family wellbeing.

Food Station: Families concluded their day at Compass with a healthy lunch and a bag full of groceries that they got to take home. Providing families with a hearty meal and groceries helps combat food insecurity. Young children who grow up in food insecure households struggle to reach their full potential in their social, physical, and cognitive development. While this is a big hurdle to overcome for families who struggle financially, especially as grocery prices rise, Compass takes every chance possible to maximize the amount of healthy food we can provide, so that children and families can thrive.

We are proud to have shared so much joy, knowledge, and hope among families of young children. We see more and more organizations pushing towards an equitable future for families and their developing kids, and we take events like WOYC as a signpost that we are on the right path.

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