Being a kid is great all the time, but in my opinion, being a little one in April is the best! The month of April is Autism Awareness Month and April 2nd is World Autism Day. Working with young children, I see the effects of Autism on children and their families every day. As an educator, I believe that every child is important and special in their own way, but I love that there is a whole month devoted to fundraising and raising awareness for Autism.
As mentioned above, all children are important and special. That brings me to my next reason that April is a great month for kids – Week of the Young Child! Week of the Young Child is a special week designed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) that celebrates young children, their learning, and their teachers and families. Each day of the week brings special activities: Music Monday, Taco Tuesday, Work Together Wednesday, Artsy Thursday and Family Fridays.
My co-lead and I had a few special things planned for our 2’s this year. We started off the week tie-dying shirts, then made an All About Me book with each child. We ended the week on Family Friday by inviting the parents to join us for an afternoon snack and balloon launch. An explanation of each project is listed below:
We had the kiddos bring in a plain white shirt. We then showed them pictures of different designs they could create. We assisted in tying the rubber bands around the shirts. Next, we soaked the shirts in water. The kiddos picked their dye colors and helped squeeze the dye onto their shirt. We bagged the shirts for 24 hours, then washed them and hung them to dry. Here are some of our shirts drying:
All About Me Books
Each kiddo brought in 5 – 7 pictures that portrayed their family, pets, favorite things, etc. We had the parents write a sentence about each picture. The sentences were typed on papers, and the kiddos glued their pictures down to each page. We then binded the pages together. Each child left with a special book that was just for them! They were so excited to share their pictures with their friends and show their books to their parents when they got picked up!
This was a new idea we tried out for the first time this year. We got a balloon for each child and on the balloon’s ribbon, attached a strip of paper that said: “Week of the Young Child” If found please return to (Center name) (Classroom name) (Address) (Child’s name). We gathered outside with the parents, counted down from 5, and let the balloons go! We waved them all goodbye.
It’s been just over a week since we launched our balloons, and we have received one back! It was found by a teenager about 35 miles North of our childcare center! The kids were SO excited to get a letter back and are anxiously awaiting the return of their own balloons.
The Week of the Young Child is a special week where we go all out just for the kids. We get to break out of our normal routine, do extra fun projects and make amazing memories with our class. What projects or activities have you done during Week of the Young Child?