Best Beginnings-Homer invites you to join us in celebrating the Week of the Young Child, “Early Years Are Learning Years,” April 14-20.
The Week of the Young Child is celebrated nationwide, and Homer is proud to show our support for young children and the important people in their lives. This special week will be filled with fun activities honoring families with young children. The activities are all designed with families in mind to help promote the idea that early learning is very important in helping children succeed throughout life.
Play is one of the best ways children can learn. In one afternoon of playing in a pretend kitchen, children can learn to share, they can learn to problem-solve, improve fine- and gross-motor skills, vocabulary skills — the list goes on and on. These skills learned in early childhood play are the same skills our children take into their school years, and the same skills they will fine tune and build upon to guide them through life.
Contributing to the education of our children from the beginning just plain makes sense. The more opportunities we give our children now, the more they will have later in life. In “Schools, Skills and Synapses” (2008 Western Economic Association International) author James Heckman describes how rising high school drop-out rates result in lower college enrollment, which in turn results in slow work-force skills growth, prompting a less productive and weaker economy.
The components of quality early learning — positive and purposeful parenting, high quality and accessible child care, and early education programs — help build strong brains during the critical years from birth to age five. When we build strong brains we strengthen educational achievement and workplace skills, both vital to a productive work force and a strong and vibrant economy and community.
Early learning contributes to the economy in two ways. It saves money by reducing crime, teen pregnancy and welfare dependency. It also generates revenue by paving the way for higher educational attainment and a resulting increase in earning potential.
We have some amazing people and organizations here in Homer working with Best Beginnings-Homer. These groups are focusing on issues such as language and literacy, play spaces — both indoor and outdoor, business and economic impact, community support, and parent engagement and education. Best Beginnings- Homer is collaborating with the Homer Public Library to promote early language and literacy to children all over the Southern Kenai Peninsula. Sprout Family Services has been working with Best Beginnings to continue to bring the Imagination Library to our community as well as healthy indoor and outdoor play spaces.
Please plan to join us for a Community Café and Training on Friday, April 19 at the Islands and Oceans Visitor Center. The program, “Communicating & Networking about Early Education, Young Children & Their Families” is open to any and all who are working with and/or concerned about the care and education of young children and their families. It will be a great time to come together and share our vision and inspiration about our community’s future. Please RSVP by April 12 by contacting Jenny Martin at 435-7101 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Week of the Young Child will include many great activities, so keep an eye out for flyers, or contact Sprout at 235-6044, the Homer Public Health Center at 235-8857. You can also find a list of events at pop411.org, sproutalaska.org/calendar or www.facebook.com/wotyc.
P.S. Don’t forget to check-out the Safe Kids Fair April 27 from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. at the high school.
We are proud to live here in Homer, where we value and understand the importance of even our youngest citizen.
Natalie Betley works at Sprout Family Services and is the daughter of Bonnie Betley, a public health nurse and co-chair for Best Beginnings-Homer, which is sponsoring the “Week of the Young Child” events. Three-year old Kaia Borba, Natalie’s daughter, attends events in Homer for young children and will be participating in all of the “Week of the Young Child” activities.
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