For almost 50 years, NAEYC has been celebrating the Week of the Young Child—an annual celebration that focuses public attention on the needs of young children and their families and recognizes the early childhood programs and providers who meet those needs. It is an opportunity for us to recognize our collective responsibility to ensure that each and every child has access to a high-quality early learning experience that promotes their well-being and establishes a foundation upon which all future learning will be built. It is a period of excitement, celebration, and joy!
However, this year is unlike others. As our country continues fighting against the devastating effects of the coronavirus, the child care sector is fighting for its survival. Across the country, child care programs are grappling with the shattering reality that they will not survive the closures caused by COVID-19 without significant public investment and support. Child care providers and early childhood educators are bearing this unmeasurable weight…and yet, in the middle of this crisis, they are creating the space to honor their work, celebrate the young children and families they work with, and continue advocating for the investments they know this field, and young children need, now and in the future.
Over the course of this week, early childhood advocates across the country have been busy securing proclamations and resolutions from their governors, mayors, city councils, and other policymakers to bring attention to the deep value high-quality early learning has in their communities. They are making sure their voter registrations are up to date, while encouraging others to register to vote and pledge to vote, so their voices can be heard in upcoming elections that will determine everything from school board representatives, city council members, mayors, governors, members of Congress, to our President and Vice President. They are working together to create a rallying cry demanding Congress #FundChildCare and this Family Friday, they will join families across the country to take ten minutes to help their communities for the next ten years by completing the 2020 Census.
We know that early childhood educators have an important role to play in the 2020 Census and now more than ever, early childhood educators are leaning into their roles as advocates by reminding families what’s at stake when we undercount young children in the 2020 Census and by utilizing resources, like this storybook, song, and interactive activities created by the Census Bureau or these videos and materials from our colleagues at Sesame Workshop, to make completing the census a fun and family-friendly activity everyone can play a part in.
Will you join us by completing the 2020 Census and taking the pledge to #CountAllKids? We hope so, and look forward to seeing you on social media via the hashtag #woyc20 so you can show us how you use Family Friday as an opportunity to continue engaging and celebrating families and our youngest learners, no matter what.