People across the United States are focusing on the youngest in their communities during the National Week of the Child.
Sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the week aims to bring attention to early childhood education.
The Child Development Laboratory Center at St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley is celebrating in its own way; first with Tasty Tuesday, where parents and their children made tacos, and then Work Together Wednesday, which involved a clean-up of the playground.
But director Renee Mayse said the main goal is to get communities to focus more on early childhood education, which is crucial to brain development.
“Those first five years are very important, we work very hard here to develop the whole child and the social and emotional part is the most important,” Mayse said. “If the center can make a difference in a kid’s life at this age, they are going to be more respectful, inclusive, compassionate adults.”
The center provides child care services to children ages 6 weeks through 6 years.
Yet Mayse said St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley also offers one of the few labs focused on early childhood education in the St. Louis region. The hands-on curriculum provides training in building confidence, empathy, cooperation and conflict resolution.
"We don't use a boxed curriculum," she said. "The teachers observe the children, take anecdotal notes and set goals for kids. From those goals they plan their curriculum and their environment."
The rest of the Week of the Young Child at the center also includes Artsy Thursday, where kids will work with textured materials, and Family Friday, in which families can donate diapers and wipes to the St. Louis Area Diaper Bank.
In the end, Mayse said it's about making sure children are the focus.
“I think this is really important thing to always bring to the forefront, because I think the change in community begins with the kids at this age … and have people remember and give a voice to the little children, because they’re going to make the difference,” Mayse said.
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