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District 518

Column: Early years are the learning years

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opinion Worthington, 56187
Daily Globe
(507) 376-5202 customer support
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON -- The 2011 Week of the Young Child (WOYC) is April 10-16 and the theme is Early Years Are Learning Years. The WOYC is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association of Young Children (NAEYC), the world's largest early childhood education association with nearly 90,000 members and a network of over 300 local, state and regional affiliates.

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The purpose of the WOYC is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.

NAEYC first established the WOYC in 1971, recognizing that the early childhood years (birth through age 8) lay the foundation for children's success in school and later life. The WOYC is a time to plan how we -- as citizens of a community, of a state and of a nation -- will better meet the needs of all young children and their families.

NAEYC designates the WOYC dates and theme, but events are planned and implemented by local communities. Nobles County has a group of Early Childhood professionals that meet on a regular basis and plan the local event for WOYC. This group is called the Nobles County Children's Cabinet and this marks the 24th year of the event they sponsor -- The Children's Fair! On Friday, April 15, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Worthington High School gym, you'll be able to experience several booths set up by local agencies with activities for children ages birth to age 10. Parents will be able to obtain information about the agencies, too. This is a free event for the whole family.

Last year, 284 children attended with their parents. The largest groups represented were the 1- and 2-year-olds. Agencies that reserve space at the fair are encouraged to have enough of their activities to accommodate 300-400 children. If you haven't given this event a try, we'd love to have you join us for a fun-filled evening.

See you at the Children's Fair on Friday, April 15, 2011. from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Worthington High School gym located at 1211 Clary St.

Tara Thompson is District 518's community education coordinator.

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