Column: Early Childhood offerings are numerousWORTHINGTON — The early childhood programs in District 518 are dedicated to improving the well-being of all families with children ages birth to 5. Here is a snapshot of what the district has to offer around early childhood.
By: Tara Thompson, District 518, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The early childhood programs in District 518 are dedicated to improving the well-being of all families with children ages birth to 5. Here is a snapshot of what the district has to offer around early childhood.
Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) offers families of young children (birth to kindergarten entrance) classes to attend together and focus on the parent-and-child relationship. The classes meet weekly for nine weeks in the spring session that starts the week of Feb. 6. Parents that have attended classes say, “It is a fun space to have time with my child and we get ideas from other parents and the instructors. We enjoy our time at ECFE and are thankful to have this program available to us.” ECFE’s goal is to enhance the ability of all parents to provide the best possible environment for their child’s learning and growth.
The early childhood years from birth to the start of kindergarten are an important time of rapid learning and growth. The state has mandated that all children attend early childhood screening. The screening is a brief evaluation of young children to identify potential health or developmental delays. It is a known fact that the earlier a delay is recognized and given extra attention, it helps to ensure these children the best developmental outcomes. So, don’t delay, get your child into early childhood screening as soon as you receive the letter of invitation. The screening is specific to the child’s age. Many parents wait to have their child screened so they will do better; this is not the purpose of the screening. Earlier is better!
Early Years Are Learning Years is the theme for Week of the Young Child (WOYC). This annual celebration is nationally recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). 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 locally. The Nobles County Children’s Cabinet (NCCC) has been planning the Children’s Fair for the last 25 years, in recognition of the national celebration. The NCCC is a local group of early childhood educators. Come to the Worthington High School gym on Friday, April 20, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. to kick off the WOYC (April 22-28). There will be booths sponsored by local programs with hands-on activities to enjoy. The evening is geared toward 2-5 year olds, but welcomes families with children ranging in age from birth to age 10 to come and experience the event together. Phil Baker, a children’s musician from Sioux Falls, will be performing two times during the evening. Come enjoy this free event that has been around for 25 years!
The information on the importance of early childhood education continues to come to the forefront. You need to be on the lookout for these hot topics in this area: MN Race to the Top grant, Pre-K to third grade alignment and the need to curb childhood obesity (could an indoor playground be on the wish list for Worthington). Support your local early childhood happenings!
Tara Thompson is District 518’s ECFE Coordinator.