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Bringing communities together for children

This week the nation celebrates the Week of the Young Child (April 6-12), an annual event sponsored by the ational Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Founded in 1926, the NAEYC is dedicated to improving the well-being of all young children, with particular focus on the quality of educational and developmental services for all children from birth through age 8.

The purpose of the Week of the Young Child 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.

Today we know more than ever before about the importance of children's earliest years in shaping their learning and development. Yet, never before have the needs of young children and their families been more pressing.

Working families need child care and supportive employer policies to be able to meet the needs of their young children throughout the day.

The U.S. Census Bereau reports the following statistics regarding children and child care arrangements.

• Approximately 19.1% of all family households have at least one child under the age of 6 and 43.5% of all family households have school-aged children living in the home.

• Approximately 12.5 million infants, toddlers, and preschool children (ages 0-4) are regularly in some sort of child care arrangement in the United States, making up 61% of all preschoolers in the United States.

• Approximately 30% of families below the Federal poverty line spent roughly four times the percentage of their income on child care as compared to 8% for other families.

Research shows that high quality early childhood programs help children--especially those from families with low incomes- -develop the skills they need to succeed in school. However, most programs in the United States are rated mediocre, and fewer than 10% meet national accreditation standards.

Families with children under 5 paid, on average, $179 per week or over $9,300 a year for child care, exceeding the cost of public universities in most states.

The Week of the Young Child highlights the NAEYC’s commitment to working with programs across the nation dressing the needs of families with young children.

Local organizations, such as the Northland Foundation and others in the local community strive to support programs that reach children. For instance, the Northland Foundation's Parent Aware Quality Rating System and the incentives available to all licensed child care providers in St. Louis and Carlton Counties helping them become rated or to enhance their current rating.

Half of children in the state of Minnesota are not ready to read by the time they reach kindergarten. By increasing a child's vocabulary by the time they enter school, a child will have the foundation they need to

enter the world of reading.

This publication features information about other local programs, child health, day care facilities and schools in celebration of Week of the Young Child. Information has been provided by the NAEYC’s web site ( as well as local agencies.

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