Tyler Celebrates The Week of the Young Child
This week, Champions for Children and the Tyler Early Childhood Professionals Association are participating in a nationwide awareness event sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), “The Week of the Young Child.”
NAEYC is the world’s largest early childhood education association with nearly 60,000 members and a network of 52 Affiliates. 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.
NAEYC first established the Week of the Young Child® 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 Week of the Young Child® 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.
Champions for Children kicked-off the special week with a Childcare Professionals’ Dinner Monday evening. Tyler Mayor Don Warren signed a proclamation at the event declaring this week “The Week of the Young Child.” The Proclamation reads:
The first years of a child’s life are the period of the most rapid brain development and lay the foundation for all future learning.
High–quality early childhood education depends on high–quality early childhood educators who ensure that children, supported by families, have the early experiences they need for a strong foundation.
Children need developmentally appropriate, accessible, and available early care and education and families need sufficient high–quality child care spaces beginning at birth.
Early Childhood Educators need opportunities to acquire critical skills, knowledge, and competencies through career pathways in early childhood fields.
Therefore, be it resolved that the city of Tyler, Texas does hereby proclaim April 2–8 as the Week of the Young Child, and does hereby recognize the complex, valuable, essential, and demanding work of early childhood educators and commit to supporting local early childhood efforts so that all children may have the opportunity to reach their full potential.”
During the dinner, Champions gave out two special awards for early childcare advocates for their outstanding commitment to early education in East Texas.
Vicki Davis of New Life Early Education received the Early Childhood Educator of the Year award. Vicki has been part of New Life Worship Center for 15 years serving as minister to the senior and junior high Students and as Director of Chaplains. During COVID in 2020, she moved me into New Life Early Education to broaden her ministry by working with younger children. “I thought that this was only temporary but God had another plan and vision for my life,” she said. “So, now here I am rooted in childcare. …I so love being a small part of a child’s big world!” She completed the Child Development Associate certification program with Champions for Children while also obtaining her director’s license. “Champions has been a vital part of my training over the last three years,” she said. “I have learned so much from the collective knowledge of the staff.”
Carolyn Wallace was awarded the Early Childhood Professional Legacy Award. She was the director of First Christian Church Mother’s Day Out for 45 years along with her friend and Assistant Director, Susy Mendolia. “My Mother worked at Mother’s Day Out for many years,” Carolyn recalled. “She thought it would be a great idea for me to work there. I started out substituting and finally landed a job. One year later I became the director.” Originally the program was only open two days each week for four hours each day. It was a service to the church and the community so the parents only paid if they could. In 1979, Carolyn licensed the program and in 1980, First Christian Church’s Mother’s Day Out was open five days each week with extended hours as one of the only drop-in programs of its kind in the state of Texas.
Champions is further celebrating young children this week by collecting new books and new teddy bears for the Children’s Advocacy Center. Donations are being accepted all week through Monday, April 10 and can be dropped off at Champions for Children at 4883 Hightech Dr. In Tyler.
Other events include planned daily activities for area childcare centers to use including themes, lesson ideas, activities, and games. The week concludes with “Family Friday” which focuses on engaging families to support our youngest learners because parents and families are children’s first teachers.
Champions for Children empowers children to achieve their full potential by providing education, mentoring, tools and support to caregivers, teachers, and families. For more information, visit championsforchildren.org