Honoring Children through Committed Service
Child care settings across the country joined in a celebration this month. On April 10-16, they broke out the balloons, blew bubbles and banged drums to honor the Week of the Young Child, now in its 50th year. It might not be a household celebration, but it should be since it recognizes the value of something that matters to families nationwide: the impact of the early years in shaping children’s development and learning. The Week of the Young Child is also a time to pay tribute to the services and programs that set them up for success in school and later in life.
This special week goes back to 1971, also the year when Evelyn Moore co-founded the National Black Child Development Institute. And this month, you’ll read about her achievements as a crusader for equity in early childhood education. As one of the first teachers in the Perry Preschool Project, Moore helped prove that young children who receive high-quality care become more productive adults. She also played a role in shaping the CDA® by ensuring it includes rigorous coursework that lets students earn college credit. “My fight was as much for the educators as for the children,” she says, “because you have more portability and opportunity if you’re a credentialed teacher.”
That makes the CDA a godsend for military spouses who want a career, despite the transient nature of life in the service. Too often, they have no choice but to opt out of the workforce, so Christy LeDuff works with Navy Child and Youth Programs to support the spouses of service members in earning the credential. “Many of our staff move every three years or so with their spouses,” she says, “and when they come to a new installation, it’s very helpful for them to have the credential. Wherever they go, the CDA allows them to have a career.”
Part of their work involves supporting military children on a mission for which they never signed up. They endure long separations from the active-duty parent, living in strange, new places, and losing the friends they leave behind. They say goodbye more often in their first few years than most people do in a lifetime. And we’re now marking the sacrifices they make. April is Month of the Military Child, when we salute these small heroes for their service in the U.S. and abroad.
It’s also Earth Day, when preschools worldwide are doing projects and joining in local events to show children how to protect our planet. Children are singing Earth Day songs, making homemade seed paper, painting with recycled objects and more as you’ll see when you read our Earth Day blog. So, learn how you can introduce concepts like recycling, pollution, planting, composting and reusing. It’s never too early for children to see that they can play a role as community members who help our planet thrive for the generations to come.
At the Council, we’re also working to make the world better for tomorrow’s children, as Dr. Moore points out when he discusses the Promise of the High School CDA. Earning a CDA not only opens doors to rewarding careers for today’s young adults; it also gives them the skills to help young children succeed tomorrow. That’s a key message whenever we mark Week of the Young Child—and the Council is committed to it all year long.
With thanks for your own deep commitment to children,
The Council for professional Recognition