Summit County celebrates young children
SUMMIT COUNTY – This week is the National Week of the Young Child, but seven days just isn’t enough time to celebrate and honor Summit County’s little ones.So the local early childhood community has designated the entire month of April as Month of the Young Child – a smorgasbord of activities, educational events and networking opportunities that shine the spotlight on children, parents and child-care providers.”It’s a special month to celebrate the uniqueness of little kids,” said Jann Engleman, Summit County childcare licensing specialist. “You’re only a little kid for five years, and it’s really something to see the interplay among the child, child-care providers and parents and just watching the children bloom.”Through Month of the Young Child, local early childhood agencies hope to educate parents on the importance of their role in their children’s health and well-being and on how to access services and resources for their children.
“The most important thing is to be active and part of your child’s growth and developmental experience in every aspect of their lives that you can be,” said Jill Malay, infant/toddler director of Little Red School House in Breckenridge. “Since so many parents work today, one of the best ways to do that is to get fully involved in their schooling. It’s really important for teachers and parents to be on the same page and have the same ideals in mind for a child.”
Engleman said that local parental involvement in and attention to child development in the early years (birth to 5) has increased dramatically in the past dozen years.”It’s no longer just a matter of dropping off your kid and picking them up at the end of the day. They volunteer and participate in activities and field trips. They’re part of the child-care system, where I don’t think they always were,” she said.
Engleman, who licenses home child-care providers throughout the county, said she’s also seen vast improvements in the caliber of local child-care programs and resources.Summit County has more than a dozen child-care centers and preschools as well as more than 25 licensed home child-care providers. Through a concerted, collaborative effort by local nonprofits, the Rural Resort Region, Summit School District, local childcare providers and the Summit County Commissioners, training and experience among providers has reached a new echelon.
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