Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 5:08 PM on Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Week of the Young Child

April 21-28, 2012 — Strengthening Families

By SHANNON REID
FOR THE HOMER NEWS

Sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Week of the Young Child combines fun and learning through activities specifically tailored to the needs of young children and their parents. A coalition of individuals and nonprofit organizations concerned with providing early childhood education in Homer, known as Families First, has packed the week of April 21-28 with more than 20 programs, classes, services and meetings. The Week of the Young Child seeks to encourage new parents and families with young children to invest in early learning.

"We're focusing on the young kids," said Jenny Martin, a coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Martin said that every year the program is gaining momentum since the Week of the Young Child started a few years ago. "Everybody sees the importance of this and how it can benefit our community and young community members."

Maureen Moore, president of the nonprofit Sprout Family Services, is a strong believer in early childhood education.

"Good habits start when they are little. Everything has to start from the beginning, or close to it, for kids to be as healthy as they can be," said Moore.

The week is aimed towards parents and kids under 10 years old and kicks off with the Safe Kids Fair on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Homer High School. Other activities scheduled for the week include craft-making at Timeless Toys, a family bird walk on Beluga Slough trail, a preschool story hour at the Homer Public Library, and several play groups.

The Week of the Young Child gained popularity last year with Homer's enrollment into the Imagination Library Program created by Dolly Parton. This nonprofit organization delivers a free quality book every month to a child age birth to 5 years old within a valid Imagination Library zip code. More than 180 children were signed up for the Imagination Library during last year's Week of the Young Child.

As part of Week of the Young Child activities, Raspberry Lane Preschool is cosponsoring a Fairy House Building Activity on April 22 in honor of Earth Day. Participants will collect natural materials and build homes for returning spring fairies, said Lisa Asselin, better known as "Miss Red." As owner and operator of Raspberry Lane Preschool, Asselin is excited about the week focused on early childhood learning. She encourages the public to attend the Homer City Council presentation on Monday that will discuss general issues associated with young children and early education to those in charge of legislation.

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