Holyoke, Chicopee, Springfield Head Start (HCS Head Start) is excited to once again participate in the “Week of the Young Child.” The purpose of which is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.

What: “Week of the Young Child”
When: Monday, April 8 – Friday, April 12, 2024
Where: Head Start centers in Holyoke, Chicopee, and Springfield
Hosted By: HCS Head Start

Originally created in 1971 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in an effort to recognize that the early childhood years (birth through age 8) lay the foundation for children’s success in school and later life. Now, over fifty years later, this dedicated week continues as an annual event celebrating early learning, and in many parts of our country, including Western Massachusetts, it takes on even more significance as we continue to see the vital need for awareness and focus on the importance of early education.

Although early education is an everyday effort, the “Week of the Young Child” provides a dedicated time to pause and reflect on how providing these educational opportunities to children is key to overall community success. It provides an opportunity for each of us to recommit ourselves to ensuring that every child experiences this type of early environment—at home, at childcare, at school, and in the community.

Holyoke, Chicopee, Springfield Head Start prepares preschool children, not only for kindergarten, but for life. According to the Brookings Institute (2016), children who attend Head Start have a higher likelihood of graduating high school, attending college, and receiving a post-secondary degree, license, or certification. Since Head Starts inception in 1965, the organization has improved the lives of more than 32 million children and their families.

“All the data reinforces how a child’s earliest years are fundamental in shaping their learning and development,” shares Nicole Blais, HCS Head Start Chief Executive Officer, “Yet, never before have the needs of young children and their families in our community been more pressing.”

In addition to early education services, as a multi-service agency, HCS Head Start provides comprehensive programs, services, and support for children and their families, with programs including cooking, money management, parenting classes, a healthy relationships program, and more.

HCS Head Start has planned a fun-filled week of happenings celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers, families, and communities. Children enrolled in HCS Head Start will enjoy “Week of the Young Child” hands-on, collaborative activities encouraging movement and healthy lifestyles through music, food, and art.

The festivities also include special story time guest readers. While some guest readers are still pending, confirmed guests include HCS Head Start Board Members, members of their Health Advisory Board, and the following area mayors:

Mayor Domenic Sarno, City of Springfield: Monday, April 8 at 9 a.m., Carew Street Head Start Center, 65 Carew St, Springfield

Mayor John Vieau, City of Chicopee: Friday, April 12 at 10 a.m., Lincoln Grove Early Learning Center, 216 Broadway Street, Chicopee

In addition, Head Start families are invited to “Ride the Wellness Wave” – a free, health and safety resource fair hosted by HCS Head Start’s Health team on Tuesday, April 9 from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at the Carew Street Head Start Center, 65 Carew St, Springfield. Local community organizations will be on hand to provide information and resources to families in an effort to continue to promote the importance of overall health and wellness for young children and their families. It’s a fact… healthy children are children who are ready to learn!

By Published On: April 8, 2024Categories: Community Calendar

About the Author: GUEST WRITER

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