By Marisa Macy
It started with a smash cake when she turned 1. A layered sponge cake with pink frosting that started dark on the top and gradually got to light pink toward the bottom. Whipping
cream was sandwiched between each layer. This year I will be making my child a frozen vanilla cream cake topped with fresh strawberries from a recipe I found in Nebraskaland magazine. Every year it is a different recipe, but the ritual remains. A custom cake is one of the “I love you” rituals I do with my child to show I care about her.
As early childhood professionals, we can show children and their families love, too. “I love you” rituals can be the way we create our curriculum, play, design our environments, and more. The first week in April we have a ritual that shows children how much we love them when communities celebrate Week of the Young Child. This “I love you” ritual was established by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and has been going strong for more than 50 years. What do you do with the children in your life to show you care?
Making the world a good place for children is our North Star, and community partners are the people who can help us bring this mission to life. In the Kearney, Nebraska, area, we are celebrating the arrival of spring with a camping theme for Week of the Young Child. Each day we have camp-related activities to bring the community together. The camping motif is embedded in Music Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Work Together Wednesday, Artsy Thursday, and Family Friday. In addition to the fun activities, we have community partners who will be sharing information and resources with families of young children. For example, Kearney Public Library will be sharing bookmarks with children and information for people on how to obtain a library card.
Week of the Young Child is about bringing our neighbors together to honor children and families in our communities across America. Happy Birthday, Week of the Young Child! We love celebrating this annual ritual in our neighborhoods. We look forward to many more.
Marisa Macy is an associate professor in the College of Education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She holds the Cille and Ron Williams Chair of Early Childhood Education and in 2022 added the title of Buffett Early Childhood Institute Community Chair, focusing on early childhood education.