The National Association for the Education of Young Children has set aside the week of April 7-13 to highlight and provide support for the importance of the early years.
Key issues facing young children and families in the area today, include:
In the U.S., the percentage of children living with one parent increased from 20 percent in 1980 to 27 percent in 1999.
In 1999, 54 percent of children from birth through third grade received some form of child care on a regular basis from persons other than their parents, up from 51 percent in 1995.
White Salmon has two licensed child care centers serving children age 1-12 and six licensed family child care homes with the availability of caring for 12 infants under the age of 1.
In the state of Washington, 6.7 percent of the population is children under the age of 5.
Of those children, 17.6 percent live in poverty.
It is well known that working families need child care and supportive employer policies to be able to meet the needs of their young children through the day, said Jane Palmer, Mid-Columbia Children's Council Early Head Start coordinator.
She added children, especially those from low-income families need better access to high quality early childhood programs.
"Federal, state and local government, communities, parents and the private sector must share in the responsibility of ensuring the well being of children and families," Palmer said. "We can and must do more to create opportunities that help all children and families succeed. We can invest now in our children and families and enjoy long term savings, with a more vibrant nation of healthy, achieving children and more stable families."
Locally, Mid-Columbia Children's Council Head Start/Early Head Start, White Salmon Preschool, Even Start, Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education, White Salmon Library, Child Care Resource and Referral, and every child care provider supports efforts that enhance the growth and development of the youngest citizens.
During the Week of the Young Child, the library will be having its regular story time on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Each child will trace its hands, creating a "Young Child Wall Mural."
Head Start classrooms will visit the library during the week.
Those interested in Head Start or White Salmon Preschool are invited to visit the programs. White Salmon Preschool and Head Start present weekly parent topics on Monday evenings from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Early Childhood Building.
Child Care Resource and Referral is hosting the first SW Washington Tapestry Conference April 27 in Vancouver. There will be 24 workshops directed to those that teach and provide care for children. Interested persons can call (360) 750-7500, ext. 339.