The week of April 6-12 in Ashe County will be known as the “Week of the Young Child,” following an unanimous decision by the Board of Commissioners.
A proclamation, read by the commissioners, states that the local organizations are “working to improve early learning opportunities, including early literacy programs, that can provide a foundation of learning for children in Ashe County.”
The Week of the Young Child is celebrated nationally and was created by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This year the theme is based on spring and is called “HOPS,” which stands for Health Opportunities, Parenting and Support.
The main event in Ashe County will be held from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, April 11 at Ashe Family Central.
“Our mission is to advocate for children with special needs, to ensure services are in place to serve their needs and catch them up, ensuring children are identified early if they have a developmental delay or issue,” said Lynn Robinson, the early intervention and family support services for Ashe Services for Aging. “The earlier you find a delay and get services in place, the more likely it is they are going to catch up.”
This year, to promote the week, the Ashe County B5 council is working with the Children’s Developmental Services Agency (CDSA), Ashe County Schools, Ashe Memorial Hospital and other local groups to host a celebration in conjunction with a developmental screening and health fair.
“We want to promote an awareness of developmental milestones,” Robinson said, in reference of getting the signs out to parents, teachers and doctors. “If (children) are not meeting those milestones, they can act on it.”
Robinson said the fair will provide tests for vision, hearing, weight and height. In addition, there will be promotions of other services within the county.
Other events taking place within the week will be a photo opportunity with the Easter Bunny, as well as the Ashe County Public Library hosting puppet making and childhood literacy programs. Robinson said the main focus will be on health and wellness.
“In addition to having fun, we are hoping to have families really benefit from a lot of promotion,” she said. “(We’ll have) some screening and potentially catch some children who are behind, helping them get the services in place to get them caught up.”
Wil Petty can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @WilPetty.