The Week of the Young Child is an annual celebration hosted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers and families. When the dates for this year’s celebration were announced, the Early Childhood Team was eager to plan experiences for our children that would highlight the mission of the week. Our goal was to share the importance of early learning with our neighbors and celebrate together as a community with our families.
Three, four, and five year old children live in the center of the immediate world that they experience everyday; the world of home and the world of school being the two prominent features. When we think about community awareness, partnerships, and service, we know that children are never too young to engage in activism in their community. As an early childhood team, we wanted our children to engage in their local community in ways that were relevant and meaningful to them. The concept of being neighborly is an expression often said at Bennett Day School.
What does it mean to be neighborly? Smiling at our neighbors as we walk to Trio park; sharing the sidewalk with a neighbor passing by; giving a friendly wave to the cars that kindly stop on Fulton as we cross the street. We decided to further the understanding of being neighborly through a special button project.
Teachers and students worked together in the Atelier to assemble buttons made out of student artwork. Prior to assembly, teachers condensed student paintings, drawings, and watercolor projects to roughly a three inch circle. From there, children cut and assembled the necessary parts. As they explored the simple machine of a button maker, students quickly caught the hang of the multi-step process. Students collaborated together as one child located the necessary parts, and the other operated the machine. The final step: adding a small sticker on the back of the button that read: from your Friends at Bennett Day School.
In each classroom, teachers and children discussed the many neighbors we have around our school community and where we could ensure they’d find these buttons. Some classrooms had previously visited local businesses on a field trip, as aligned to the classroom curriculum, and this became the suggestion: Let’s leave baskets of buttons at the bookstore, the coffee shop, the bike shop, the pet store, and the local restaurant. Anyone can take a button.
Students and teachers journeyed to the above mentioned businesses and left a friendly basket of buttons with a sign celebrating the Week of the Young Child. While most classrooms were pleasantly surprised to get a special tour of the business, or some special insight into the day to day operations of a local store, the goal behind the button factory was to be neighborly for the sake of being neighborly. Great joy and satisfaction were felt by the children in simply giving of something that they had worked hard on. In turn, we hope we spread that joy to others in the celebration of young children and the simple smile that a button can bring.
The week was filled with other wonderful events, including extra classes by our Specialist teachers, a Family Breakfast, and a field trip to our Flagship Campus. Enjoy a look back at the week in photos below.