“Early years are the learning years” is the theme of the 2013 Week of the Young Child, sponsored annually in April by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. In Calvert County, the Interagency Council for Families and Children and United Way of Calvert County’s School Readiness initiative participate in this tribute to our youngest population with a proclamation from the Calvert County Commissioners declaring April the Month of the Young Child and with an annual poster contest involving children in the festivities.
This year’s Month of the Young Child poster contest theme, “My favorite place to read” was in keeping with Calvert Library’s “500 by 5” campaign – promoting the reading of 500 books by the age of five as a good target of literacy success for young children. Hundreds of contest submissions came from schools, daycare providers and families throughout Calvert County. Some of the more creative entries featured a child reading beachside with turtles or while shooting into space on a rocket ship, and others struck a more tender note with a child snug under the covers of their parent’s bed, book in hand. The judges, comprised of Members of the Interagency Council for Families and Children, were so moved by the entries that an honorable mention was included for each age category, resulting in a total of 6 winners.
At the April 9 Proclamation, the winners had their pictures taken with the Calvert County Commissioners and were each given a framed portrait of their artwork along with a backpack full of gifts from H.I.P.P.Y./Healthy Families and Prime Time Children’s Center in Owings. Director of Community Impact for United Way of Calvert County, Jennifer Moreland, congratulated the children and emphasized the role their families played in this success. “You could tell that reading is a pastime they enjoy and most importantly is encouraged at home,” said Moreland. She continued by thanking the Calvert County Commissioners “for honoring this time in a child’s life when so much learning and development is possible if nurtured.” “Our community is very fortunate to have a multitude of agencies that provide evidence based programs in the schools and the community,” she concluded.
Posters of the Month of the Young Child winning entries will be distributed in schools, agencies and storefronts throughout Calvert County in the month of April. The 2013 poster contest first place winners include : Chloe Oberg of Sunderland Elementary School (5 year old/Kindergarten) “My Mom’s Bed”; Ryan Matzen of Solomons Day Care Center (4/5 year old/Preschool) for “On a Rocketship”; and Hayden Derr of Solomons Day Care Center (3/4 year old/Preschool)for “With MeMaws.” Honorable mentions include: Hadyn Harper of Patuxent Elementary School (5 year old/Kindergarten) for “Everywhere”; Ayanna Toye of Yardley Hills Head Start (4/5 year old/Preschool) for “The Library”; and Marlen Martinez of H.I.P.P.Y. (3/4 year old/Preschool) for “The Garden.”
For a full list of school readiness events taking place in Calvert County for the Month of the Young Child, visit www.unitedwaycalvert.org.