Celebrating Young Children: The Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board (YCB)

By Deby Ziesmer 

Why Celebrate Children?

April is traditionally a time to celebrate things new and fresh. One of the celebrations in our world is Week of the Young Child. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has been leading this national event since 1971. It has been a way to encourage the general population to pay attention to the needs of young children and their families, as well as the many programs out there that support these families. We are encouraged to take some time to celebrate all young children and their families as well as plan for a bright future for the children in our community. NAEYC has many suggestions on their website, which provide ideas of ways to celebrate young children and their providers.

The Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board (YCB)

At the Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board* (YCB), we celebrate children and providers all year long with a big focus in April. The YBC is a bridge between child care center providers, licensed family childcare providers, and informal family, friends and neighbor providers. Through our partnerships providers benefit from our many collaborations such as the vision health task force partnership. 

We have been able to refer children receiving care regardless of the type of provider to screenings promoting vision health. When a child needs additional services we can also help bridge the gap and provide them with the resources to access these services. By working in collaboration we ensure all children, families and providers have access to the services they need to ensure the health of children.

Supporting Minneapolis Children and their Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In a typical year Minneapolis has been host to many gatherings and celebrations that focus on young children and families. Due to COVID-19, the gatherings for 2020 have been cancelled. However, we can still find ways to celebrate children. One of the best ways we can support children and their families right now is to make sure their basic needs are being met. 

Minneapolis has a variety of resources available to help, you can find some of them listed HERE.

During this challenging time we know that parents and caregivers are struggling to balance their own fears, worries and stressors with those of their children and family. Minnesota residents are urged to stay home and the world does not look or feel at all like it should. So, at the YCB we have moved our celebrations online. 

How You Can Help

Below are some ways you can help us to virtually celebrate all young children and their families.

  • Social Media-
    • Take a few minutes to do a shout out to the early childhood program or an educator that has had an impact on your family. Tag them if possible or even better go to their page and leave a review.
    • Share personal stories and pictures. Include the hashtags #WOYC2020 and #ycbb to ensure other participants can view your story!
    • Look back at photos. Scroll through your phone or look through those boxes of old pictures and find the early childhood ones, whether they are of yourself or a loved one.
      • Think back to that moment and cherish the memory of that time. You can also take this time to reflect on the growth of that young person.
      • If you can, find a photo or two that stand out to you and share them on social media using the hashtags #YCBB and #MOYC2020MN. Take this opportunity to share a fond memory with others!

Take this time to reflect on your experiences during 2019-20 and highlight the stories that make you smile, laugh, or feel proud. The Week of the Young Child is a time of celebration and there is no better way to celebrate than by connecting with each other through our stories.

  • Telephone or email
    • If you have their phone number or email, contact your favorite early learning professionals and let them know how much you appreciate the work they do every day to support young children, parents, caregivers, and the workforce.
  • Celebrate yourself 
    • Find ways to do self care this month- binge watch your favorite TV series on Netflix, cook a favorite meal, sit outside in the sun, take a walk or go for a run. There are many things you can do to nourish your soul!

Whatever action you take, share out how you are celebrating you during the Month of the Young Child by using the hashtags #YCBB and #MOYC2020MN on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram! Look through the thread to see how others are celebrating. 

  • Advocate for Early Childhood
    • Now more than ever it is critical to continue to advocate for high-quality early childhood. Connect with our partner organizations such as ThinkSmall, Childcare Aware, and the Minnesota PN-3 Coalition to sign up for alerts that impact the early childhood sector.
  • Complete the 2020 U.S. Census
    • The Constitution requires every person in the United States to be counted—including adults, children, babies, citizens, immigrants, and visitors. It’s critical that we count all kids to ensure communities receive the funding they need to support all children, families, and caregivers. 

Deby Ziesmer is a member of the Minneapolis Vision Health Task Force, a Pritzker Fellow at Minneapolis YCB, and owner of Zisemer Consulting. She has over 30 years experience in early childhood education, nonprofit leadership, and coaching. Prior to consulting, she spent 23 years as a Vice President of the largest accredited nonprofit early childhood program in the region. 

*The Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board (YCB) works with the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minneapolis Public schools. And Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to develop cross jurisdictional goals, strategies, policies and action for the well-being of Minneapolis children and young people. YCB engages young people, in part through YCB’s Minneapolis Youth Congress, as well as community organizations, funders, community leaders, and the general public to realize our collective vision and goals for Minneapolis children and young people.