What Is WOYC?

  • February 29, 2024
One boy

We are so excited for another fun-filled week celebrating young children and their families with hands-on, collaborative activities encouraging movement and healthy lifestyles through music, food, and art.

Have questions on how to celebrate Week of the Young Child with our youngest learners? View our FAQs below!


What is the Week of the Young Child®?

The Week of the Young Child® is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the world’s largest early childhood education association, with nearly 60,000 members and a network of 51 Affiliates.

The purpose of the Week of the Young Child® is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.

NAEYC first established the Week of the Young Child® in 1971, recognizing that the early childhood years (birth through age 8) lay the foundation for children’s success in school and later life. The Week of the Young Child® is a time to plan how we—as citizens of a community, of a state, and of a nation—will better meet the needs of all young children and their families.

When is the next Week of the Young Child®?

The next Week of the Young Child® will be April 6-12, 2024

Who coordinates the Week of the Young Child®?

NAEYC designates the Week of the Young Child® dates and theme, but events are planned and implemented by local communities. Celebrations are organized and coordinated NAEYC Affiliates, and by individual early childhood programs and community organizations providing services to young children and families.

Local communities may tailor celebrations to meet their own needs. For example, while NAEYC traditionally designates a Week of the Young Child®, some groups generate so much enthusiasm and support that they celebrate the “Month of the Young Child.” Others have modified the dates of their celebration to coordinate with other community scheduled events.

However adapted, the central purpose remains unchanged—to promote the needs of young children, their families, and the early childhood programs that serve them.

Why focus on young children and early childhood programs?

Today we know more than ever before about the importance of children’s earliest years in shaping their learning and development. Yet, never before have the needs of young children and their families been more pressing.

The Week of the Young Child® is a time to recognize that children’s opportunities are our responsibilities, and to recommit ourselves to ensuring that each and every child experiences the type of early environment—at home, at child care, at school, and in the community—that will promote their early learning.

How have people celebrated Week of the Young Child® in the past?

Check out our WOYC event recap for a look at how classrooms, programs, families, and communities celebrated Family Friday WOYC23!

Here are a few additional descriptions of WOYC events that have taken place in communities around the country:

  •  “We held a Family Writing Workshop where parents were invited to create a book with their children. A book-writing kit was provided, and children and parents shared their books at a show and tell. The books are now part of our library collection.”
  •  “We displayed children’s artwork throughout the center and made a DVD slideshow of the children. Monday was Parent Appreciation Day, where parents were served light refreshments and received a card from their child. Tuesday was Hat Day. Wednesday was Teacher Appreciation Day, with a potluck lunch for staff. It was also Beach Party Day. Thursday was Inside Out Day and Friday we had an ice cream social.”
  •  “Our city granted us a permit to hold a parade and children’s fair celebrating young children. There were over 500 children who paraded down the main street in decorated wagons, tricycles, or on foot. They marched with their child care providers or early childhood teachers. The free fair had booths representing all of the early childhood agencies and other services and also childcare providers.”
  •  “A group of parents and children marched to City Hall. The mayor joined us and read a proclamation adopted by our City Council about the Week of the Young Child. Additionally, we held a press conference sharing information about the importance of quality early care and education.”

For inspiration, resources, and activity ideas, visit our WOYC Resources page!

What are the future dates for WOYC?

  • April 6-12, 2024

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