(HawaiiNewsNow) - The Month 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. The purpose of MOYC 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. It 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. This year's theme for MOYC is Celebrating Childhood.
The Hawaii AEYC is celebrating 40 years of promoting high quality childcare to our keiki.
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. Consider these facts:
Research shows that high-quality early childhood programs help children--especially those from families with low-incomes--develop the skills they need to succeed in school. However, most programs in the United States are rated mediocre, and fewer than 10 percent meet national accreditation standards. Across the nation child care fees average $4,000 to $10,000 per year, exceeding the cost of public universities in most states. Yet, nationally only 1 in 7 children who are financially eligible for child care subsidies is being served, and only 41 percent of 3 and 4-year-old children living in poverty are enrolled in preschool, compared to 58 percent of those whose families have higher incomes.
Federal, state and local government, communities, parents, and the private sector must share in the responsibility of ensuring the well-being of children and families. We can and must do more to create opportunities that help all children and families succeed. We can invest now in our children and families and enjoy long-term savings.