After the Stand: Be a Children's Champion
Early Years Are Learning Years
Many of you made a trip to the Lincoln Memorial on June 1st for Stand for Children, or took part in local send-off or welcome-home media events. But in the aftermath of the largest gathering on behalf of children and families ever held, the stand for children is just beginning nation-wide. It's time to gather your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues to take action in your own community.
Start by informing others that the knowledge and experience gained in early childhood is so critical because it helps to shape a child's entire life. Remember that whether you are a parent, an educator, a caregiver or a concerned citizen, you have observations and insights about the quality of life of the children in your community. While it seems the impact of one person alone could hardly make a difference, each individual makes a unique contribution towards ensuring all children and families get the essentials they need to thrive: warm, loving relationships in which their basic needs are met, and an environment that offers challenging opportunities for learning.
Here are five steps you can take as a Children's Champion to make a difference: 1. SPEAK OUT ON BEHALF OF CHILDREN AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY.
Share your information about early childhood education with others-family members, friends, and colleagues.
Speak to school principals, school board members, state representatives, city council members, and members of Congress.
Write or call the editor of a radio talk show. 2. DO SOMETHING TO IMPROVE THE LIFE OF ONE CHILD BEYOND YOUR OWN FAMILY.
Tutor a child after school.
Volunteer at a child care center.
Accompany children on a field trip.
Take a child from your religious
organization to a local museum or zoo. 3. HOLD PUBLIC OFFICIALS ACCOUNTABLE FOR MAKING CHILDREN's WELL-BEING AND LEARNING A NATIONAL COMMITMENT IN ACTIONS AS WELL AS WORDS.
Find out how your public officials stand on issues affecting young children
Support candidates who give first priority to children and family issues.
Be sure to register and vote in local, state and national elections. 4. ENCOURAGE ORGANIZATIONS TO WHICH YOU BELONG TO MAKE A COMMITMENT TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES.
Encourage your employer or club to "adopt" a school or children's program and purchase a needed piece of equipment.
Arrange for members of your religious organization to clean up a neighborhood park and make it more inviting for all children and families. Set up a community scholarship program to help families better afford good early childhood programs, and encourage contributions by local businesses. Start a neighborhood watch group to make your neighborhood a safer place for children and their families. 5. URGE OTHERS TO BECOME A CHILDREN'S CHAMPION.
Encourage your colleagues, friends, neighbors, and everyone you know to raise their voices on behalf of all our nation's children.
Teachers, invite parents
to participate in classroom activities.
Employers, provide release time for parents to spend time in their child's school or program.
Families, consider what can you do to help not only your children or grandchildren, but all children.
© © 1996 by National Association for the Education of Young ChildrenNational Association for the Education of Young Children - National Parent Information Network