BROKEN BOW–Celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers, families, and communities is what the Week of the Young Child (WOYC) is all about!
The City of Broken Bow not only proclaimed the importance of the WOYC with special presentations by Mayor Rod Sonnichsen, but also honored the week-long event with Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce ribbon cuttings and a GROW Award on Thursday, March 31.
“I would like to think everybody—all the instructors and teachers that do this. These kids are so fortunate to have you and that’s where they all starts. When they get that foundation at this early age that’s who they’ll turn out to be,” Mayor Rod Sonnichsen said.
At each event he continued by saying, “To teach is to touch a life forever. Teaching is one profession that creates all other professions. A great teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart. Every child deserves a champion and that’s you Mary,” Sonnichsen said of Mary Shaw with Precious Angel Daycare.
The Week of the Young Child–established in 1971–is part of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This year’s event is held April 2 thru April 8 as a way to recognize that the early childhood years (birth through age 8) lay the foundation for children’s success in school and later life.
Ribbon cutting ceremonies were held on Thursday to welcome new members to the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce.
Broken Bow Early Head Start Center (part of the Central Nebraska Community Action Partnership) recently joined the chamber. The center has been open for six years and offers home-based as well as center-based options for children ages six weeks to three years.
“It takes a village to raise a child and this is just a small part of our village that’s helping to raise these young children,” Jeannette Birnie said. “Weekly home visits to help parents understand the importance of them being a child’s first teacher. And parents, you really are their first teacher. They watch and do everything that you do. We are so thankful that we have a great community that is also supporting our young families and understand the values in our young families,” Birnie said.
The Broken Bow Super Kids Club also joined the chamber and held a ribbon cutting at North Park Elementary on Thursday afternoon. Megan Crawford said Super Kids Club offers after-school and summer programs for kids. The club hosts at North Park and is open from 7:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the school year and summer, as well as teacher in-service days. There are currently 125 kids enrolled in Super Kids Club.
“Our goal is to enrich the educational character of our community,” Megan Crawford said.
Melissa Crawford of 4 County Kids said that because 90% of a child’s brain is developed by the age of five, those first five years are important to help everyone have a better future. Established in 2018, 4 County Kids aims to support childcare providers that in turn provide safe and engaging care and learning.
“We are so blessed in the community with support for all these young children and their parents. You know, parents are truly the first teacher but as we look through many of the children’s lives, childcare providers are the second,” Melissa Crawford continued. “A big mission for my organization is we support all the childcare providers. They are small business owners. With the pandemic they took a big hit and so I’m just there to help them, provide high quality care, help out children all to have the best start in life.”
After 22 years in operation, Mary Shaw and Sara Arnold of Precious Angel Daycare were presented with a GROW Award from the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce on Thursday afternoon.
Precious Angel is licensed for 45 kids (part-time and full-time) and has a staff of eight between the infant house and the 18 month and older daycare house.
“We pretty much try to accommodate our families with whatever hours they have a need for Monday thru Friday,” Mary Shaw said.
In the last few years the daycare has added on to the facility, put up new fencing, updated the deck and parking area, painted, and installed new flooring thanks to the work of Ripp Construction and Dan Shaw.