Our View: Focusing on children

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You may have seen the chalk drawings on the sidewalks in front of the Moffat County Courthhouse and in Alice Pleaseant Park downtown this week.

They're the inspired scribblings of Craig's youngest residents who were encouraged to put their stamp on the town during national Week of the Young Child.

The Week of the Young Child is the annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Sunrise Kids, LLC, Preschool and Child Care makes a point to get its young charges involved in activities to celebrate Week of the Young Child. They go on field trips and entertain visitors, such as Dr. Thomas Told and former Mayor Dave Derose.

"It's a way to increase awareness in the community about the importance of children and how it's all of our responsibility to take care of future generations when it comes to child care, education and the people who teach young children," said Judi Whilden, the director of Sunrise Kids.

Later this month (it's also Month of the Young Child), the Early Childhood Coalition will sponsor a Children's Festival with free booths, games and information for parents about raising healthy children. The coalition includes representatives of Horizons Specialized Services, the school district, St. Mark's Preschool, Craig Mental Health, the Visiting Nurse Association and home-based child-care providers.

This year, the coalition's goal is to provide car seats to all children. The coalition also will have an expert on hand during the festival to make sure car seats are installed properly and adjusted to provide maximum protection for the children who use them.

"Each year we try to have a specific goal so we can help parents," Whilden said.

The week and the month are about children, but Whilden thinks it's important for the community to understand and appreciate the people who take care of their children. Child-care providers don't make a lot of money, but they do important work, she said.

We agree and we salute those who nurture and teach our children when we can't be there for them.

It's also important for parents not to be afraid to ask questions about their children's development and seek out professionals what might have answers or know how to refer parents to the right person, Whilden said.

"That's a lot of what the Early Childhood Coalition does," she said. "We try to get information to parents."

We're fortunate that we have a group of people committed to providing the time and resources to ensure that our children get the right start in life. But their work is only as good as a parent's desire to create the right kind of environment to promote their child's early learning.

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