Rend Lake College recently joined the nation in celebrating our children with Week of the Young Child, April 3-9.

Week of the Young Child honors the more than 35 million children from birth through age eight in America, as well as the families, teachers and other adults who help children make the most of the opportunities of their early years.

On Friday, April 8, faculty, staff and administrators of the Rend Lake College Foundation Children’s Center joined youngsters at the facility for a short ceremony in honor of the employees to cap off Week of the Young Child.

“This is the best project the Foundation has ever supported,” said Pat Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer of the RLCF.

Beth Mandrell, Reference Librarian at the college’s Learning Resource Center, reads to the children each week. Although she was unable to attend the ceremony, she sent her thanks to the group for allowing her to make a difference in the lives of the children.

Trudee Wynn, Administrative Director of the Children’s Center, said the faculty and staff could be described by the word “CHILD”: Caring, Helpful, Interested, Loving and Dedicated. She said the staff at the Children’s Center works more closely together than any other group on campus.

Associate Early Childhood Education Professor Tina Grounds said she also appreciates the staff, not only as instructors but also on behalf of the students.

“This is exactly how quality child care happens,” Grounds said.

As part of Week of the Young Child, the RLCF Children’s Center hosted Student Appreciation Day, Staff Appreciation Day and an open house, among other activities.

Research and experience clearly show that children’s earliest years are crucial learning years. Week of the Young Child is a chance to celebrate the learning opportunities of young children and to recognize the responsibilities we share for helping them make the most of their early years.

These local celebrations of Week of the Young Child are designated to build broader support for early childhood programs that nurture young children’s early learning and growth. The Rend Lake College Foundation Children’s Center advocates a comprehensive effort to improve the quality of early childhood education, including:

•Providing professional development opportunities and adequate compensation for teachers and staff;

•Improving the health and safety of programs;

•Using developmentally appropriate practices to encourage literacy & learning from birth;

•Supporting the family’s crucial role in early education.

Rend Lake College has numerous early childhood professionals working together to improve professional practices and working conditions in early childhood education and to build public support for high-quality early childhood education programs. The RLC Foundation Children’s Center is an affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the largest organization of early childhood educators and others dedicated to improving the quality of early education programs for children from birth through age eight.

For more information about the RLCF Children’s Center, contact Grounds at (618) 437-5321, Ext. 1396. For details about the Early Childhood Education program, contact the Allied Health Division at Ext. 1251. Both departments can be reached toll-free (in-district only) at 1-800-369-5321.

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