For the young child, the world presents a dazzling array of possibilities and opportunities.
A toy triggers imagination; a story entertains and educates; a yard or playground provides a frontier to explore.
Activities and events for young children - as well as families, caregivers and teachers - will highlight this year's observance of the Week of the Young Child, observed Saturday through April 16.
The community observance is sponsored by the Early Childhood Advisory Council of the United Way of Central Missouri.
The council includes representatives from a number of agencies involved in child development, including: Parents As Teachers; Head Start; Jefferson City Day Care; Special Learning Center; YMCA; Child Care Aware; and the early childhood education programs of the Jefferson City Public Schools and Lincoln University.
Early childhood education and development is a national United Way initiative, according to Theresa Verslues, vice president of the area United Way.
The purpose of the area council, she said, is to identify needs to serve children from birth to age 6.
Needs addressed by the council include:
• Additional day care slots for infants and toddlers from low-income families.
• Local training opportunities for child care providers.
• Week of the Young Child activities to thank child care providers and educate the community.
Those activities - including a children's parade, kite day and story hour - are listed in a supplement in Wednesday's edition.
We encourage participation in those activities. In addition, we urge everyone to consider the dazzling array of possibilities and opportunities to assist the education and development of young children.