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Plainfield 30th Annual 'Month of the Young Child' Celebration

Ronnell Harrison, Jr. singing "The Greatest Love of All" Credits: Plainfield Public Schools
Dr. Debra J. Sheard, Acting Superintendant, Emily E. Morgan, Pres. Of Plainfield BOE, Dee Dameron, Co-Chair P.I.E.C.E.S., John Stewart, Jr., Chief of Staff and Mayor Adrian Mapp Credits: Plainfield Public Schools
Ms. AdeletoKunbo O. Akinnaso, Director of Dawn to Dusk Care Center, receiving award Credits: Plainfield Public Schools
Richard Wyatt, Dr. Sheard, E.Morgan, D.Dameron, Mayor Mapp Credits: Plainfield Public Schools

THEME:  Celebrating our Youngest Learners, Preschool Through College and Attendance Matters
 
Plainfield, NJ – April 3, 2017 – The Plainfield community celebrates 30 years of advocating and acknowledging young children during the Month of the Young Child in April 2017. At an event this morning at City Hall, the Plainfield Public Schools’ Office of Early Childhood Services and Programs, Acting Superintendent of Plainfield Public Schools Dr. Debra J. Sheard and Mayor Adrian O. Mapp kicked off the month-long celebration with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
 
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) founded in 1926, is the world’s largest organization working on behalf of young children.  NAEYC is dedicated to improving the well-being of all young children, with particular focus on the quality of educational and developmental services for children from birth through age eight.  NAEYC first established the Week of the Young Child in 1971, recognizing that the early childhood years lay the foundation for children’s success in school and later in life.
 
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“The theme for this year’s celebration is Celebrating our Youngest Learners, Preschool Through College and Attendance Matters,” said Evelyn Motley, Director of the Office of Early Childhood Programs and Services for the Plainfield School District. “This year we will also focus on attendance, because attendance matters. It’s important for the children to be in school every day- to learn.”
 
Over twenty years ago Neighborhood House Association spearheaded the concept of a Month of the Young Child parade which included children from childcare providers across the community.  Each year the number of participants grew and in 2009 it was estimated that over 2,000 children and adults marched from Plainfield City Hall to Library Park.
 
For Acting Superintendent, Dr. Debra J. Sheard, today’s event brought her full circle to Early Childhood Education, where she started her career as an educator. “Our children need a great start in their early years and the Plainfield Public Schools are providing that great foundation that will carry them through their future education. We are proud of our early childhood programs and we are seeing the results. This year, Dawn to Dusk Child Care Center, has been awarded top honors by the State of New Jersey for its success in reaching our youngest learners.”
 
For the past 15 years, P.I.E.C.E.S. (Plainfield Initiative for Early Childhood Educational Services), Plainfield Public Schools Early Childhood Advisory Council, unites parents, community members, organizations, and businesses to collaboratively improve the delivery of educational, health, and social services to the preschool community so that we can enhance the lives of children and families in the city of Plainfield.  P.I.E.C.E.S. has assisted in the collaboration of the Month of the Young Child with a celebration.  The parade was replaced with a carnival one year and for the past several years, due to the large number of participants, safety and age appropriateness, the celebration took a different turn to sidewalk and park activities. This year’s exciting plans will unfold while the tradition continues to include young children, from various preschool centers and elementary schools as well as parents, educators, and community members.


 
This year the celebration will start on April 3rd, 9 a.m. with an Opening Day Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to begin the Month of the Young Child by the Plainfield Public Schools Acting Superintendent Dr. Debra Sheard & Plainfield City Mayor Adrian O. Mapp inside City Hall Rotunda. Various community stakeholders are invited to support this momentous occasion.  Immediately following the ceremony, dignitaries will board the Plainfield Fire Truck for a ride through the city visiting the preschool children at their centers. Throughout the month activities will be held at various early childhood centers across town.  A calendar of events has been developed for community participation.  The theme this year is “Celebrating Our Youngest Leaners, Preschool Through College” with a focus on the importance and impact good attendance has on student performance.  The Director of Early Childhood, Evelyn Motley chose this theme due to the fact that student’s being absent at all grade levels impacts college readiness. The early years are the foundation for academic success, so it’s critical that parents understand missing too much school can put a child’s future at risk.   It is very difficult for students to make up the lost opportunity to learn.  10% of 180 school days absent is considered chronically absent.  The US Department of Education is leading “Every Student, Every Day, a national initiative to address and eliminate chronic absenteeism throughout the country, and Plainfield wants to be proactive in ensuring that, Attendance Matters.”
 
On April 27, 2017, 3-7 p.m. our culminating event will include a Free Family Fun Fair where all preschool parents and children are invited to enjoy an evening of interactive activities such as character greetings, face painting, story time readings, art projects, music, food and more.  There will be a number of community agencies in attendance sharing valuable community resources and information. Families will also walk away with gift baskets, prizes, and giveaways.  The Plainfield Police and Fire Departments will provide police vehicles, the fire truck and Sparky, the fire dog for the children to see and enjoy.  This event, a collaboration between Plainfield Board of Education Office of Early Childhood, Community Coordinated Child Care of Union County Strengthening Families Initiative, & Union County Council for Young Children, will be held at Plainfield High School, 950 Arlington Avenue.  Union County Department of Human Services Paratransit System is offering free shuttle service at designated pick-up and drop-off sites.  Parents must sign up for transportation in advance at their child’s preschool center.
 
New Jersey stands as a national leader in providing access and resources for preschool, ranking 2nd in the nation for access for 3-year olds; 16th for access to preschool for 4-year olds; and 1st in the nation for fiscal resources provided. (National Institute for Early Education Research - Rutgers University).  High-quality preschool has been proven to help children succeed in school and graduate from high school.  Children who attend quality, full-day preschools are also less likely to repeat a grade or need expensive special education services.  When children attend a full-day of preschool, we also save taxpayer dollars by getting children on an early path to school success. The Month of the Young Child celebration is another means of advocating for our children’s success.
 
Our programs strive to garner the nurturing support from community stakeholders such as local businesses, schools, city officials, civic leaders, parents and child advocates.  The planning and execution of this event exemplifies community collaboration and commitment from several entities within Plainfield like Plainfield preschools, Plainfield Public Schools, Plainfield City Hall, Plainfield Police and Fire Department, local businesses and many others.
 
In celebration of this month, local businesses associated with the event will display children’s artwork created at the school/center nearest them.  This year the artwork will be on display at the following locations:  Burger King (Clinton Ave.), City Hall, McDonald’s (Front St.), McDonald’s (South Ave.), Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield City Hall, Plainfield Senior Center, Sky Nails, Subway (Front St.), Twin City Supermarket, Wash-A-Load Laundromat, Wendy’s (South Ave.), and many others.
 
You are invited to come out and support our children and the educators that work with them each day to bring communities together for children!
 
For more information please contact Evelyn Motley or Lumishka Cooper-Turnbull at Plainfield Public Schools Office of Early Childhood Programs & Services Department, 209 Berckman Street, Plainfield, NJ 07060, 908-731-4372, emotley@plainfield.k12.nj.us, lturnbull@plainfield.k12.nj.us.
 
30th ANNUAL MONTH OF THE YOUNG CHILD CELEBRATION
APRIL 3, 2017, 9AM- 10AM, CITY HALL ROTUNDA OPENING DAY RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY
PRESCHOOL CENTERS OPEN HOUSE
FIRE TRUCK VISITS PRESHCOOL CENTERS

APRIL 27, 2017, 4PM-7PM CULMINATING EVENT: FREE FAMILY FUN FAIR FOR PRESCHOOL FAMILIES at PLAINFIELD HIGH SCHOOL

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