Week of the Young Child

The National Association for Education of Young Children holds an annual celebration of young children, their families, educators, and other caregivers. We use this opportunity to reflect on and recognize the hard work that is parenting and educating young children. While we provide opportunities throughout participating communities to celebrate the Week of the Young Child each year, our main contributions are in the recognition of educators. Each year we recognize educators through parent, family, community, or peer nominations and share the words of support and thanks.

Educator & Caregiver Recognitions have closed

Educator & Caregiver Recognitions have closed

Leaders in Indiana have supported the Week fo the Young Child since 2018. We are thankful for the contributions of our leaders in recognizing and joining in the celebrations of our young children and their families, educators, and care givers. A special thank you to Mayor Scott Fadness of Fishers, Mayor James Brainard of Carmel, Mayor John Ditslear of Noblesville, and Mayor Joe Hogsett of Indianapolis for officially signing proclamations celebrating the Week of the Young Child with our organization.

What is the Week of the Young Child? Learn more here.

What is the role of the Alliance? We made a commitment to our community to continually seek the proclamations from local mayors, as always we work on behalf of children, their educators, their families, and others who love them.

How can I celebrate my child’s teachers during the Week of the Young Child? We are SUPER excited that our educator and caregiver recognitions continue to shed light on the wonderful human network that supports and love our youngest children. Interested in sharing your thanks? Complete the form online here

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Have a question for us? See if you can find the answer here.

What’s your role?

We create and make available networks that support young children, their families, educators, and other caregivers. We do so by asking tough questions, finding answers, and findings the experts.

Do you recommend pre-schools?

No, we do not recommend pre-schools. We do however have a partnership with MyPreK that provides a directory of early learning providers and activity providers that serve children under the age of five. MyPreK is only available in communities where the ELAN team is working. You can find out more at MyPreK.org 

Do you have a political agenda?

Nope! We exist to serve children and our community. We do not exist within structures like K12 schools or government agencies to ensure that we have maximum flexibility to serve our population. That said, our founder is continuously meeting with political servants around the United States to ensure that our message of support for early childhood and community are heard.

Do you take donations?

Yes, we operate as a not for profit organization and are continuously seeking out funds to support our work. If you are interested in having a discussion about donations please contact our Board President via the form below.

Are you open to sponsorships?

Yes, our founder and our non-profit board serve as the decision makers on all sponsorships. If you are interested in supporting our work, or the lives/work of those we serve please reach out using the form below. Or contact our founder directly.

Empathy & Kindness

Empathy and kindness are two of the most critical elements that we can develop in our children. We have been closely following the work out of the Harvard University, Making Caring Common Project. The report from that project is hard hitting and creates a call to action for parents and educators to nurture and support empathy and kindness.

Resources with Actions You Can Take to Support and Encourage Empathy and Kindness

  • Why Teaching Children Empathy (here)
  • Our Favorite Kids Book on Empathy (here)
  • Ages and Stages of Empathy (here)
  • Activity Ideas for Families and Classrooms (here)
  • Design for change Activities and Resources (here)
  • 7 Tips for Raising Caring Kids (here)
  • Capturing Caring Moments activity (here)
  • PDF handout to share with families on Raising Caring Kids (here)
  • Red flags for parents regarding pressure on our kids (here)
  • 5 Tips for cultivating Empathy in Kids (here)
  • Tips for Encouraging Honesty (here)
  • Story Reflections Activity for Kids (here)
  • All the Marking Caring Common Project Resources for Educators (here)
  • Article to Share with Families on Free Time (here)
  • How to Parents with more Empathy (here)
  • Milestones in Empathy (here)
  • Practicing Empathetic Parenting to help Cultivate Healthy Habits (here)
  • 4 Ways to Nurture Kindness (here)

Network & Learn

Join in the fun!

Every year we hold two network and learn events in our ELAN communities. These are times to bring resources in our community directly to the hands of preschool directors and early childhood leaders. These are also opportunities for early learning professionals to connect with one another, reflect on their needs, and celebrate their successes. To join one of our Network and Learn events please reach out to our networking and outreach coordinator.

See our first ever, Virtual meetup with video updates from our friends at local school districts, the Indiana Department of Education, Childcare Answers, and more. HERE
Check out all of the wonderful resources that were shared at our Fall 2019 Networking and Learn Event HERE.
Check out all of the great resources from speakers and stakeholders at the Fall 2018 Preschool Director’s Networking and Learn Event HERE.

Empowering Educators

One of our favorite things to do is empower educators of young children. Take a peak at some of the things we have for educators. When we think about empowering educators, we use evidence to design and spark conversations. Read our summary of What preK-12 educators want in professional learning opportunities here.

Books & Film

There is nothing we love more than igniting conversations about learning in our community. Too often we get caught up in thinking about the mechanics of school, early education, and parenting. We can bypass the mechanics by focusing our energy on conversations around school, early education, and parenting that are grounded in learning.

Book Study Good Stuff

What School Could Be (by Ted Dintersmith)

THRIVE (by Grant Lichtman)

Most Likely to Succeed (by Tony Wagner & Ted Dintersmith)

Why learning?

Learning has been at the core of our contributions since day one. Here is why…

If nothing else in this life I have become a keen observer of humans as individuals, colleagues, leaders, community members, and parents/families. As I’ve continued my efforts to impact eduction, it has become clear that beyond our connected thread of humanness there is another layer that connects us. That layer is our innate curiosity that drives us to learn. The science and attitudinal beliefs about learning are as complicated and conflicting as the stories and histories of us as humans. As a graduate student at the University of Kansas I sat through the state level arguments challenging how schools would teach human history. The premise for the argument; Do we teach creationism? Do we teacher evolution? Do we force the selection of one over the other? Watching that argument play out was my first experience with passionate, conflicting beliefs about humanness and at the same time teaching and learning. I had read books, written too many things to count, led organizations, yet not until that state level argument did I realize the conflicting messages around learning that had been and continued to be erupting within our communities. From that point onward my role as a keen observer started to solidify. I nationally observed the growth challenges of communities struggling to reposition their value and slowly figure out how to position their schools (often without ever clearly stating their organizational beliefs on learning). When we had kids, that observing turned to action, and the Early Learning Alliance Network was born as a means to activate dialogue around one of the most important components of our lives: Learning. As we go on this journey we invite every community to engage, explore, connect, and commit to our kids. They deserve our very best. With gratitude for joining us on this journey…. Jody

Curiosity & Key Skills

The Six Cs & Young Children

Check out our new overview that provides definitions of the sic C’s, what those look like in young children, and what to look for in classrooms that promote and encourage those skills for young children. (see the PDF document here)

Learning Reflection Tools for Kids

Check out examples from ELAN’s team for helping kids reflect on their learning and help educators document learning over time! (see the Learning Reflection example for preK-4th grade here)

My Post-24

Curriculum/Materials/Programs Review

Looking for new curriculum or materials? Take a peak at our new curriculum/materials/program review doc and leap forward with materials that meet 2020 expectations! (see the full rubric here)

Early Intervention Supports

We are committed to supporting all of our youngest learners

Our Disabilities Advocate and network of educational leaders in special education and support services stand ready to help the families throughout our community!

Need an advocate?

Reach out to our Early Intervention Specialist who can provide parent coaching via phone or in person. Peg is an IN-Source certified advocate and has years of experience working to support children and families with unique needs.

Learn more about IN-Source online here.

Autism Support

We are paying close attention to the needs of young children and their families who are facing the challenges and opportunities of an Autism Diagnosis. Read our report here about our work to inform elected officials around recent insurance cuts. 

Terms, Terms, & More Terms

There are so many terms and it is confusing! If you too are confused about all the terms that get thrown at you during early intervention, 504, and the IEP process here is our “friendly” list of terms that we hope help you as you navigate the process. Remember we are here to help, reach out if you need us! (Learn more here)

Key Considerations When Preparing for an IEP Meeting

Take a peak at our tip sheet and resource for families and key consideration when you are preparing for an IEP meeting. (Read more here)

Join our Disabilities Advocacy Network

So often the families that are most impacted by disabilities legislation aren’t aware of the opportunities to share their stories and use their voice. Join our ELAN4Kids Advocacy Network, we will email you when we need your voice to support and advocate for children and families. 

Parents and Preschool

Looking for Support with Kindergarten transitions for your family?

Check out our kindergarten support page here.

Coming soon our questions every parent needs to ask tip sheet for getting ready for kindergarten.

What Should You See In Your Child’s Classroom?

nterested in learning more about what you should see in your child’s classroom? Take a peak at this new resource that was developed by a leader in a  local district.

In the document you will find more details on:

  • How the environment reflects the learners in the room
  • How the teacher assists with building strong relationships in the room
  • How a growth mindset is nurtured
  • How experiential and hands-on learning is valued
  • What conditions of learning are fostered in the classroom to ensure engagement

Take a peak… it is a great resource that will help shape your expectations of what school could be!

Equity and Racial Dialogue

There is renewed call to action for our children and families to understand issues of race and equity. New research clarifies that our children are taught racial prejudice starting at a very young cage. When we know better as parents and educators, we can do better. Check out our resources and support page here.

Parents and Preschool

Join us in our community conversations tour with preschools and parents. During this interactive meet-up parents will get to talk about preschool, their needs, and get some tips and tricks for finding, locating, and vetting preschool programs for your child/children. These are free events that are facilitated by our Networking and Outreach Coordinator, Mrs. Sara Mills Henderson.

Help in Choosing a Preschool

Our team of experts has developed a guide for parents that can help you to choose a preschool for your child/children. Take a peak at this forward thinking document that is grounded in learning science and developmentally appropriate practices. (Read more HERE)

Interested in hosting a parents and preschool conversation?

Drop us a line to get your event scheduled.

Outdoor Learning & STEM

Our STEM Commitment

STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) present a unique opportunity to cultivate curiosity, self-direction, problem solving and much more through play in the early years. As part of our commitment to reignite curiosity in our children we are striving to serve our network in 2020 with a strong focus on STEM.

Outdoor Learning Resources

We are committed to helping educators in our network access and support outdoor learning opportunities for students of all ages. Need help? See below for our tool kit!

STEM in Early Learning

There are so many opportunities to ignite the natural curiosity of our kids. We are committed to helping our network develop STEM Lab experiences for young children and facilitate research on the use of STEM Labs as an opportunity for higher order thinking and developmentally appropriate practices that help all kids see the value in wondering.


  • Read Jody’s latest on Outdoor Classrooms and the benefits of Outdoor Learning [Read more here
  • Teacher–child conversations in preschool classrooms: Contributions to children’s vocabulary development. Findings indicated that professional development increased teacher–child engagement in multi-turn conversations, child-initiated conversations, and teachers’ strategy use. In addition, teacher–child conversations with a high concentration of teacher elicitations and extensions were positively associated with children’s vocabulary gains. [Read more here]
  • The Power of Play: Research demonstrates that developmentally appropriate play with parents and peers is a singular opportunity to promote the social-emotional, cognitive, language, and self-regulation skills that build executive function and a prosocial brain. Furthermore, play supports the formation of the safe, stable, and nurturing relationships with all caregivers that children need to thrive. [Read more here]
  • Dramatic differences in tests assessing preschoolers’ language skills: Preschool is a crucial time for language development. Children born preterm who display deficits in language skills are unlikely to catch up with their full-term peers. That’s why it’s imperative to accurately assess their language skills to determine if they need early intervention. [Read more here]