The Week of the Young Child is marking its 50th anniversary in 2021. This national celebration is an annual thumbs-up to early learning, young children, their teachers, families and communities.

Happening this year April 10-16, Week of the Young Child will include five different activities for preschoolers in Becker County -- some offered live, some that can be done at home, and others virtual. All are free.

Fran Rethwisch, the coordinator of Detroit Lakes School District’s Early Childhood Family Education and School Readiness programs and the Community Collaboratives Manager for MAHUBE-OTWA Head Start, said organizers were glad to bring back local Week of the Young Child events after a pandemic-related hiatus in 2020.

“Last year, because of COVID, we had nothing, so this year we’re trying to do COVID-friendly events,” she said. “After a year, trying to find a new normal with it is important.”

Becker County’s Week of the Young Child activities are sponsored by area early learning stakeholders including Becker County Public Health and the county Early Childhood Initiative, West Central Initiative, Detroit Lakes Early Childhood Family Education, Head Start and several others.

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The 2021 Week of the Young Child events are:

  • Book Bundle Pack. Throughout the Week of the Young Child, kids who visit the Detroit Lakes Public Library can sign up for the “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” reading challenge and get their own book bag to decorate.

  • Tot Storytime. Happening Thursday, April 15 at 10 a.m., this is a virtual event offered through Early Childhood Family Education. Register to receive a link to join, at DLCommunityEd.com (under ECFE) or by calling 218-847-4418, opt. 1. Register separately, by March 30, for a prop kit that goes along with this story time, which will be available for pick-up on April 8 from noon-6 p.m. at the Lincoln Education Center. Kits are not required to participate.

  • Artwork by Children. Take a walk through the Washington Square Mall to see displays of artwork by local children, available to view throughout the Week of the Young Child. Artwork is submitted by area preschools and childcare centers.

  • DIY Music Making Kits. Kits for making homemade instruments will be available for pick-up on Thursday, April 8, from noon-6 .m. at the Lincoln Education Center. Register for the kits by Tuesday, March 30, at DLCommunityEd.com (under ECFE) or by calling 218-847-4418, opt. 1. Kids can play the instruments during the Celebrating Children! Concert with “Off Duty Chief” Tim Eggebraaten.

  • Celebrating Children! Concert with Tim Eggebraaten. Join this virtual half-hour concert on Tuesday, April 13, at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. or 6 p.m. Register early to receive a concert link for your preferred time. Register at DLCommunityEd.com (under ECFE) or by calling 218-847-4418, opt. 1.

The Week of the Young Child is sponsored annually by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the world's largest early childhood education association, with nearly 60,000 members and a network of 51 affiliates.

The purpose of Week of the Young Child is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs. The celebration was established in 1971, recognizing that the early childhood years (birth through age 8) lay the foundation for children's success in school and later life.