A special recognition awaits area youth during the third full week in April.
The Medical College of Georgia's Child Care Resource and Referral Agency will play host to a ceremony Monday at the Columbia County Amphitheater to launch the Week of the Young Child.
"It's our kick-off event for the week," said Lauren Akins, a parent counselor at the MCG Child Care Resource and Referral Agency. "We have several activities going on during the week, but that's our biggest."
Akins compared the ceremony's festivities to that of a small carnival with activities including face painting, games and a clown. Snow cones also will be available.
Akins encourages child-care providers, parents and children to attend the event. She said the week is meant not only to honor young children, but also to thank those involved in their lives.
"We're honoring and dedicating the staff that works with our children and educates our children," she said. "It's for the children as well as the providers."
Columbia County Commis-sion Chairman Ron Cross will present the proclamation.
"Anytime that you're doing something to help young people get a good start and to honor those people that work hard in education, I think it's very important," Cross said.
Akins said she expects between 200 to 300 participants to attend the ceremony. The event is free and begins at 9:30 a.m.
The remainder of the week's activities will take place in Richmond County.
A free training class based on basic math concepts for 3- to 6-year-olds will be offered to providers 6:30- 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Child Care Resource and Referral Agency on Claussen Road. Children's story time will be Wednesday at the Wallace Library on Laney Walker Boulevard. "Read to a Child Day" takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday at the Child Care Resource and Referral Agency. Parents and providers may visit the agency's lending library Friday and pick up a nutrition guide.
"A few of our goals for the week include promoting early literacy and learning in our community, thanking our educators and providers in our community and influencing public policy in our community, state and nationally," Akins wrote in an e-mail.
The Week of the Young Child is nationally recognized April 13-19. This year's theme is Bring Communities Together for Children, Children Bring Communities Together, Akins said.
"It's really important because it's celebrating the life of a child," she said."
For information, call the MCG Child Care Resource and Referral Agency at (706) 729-2353.
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