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Month of the Young Child celebrated

CONYERS -- Several organizations in Rockdale County want the community to celebrate young children and the ones who support them this month especially.

For the first time, Rockdale County is participating in the national movement that proclaims April as the Month of the Young Child.

The month is meant for the public to focus on early child care issues. It also is meant to highlight the needs of young children, who are critically developing before the age of 3, by recognizing and celebrating community partnerships, promoting healthy children and families, recognizing early childhood professionals and advocating on behalf of children and families.

"We wanted to show what we're doing, and we want (early childhood) initiatives showcased," said Jesseca Causey, the early learning coordinator for Rockdale County Public Schools. "It's a big thing in Rockdale County."

Recently, Rockdale County Public Schools have opened an Early Learning Center at RCA and other groups and initiatives have sprouted up throughout the county at various organizations. Groups were able to fill up the calendar this month with activities celebrating and focusing on early child care.

Already, in late March, groups organized a community kickoff and children's festival at RCA, and Rockdale County Chairman Richard Oden signed an Early Learning Proclamation, recognizing the Early Learning Community Based Partnership set up between Rockdale County Public Schools, United Way of Rockdale and other child care facilities and groups in the county.

By signing the proclamation, the county agreed to help improve early learning opportunities, early literacy and parenting programs. The city of Conyers expects to sign the proclamation later this month.

Also this month, organizations like United Way and the Early Learning Center at the RCA are encouraging families in the community to participate in various activities at the Nancy Guinn Library and around metro Atlanta. They also encourage community members to recognize early learning supporters in the area, participate in various workshops and activities and educate themselves about early learning issues.

"It really does take the entire community," Causey said. "We are continuing to grow and expand opportunities for everybody. We want to make sure everyone knows about the resources."

One of the major events taking place this month is the Rockdale Head Start/Hands on Literacy Parade in Olde Town Conyers on Main Street beginning at 10:30 a.m. April 16. About 100 children from Rockdale County Public Schools and other area preschools are expected to parade the streets at that time.

"We hope people come out to watch the kids," Causey said. "Cheer for them and show your support for literacy."