Military children have unique challenges: permanent-change-of-station moves, a parent’s absence due to deployments and training activities, unfamiliar environments, and uncertain schedules.
To highlight the important role children play in the Armed Forces community, then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger in 1986 established April as Month of the Military Child. It recognizes some 1.9 million U.S. military children ranging in age from infants to 18 years old who have one or both parents serving in the military.
The month-long celebration of military children not only recognizes their sacrifices, but also celebrates their resiliency, talents, strengths and contributions to their military community and their country.
A month of recognition and celebration
Nationwide, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the agency that inspects and accredits early childhood education centers like our CDCs, will celebrate the “Week of the Young Child” this year April 24-28. In the Armed Forces, we dedicate the entire month of April as “Month of the Military Child,” celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers and families.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for military children to see themselves as part of the larger community and to learn that they’re an important part of that military family, the military community, and the country,” said , CDC trainer Karen Kirshenbaum, Ed.D. “As part of that, we want military children to learn who their community helpers are and what they do. And it’s good for young children to see people filling roles not traditional to their gender. For example, a female firefighter, a male cook, a female pilot, a male nurse.”
In facilitating that learning, Kirshenbaum and CDC trainer Maria Simpson invite parents and other male and female professionals on base to make plans to come to the CDCs throughout the month to educate the kids about what they do. Are you a firefighter? Better yet, are you a female firefighter? Both trainers welcome you’re participation. One important suggestion: When delivering your presentation, tailor it to your audience, children age six weeks to five years. To participate, call the contact phone numbers below.
Child Development Centers – Main and Pete East
Here at Peterson AFB, the Child Development Centers – Main and Pete East – and the Youth Center will celebrate Month of the Military Child with a rich variety of activities and special events. Click here for the calendar.
The Month of the Military Child celebration begins with 21st Force Support Squadron Commander Col David Wilson and Deputy Director Dorothy Choate reading aloud the April 2017 Month of the Military Child Proclamation at a breakfast for children and their parents at 8 a.m. Monday, April 3, in the CDC classrooms.
The CDCs have exciting things planned for the whole month, each week with its own special theme and activities. Each Friday at 3 p.m., parents are invited to join their child in music, dance, an outdoor obstacle course, cardboard rally and art fest. (See calendar for more information.)
Week 1, April 3-7 – Theme: Sing, dance, celebrate and learn. On Friday, April 7 – Multi-cultural music & dance with your child. Share your cultural songs, instruments and dances. For all ages at 3 p.m.
Week 2, April 10-14 – Theme: Healthy eating and fitness at home and school. We’ll have visits throughout the week from staff at the HAWC, Commissary, Fitness Center and with other health professionals. On Friday, April 14 – Large motor fun with an outdoor obstacle course, weather permitting. Infants exercise to music. 3 p.m.
Week 3, April 17-21 – Theme: Work together, build together, learn together. We’ll have visits throughout the week from our military community helpers. On Friday, April 21 – Family involvement. Cardboard rally. Infants, family cubes. 3 p.m.
Week 4, April 24-28 –Theme: Think, problem solve, create. On Monday, April 24 – Art Auction: Parents appreciate their children’s artwork and bid on art throughout the week. Money from the auction goes to the Parent Advisory Board, who uses it to help recognize children’s teachers and the contributions they make to early childhood education. On Friday, April 28 – Arbor Day. Collection of artwork bids.
The Youth Center will host a Flashlight Egg Hunt from 8-9 p.m. Friday, April 14. Bring your flashlight to find those colorful gems.
The Youth Center will host Eggstravaganza from 10 a.m.-noon. Saturday, April 15. It’s part of “Hop on Over,” a trio of Easter-related festivities on base for kids and their parents. The Youth Center will host egg hunts with designated times for specific age groups: 10 a.m. for ages 0-4, 10:30 a.m. for ages 5-8, and 11 a.m. for ages 9-11. Plus, we’ll have a special guest – a big, white, furry rabbit who goes by the name of Easter Bunny. He’ll be delighted to pose with your child and have you snap photos, so bring your camera! For more information, call 719-556-7220.
Note: The other two “Hop on Over” events on April 15 include Splash for Eggs from 12:30-2:30 p.m. at the Aquatics Center(719-556-4608), admission is $3 members, $4 non-members and Bowling with the Easter Bunny from 3-5 p.m. at the Bowling Center (719-556-4607). Kids bowl one free game, $2/each additional game, parents $2/game; the first 50 kids who come in to bowl get a free chocolate Easter Bunny.
The Youth Center will offer Operation MegaPhone Teen Lock-In, April 28-29, in partnership with Fort Carson Army Post. Details to be announced, so watch www.21fss.com.
For more information
If you’d like to educate our military youth in April about your role in our community or for more information about Child and Youth Programs, please call the CDC Main at 719-554-9577, the Pete East CDC at 719-556-7460 or the Youth Center at 719-556-7220. Ask to speak to the trainer on staff.