MECC Cares for Kids April’s our month to celebrate the young child

It’s April, the month when we finally start to see signs of spring sprouting up around us. For those of us that work in the field of early childhood, we celebrate young children during the month of April. We know that there is much to celebrate, and have chosen to expand the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Week of the Young Child to the entire month of April.

The Week of the Young Child is an annual celebration sponsored by The National Association for the Education of Young Children. It’s a time to recognize that children’s opportunities are our responsibilities, and to recommit ourselves to ensuring that each and every child experiences the type of early environment – at home, at child care, at school, and in the community – that will promote their early learning.

The Montelores Early Childhood Council, Montezuma County Public Health Department and other community partners come together annually for the Early Childhood Fair and Celebration, focusing on children from birth to age 5. This will be our fifth EC Fair, and this free event draws over 300 each year. It is held at the Montezuma County Annex on the corner of Montezuma and Chestnut and is being held this year on Saturday, April 26 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

At this event, parents can receive a variety of free screenings for their children: developmental, hearing, vision, dental, social-emotional and more. Parents can fingerprint their children, talk to a doctor, check car seats or purchase one for a reduced cost, as well as receive bike helmet fittings and buy new ones.

Parents can find out what kinds of programs and services are available locally.

Make sure to have children bring their teddy bear, doll or other stuffed animal because they can stop in at the Teddy Bear Clinic to get them checked out. Early childhood centers will be on hand to provide fun activities and answer questions.

There will be entertainment throughout the day and many fabulous door prizes. It’s a fun event for children and parents.

For more information, call event coordinator Tyra at 970-529-0635.

We are hosting our 7th annual Young Artists Show. Artwork will be displayed at both the Cortez Public Library and Walmart beginning April 16. The show is open to children up to age 8, and we ask that the artwork be based on a children’s book.

For more information, call show coordinator Brittany at 970-739-5728.

If you have a child who is in an early childhood setting, consider nominating their teacher/caregiver for “Master Gardener” (provider of the year). Or if you know someone in the community who goes above and beyond for young children and their families, consider nominating them for our “Voice for the Vulnerable” award – an annual award given out to a community member who deserves recognition. These awards are presented at our annual Early Childhood Professional’s Appreciation Dinner in May.

To nominate someone for either award, email Vangi at and state whom you would like to nominate and why.

In April, MECC is partnering with Executives Partnering to Invest in Children to sponsor a book drive to put new and gently used books in the hands of children. There are 22 drop sites for donations in Montezuma and Dolores Counties. Call Katrina at 970-564-3211 for details.

Four-year-olds can pick up a free book at a public library between April 7 and 21 as part of the One Book 4 Colorado program. Call Laura McHenry for information at 970-565-8117.

Vangi McCoy is the coordinator of the Montelores Early Childhood Council, a member of the Dolores RE4 School Board, part time instructor at Southwest Colorado Community College and loves spending time with her family and enjoying life in Southwest Colorado.