Lil’ Sprouts Academy celebrates Week of the Young Child


By Sue Cody

April 5, 2019

Toddlers listen to a story in one room, while older kids paint and work with playdough in another. In the infant room, it is “tummy time,” where staff members encourage babies to interact with toys.

All this is taking place at Lil’ Sprouts Academy, a child care facility in Astoria.

Along with countless other day cares, Lil’ Sprouts will celebrate the Week of the Young Child, April 8-12, culminating in family festivities on Friday.


The weeklong celebration was created to spotlight early learning, young children, teachers, and interaction with families and communities. It is hosted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

“This is a great opportunity to spark staff enthusiasm and remember the importance of what we do every day,” says Erin Reding, preschool recreation coordinator for Lil’ Sprouts. “We also want to create more awareness of the need for childcare in our community.”

A recent Oregon State University study identified Clatsop County as a “child care desert” for children from infants to 5-year-olds. This means there are three children for every child care slot in the county.

“It is such a huge need in our community, and not everyone sees the importance of it,” Reding says. “I thought it would be great fun for our program and create more awareness in community.”

Astoria Mayor Bruce Jones read a proclamation declaring Week of the Young Child at the April 1 City Council meeting.

Week of the Young Child


Reding says Week of the Young Child is in tune with the mission of Lil’ Sprouts to promote early learning, child development, families and support from the community.

During the week, each classroom will have age-appropriate activities that relate to a specific theme:

  • Music Monday: Sprouts will make musical instruments, dance with ribbons and wands, and create their own music, learning language, math and literacy skills.
  • Tasty Tuesday: Health and wellness come together as Sprouts taste different foods and plan and prepare a meal.
  • Work Together Wednesday: Sprouts will work together to promote positive social interactions. Older children will plant seeds in the community garden.
  • Artsy Thursday: Children use their fine motor skills and imagination to create art projects.
  • Family Friday: A celebration for families from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. has activities, including a juggling act, family Zumba, snacks, face-painting, library resources and a visit from Astoria Mayor Bruce Jones.

Lil’ Sprouts is a child care facility sponsored by the Astoria Parks and Recreation Department. It serves around 60 children from infants to age 5, in five age-appropriate classrooms. The Way to Wellville supports early childhood education.

Reding says, “I love what I do and feel very fortunate to be here and do what we do every day.”