Valley Celebrates Early Childhood Education

COACHELLA. Calif. - Kids got their hands dirty on Saturday at the "Day of the Young Child" fair in Coachella -- a celebration encouraging early learning in the home, at school, and in the community.

"It's all about the kids and the families, and the resources available to the families here," said Veronica Martinez, an early childhood coordinator with the Coachella Valley Unified School District.

Bringing fun activities with them, those resources turned out -- including local childcare services, free vision clinics, after school and extracurricular programs.

"A place like this, to actually come out and show you look this is what the community has to offer to you. Take advantage of it," said Joel Ruiz, of Indio.

More than 20,000 children under the age of six live here in the Coachella Valley and some of those kids walked away with free books. They also painted, and with noodles, made their own jewelry. Some pre-schools even put on a show for the crowd.

Promoting creativity and art, organizers hope the event would help the Coachella Valley recognize that early years are learning years for young children.

Martinez said early learning is the foundation for a child's success in the future.

"We have pregnant moms already reading to their kids in the womb. I feel it's important from zero all of the way to elementary," said Martinez.

Some parents said the event is a reminder they can appreciate.

"There's more to your education than just in the classroom so events like this, it's important we actually participate in them," said Ruiz.

La Quinta and Cathedral City also held events Sunday to celebrate the "Day of the Young Child," which wraps up the nation-wide "Week of the Young Child."

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