Nearly 10 years ago, we hosted our first annual Symposium to share our team’s learnings about the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood learning with the Tacoma community. Dedicated to improving early learning over the years, the Symposium has blossomed into a Child and Youth Centered Community (CYCC) movement, and the focus has shifted from aspirational thinking to action and measurement.
Last year we asked Greentrike Strategic Initiatives Manager coordinating the CYCC movement, Jessica Winston, to share her perspective on how our community can bring about and engage with CYCC. Today, she shares CYCC tips for businesses.
“A child and youth centered business is intentional about considering the children and youth that enter their spaces. If you enter a business and you see traces of children – visual signs that children and youth are welcome – that’s a child and youth centered business.” – Jessica Winston
What Does a Child and Youth Centered Community (CYCC) Business Look Like?
Engaging in CYCC from a business perspective considers the customer experience from a child’s perspective and provides intentional, excellent customer service to all ages. It asks whether or not, from the moment children and youth enter the business, they feel welcome. For littles, it could include books to read while waiting and appropriately sized seating. For youth, think free Wi-Fi, magazines, and décor that reflects them and their culture.
- Are there step stools in the bathroom so little ones can comfortably wash their hands?
- Are there changing tables in both gendered bathrooms?
- Are there activities for children to do while they wait for their grownups to conduct business?
- Does a teenager feel comfortable there?
- Does the sales associate greet children and youth in the same way they greet the adults in the store?
- Are all youth welcome?
- Do BIPOC youth feel safe and welcomed in the space?
- What are the signals that tell children and youth they belong there?
Aside from your interior and exterior spaces, consider what family friendly policies you have in place.
- Are you able to offer flexible work schedules so parents can continue working while staying home with a sick child?
- Do you offer adequate sick leave to parents and caregivers?
- Is it feasible to have a child-friendly workplace?
- Could you offer support in finding childcare as part of onboarding new employees if it’s needed?
Traces of CYCC Businesses in our Community
CYCC businesses can show up in unlikely places. It’s always a pleasant surprise to see a visual cue that says “yes, we welcome children and young people.” After doing an informal poll on social media, here are several businesses people in Tacoma shared as examples of child and youth friendly businesses:
- Antique Sandwich Company
- Trader Joe’s
- Harbor Greens
- Farrelli’s Pizza
- Campfire Coffee
- Puyallup Valley Library
- South Tacoma Honda
- Purpose Boutique
- Red Elm Cafe
- Hi-Voltage Records
- Do you work at or frequent a local business engaging in CYCC? Tag us on social media to share what makes your business a welcoming place for children and youth!
We are embarking on a collective project to make Pierce County the best place for youth and children to grow up. We are currently in the process of gathering input from the young people in our community in order to best craft messaging and visual designs. Your honest input is very valuable to making this vision a reality. Tweens and teens are encouraged to take this five minute survey to help us inform our CYCC branding.