NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin State University Early Childhood Lab and the Greater East Texas Community Action Program's Head Start Program invite Nacogdoches residents to come together for children during the Week of the Young Child April 6-12, a national celebration honoring young children and those who make a difference in their lives.

"All young children need and deserve high-quality early learning experiences that will prepare them for life, and Nacogdoches has a great opportunity to do its part to help young children," said Lori Harkness, director of the Early Childhood Lab. "Week of the Young Child is time to recognize the importance of early learning for all young children and to bring Nacogdoches residents together to help give all young children a great start."

Young children and their families depend on high-quality education and care, which help children get a great start and bring lasting benefits to Nacogdoches, she said. Week of the Young Child is a time to recognize the importance of early learning and early literacy and to celebrate the teachers and policies that bring early childhood education to young children.

"As a community, we share the responsibility to provide all children with a safe, nurturing, engaging, enjoyable and secure learning environment that will give them the necessary confidence to succeed in the present and to deal with later responsibilities in school and in life," said Weldon T. Beard, Head Start director of GETCAP Head Start.

A 10th annual Family Fun Day for the entire community will be hosted from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 5, in Festival Park in downtown Nacogdoches. The event is free and open to the public, and it will offer many fun-filled activities for children and families to do together. Nacogdoches Mayor Roger Van Horn will be on hand to make a proclamation in recognition of Week of the Young Child.

During the following week, all daycares, schools and organizations working with children in the Nacogdoches area are encouraged to participate in events and activities that focus on children and those who work with them. Themes of each day are as follows:

• Monday, April 7 - Physical Activity Day
• Tuesday, April 8 - Promoting Healthy Children
• Wednesday, April 9 - Safety and Community Helpers
• Thursday, April 10 - Literacy Day
• Friday, April 11 - Art/Music Appreciation Day

Week of the Young Child is sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The SFA Early Childhood Lab is an affiliate of NAEYC, the largest organization of early childhood educators and others dedicated to improving the quality of early education programs for children from birth through age 8. Founded in 1926, NAEYC has more than 80,000 members and a national network of more than 300 local, state and regional affiliates.