NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin State University Early Childhood Lab, in partnership with the Greater East Texas Community Action Program's Head Start, invites the community to participate in the Week of the Young Child, which will be observed Monday, April 11, through Friday, April 15, in Nacogdoches County.

As part of the National Week of the Young Child, Nacogdoches is honoring children and all those who make a difference in children's 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 SFA Early Childhood Lab. "Week of the Young Child is a time to recognize the importance of early learning for all young children and to bring the community together to help give them a great start."

According to Harkness, 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. This weeklong event is a time to recognize the importance of early learning and 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.

To help build excitement for the Week of the Young Child, the annual Family Fun Day will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at Festival Park in downtown Nacogdoches. The free event will feature many fun-filled activities.

During the week, all daycares, schools and other organizations working with children are encouraged to join together to honor them and their families. Each day will reflect a designated theme. The themes are as follows:

Monday, April 11 - Music Monday; Sing, dance, celebrate and learn 
Tuesday, April 12 - Taco Tuesday; Healthy eating and fitness
Wednesday, April 13 - Work Together Wednesday
Thursday, April 14 - Artsy Thursday; Think, problem-solve and create
Friday, April 15 - Family Friday; Sharing family stories.

The SFA Early Childhood Lab and GETCAP's Head Start Program are comprised of early childhood professionals working together to improve professional practice and working conditions in early childhood education and to build public support for high-quality early childhood education programs.

For more information, contact the SFA Early Childhood Lab at (936) 468-4006.