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 8, through Friday, April 12, in Nacogdoches County.

As part of the national Week of the Young Child, Nacogdoches will honor young 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 help prepare them for life, and Nacogdoches has a great opportunity to do our 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 all young children a great start."

Weldon T. Beard, Head Start director of GETCAP, agrees community involvement in early childhood education is of the upmost importance.

"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," Beard said.

The annual Family Fun Day will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at Festival Park in downtown Nacogdoches. This free event will include many fun-filled activities for children and families to do together. This year, the Family Fun Day is being supported by Suddenlink Communication, Nibco, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Texas Agri-Life (County Extension), SFA Early Childhood Organization, Pineywoods Pediatrics, Brandi Cartwright and Eversong, Emily Taravella and River the Support Dog, Susan Gonzalez with Dental Plans, Katherine Sage Temple Childcare in Diboll, Dentaquest, and East Texas Community Health Center.

During the week, all day cares, schools or other organizations working with children are encouraged to join and honor young children and their families. Each day will reflect a designated theme. The themes are:

Monday, April 8 - Music Monday; Sing, dance, celebrate and learn
Tuesday, April 9 - Tasty Tuesday; Healthy eating and fitness
Wednesday, April 10 - Work Together Wednesday
Thursday, April 11 - Artsy Thursday; Think, problem-solve and create
Friday, April 12 - Family Friday; Sharing family stories

The Parent Teacher Organization for the Early Childhood Lab also will host a fajita dinner fundraiser from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. April 11. The food will be provided by Sombrero's and will include fajitas, tortillas, rice, beans and a cookie. Each plate will cost $10, and tickets will be available at the Early Childhood Lab and Family Fun Day.

The SFA Early Childhood Lab and the GETCAP Head Start Program are early childhood professionals working together to improve professional practice and working conditions in early childhood education.

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