During the Week of the Young Child, a spotlight invariably focuses on the vital role of parents.
The week-long observance, through Saturday, is being sponsored by about a dozen local agencies.
A number of them were featured in a Sunday story and their representatives wrote informative articles included on two special pages published Wednesday.
Those articles outlined some of the services the agencies provide, but also referenced a necessary common denominator - parental involvement.
• "Learning to read begins long before a child enters school. It begins when parents read to their children, take their children to the library and encourage their children to read." - Eric Lyon, children's programming leader, Missouri River Regional Library.
• "A child's understanding that they are personally accountable for their conduct begins with parents and continues with educators and child care providers." - Nicole Langston, principal, Southwest Early Childhood Center, Jefferson City Public Schools.
• "Parents are essential in establishing healthy habits (eating and exercise) early in their children's lives." - Jamie Hall, physical therapist, St. Mary's Health Center.
• "Keep in mind that child care professionals and families share the desire to provide the best possible experience for the child. Open communication and mutual respect can help ensure quality care for your child." - Janet Robison, early childhood and youth development specialist, Child Care Aware of Central Missouri.
When it comes to a child's education, health care, child care or growth and development, professionals agree the importance of parenting cannot be overstated.
Parents are a child's first teacher, provider and role model.
During this week's focus on young children, also recognize not only the dedicated professionals, but the parents who give their children the time, attention and love they deserve.