First Things First: Finding quality child care for your young child

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

First Things First Quality First Center

SAN MANUEL (August 21, 2018) – For the majority of Arizona families, all the adults in the home work outside the home. That leaves many parents with young children with an important decision to make. How does a parent find a quality child care center or preschool for their young child?

  This question is even more important as evidence grows that hiqh-quality early learning settings build a foundation for a child’s later success. Research shows 90 percent of a child’s brain develops before age 5. The positive, nurturing relationships young kids have with adults, from parents to child care and early learning professionals, shape their learning now and throughout their lives. Quality child care and preschool settings help children develop skills like motivation, self-control, focus and self-esteem that are crucial to their success now and once they enter school.

  How can families know what a quality early learning setting looks like? First Things First (FTF) can help with some resources to make the search a little easier.

  First, visit the child care center or home-based program in person and take the Quality Child Care checklist with you to help.  The checklist includes questions such as asking about the teachers’ qualifications the ratio of teachers to students.

  There are also things to observe at the visit, such as watching for positive, nurturing teacher/child interactions  including the teachers making eye contact with the children, smiling and listening without interrupting. 

  Look for places that build on basic health and safety to include:

• teachers and caregivers who know how to work with infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

• learning environments that encourage creativity and imaginative play.

• hands-on activities that stimulate and encourage positive brain connections in children.

• caregivers who provide regular feedback to parents on the development of their child.

  In many Arizona communities, families can also search for programs enrolled in Quality First. As FTF’s signature program, Quality First partners with almost 1,000 child care providers and preschools in Arizona to improve the quality of care for children birth to age 5. Over the past six years, the percentage of programs meeting or exceeding evidence-based quality standards has increased from 25 percent to 74 percent. 

  Through QualityFirstAZ.com, Quality First also provides families with information about the importance of quality in child care and early education; what quality looks like in order to promote learning; and tools to help families find quality child care or preschool programs in their area. And in some cases, a scholarship may be available for the child to attend.

  There’s an online search tool available where families can check if there are centers, homes or preschools participating in Quality First in their area. Keep in mind, that Quality First is a voluntary program for child care centers and preschools and FTF does not have the capacity to enroll all providers in Arizona who are interested in participating. There are many quality programs in Arizona not enrolled in Quality First.

  For more tips to help with their search for quality child care and preschools visit QualityFirstAZ.com.

About First Things First – First Things First is a voter-created, statewide organization that funds early education and health programs to help kids be successful once they enter kindergarten. Decisions about how those funds are spent are made by local councils staffed by community volunteers. To learn more, visit FirstThingsFirst.org.

Staff (5779 Posts)

There are news or informational items frequently written by staff or submitted to the Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner, Superior Sun, Pinal Nugget or Oracle Towne Crier for inclusion in our print or digital products. These items are not credited with an author.


Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwitterby feather

Comments are closed.

  • Additional Stories

    Mountain Vista Closes Kindergarten Class

    October 25th, 2021
    by

    The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us all many things.  One particular lesson I have learned is the importance of rapid, […]


    Hayden, San Manuel to each host first round of playoffs Friday

    October 21st, 2021
    by

      Hayden High School and San Manuel High School, both being the higher seeds in their playoff matches, will host first […]


    Hayden shuts out Bearcats, 68-0

    October 8th, 2021
    by

      On Friday, October 1, the Hayden Lobos met with the Ray Bearcats underneath the lights of the Ray High […]


    Support Local: Family First Pregnancy Care Center and Family Diaper Bank

    October 6th, 2021
    by

    In April 2020, COVID-19 brought much of Arizona’s economy to a screeching halt. All businesses not deemed “essential” were ordered […]


  • Additional Stories

    Hayden shuts out Bearcats, 68-0

    October 6th, 2021
    by

    By Nathaniel A. Lopez Copper Basin News   On Friday, October 1, the Hayden Lobos met with the Ray Bearcats […]


    Lonny Lloyd McNavage

    October 6th, 2021
    by

      Lonny Lloyd McNavage passed away on Friday, Sept. 24, at his residence in Kearny, Arizona.  Lonny was born to […]


    Kearny Police Report – October 6, 2021

    October 6th, 2021
    by

        Items are given to the Copper Basin News by the Kearny Police Department and reflect information available at the […]


    Copper Town Days celebration and car show set for Oct. 9

    October 6th, 2021
    by

      Year after year, for nine years, October has been a time for fun-seeking locals, as well as visitors pouring […]


  • Copperarea

  • Southeast Valley Ledger