Babies don’t come with instruction manuals. That’s why First Things First, Arizona’s early childhood agency, works to help families of young children feel confident in their role as their child’s first and best teacher.
From birth to age 5, a child’s brain grows more than any other time in their life. And the early years are the best opportunity to develop the brain connections they need to be healthy, capable, successful adults. That’s why FirstThingsFirst.org has tons of resources for raising babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Everything from tips on how to support tummy time for infants to learning how every day back-and-forth interactions help to build early literacy skills.
One of the most unique things about First Things First is that they fund early childhood programs that are locally focused to ensure that families in communities throughout Pinal are getting the services that local parents need most. In the FTF Pinal Region, this includes supports such as home visitation programs through Child and Family Resources (https://www.childfamilyresources.org/), parenting education programs, such as the Fun Van (https://www.ajpl.org/funvan/) through Apache Junction Library and Strengthening Families (https://extension.arizona.edu/pinal-strengthening-families)through U of A Cooperative Extension and the Quality First program, which helps families have access to quality child care and preschool programs.
Children with access to quality early learning environments, whether at home or in an early childhood program, are more prepared for kindergarten and do better in school. Research shows that when babies, toddlers and preschoolers have caregivers that are engaged in their development, the better they’ll do in the long run. Not only academically, but in their relationships with their classmates.
Visit FirstThingsFirst.org to find out about the free programs offered in your area, to read about families being helped in your community or for ways to get involved. Whether you have a child age 5 and younger in your life or not – investing time, energy and resources in helping kids arrive at kindergarten prepared to be successful is not only right, it’s smart.
About First Things First — As Arizona’s early childhood agency, First Things First funds early learning, family support and children’s preventive health services 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.