• April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

    “This month, all over the nation and here in Arizona as well, we celebrate the healthy, happy childhoods all children deserve. We celebrate families and all who care for and protect children. We celebrate communities in which parents, grandparents and caregivers of all kinds are honored and supported.”


  • Q&A with AZAEYC President Melissa Busby

    Later this month, April 24-28, early childhood professionals and supporters across the country will celebrate the Week of the Young Child™, an annual opportunity to highlight the importance of early learning and the educators who support the positive development of young children.


  • Tackling childhood hunger and obesity in Maricopa County

    First Things First regions in Maricopa County are part of a new systems-building partnership looking at ways to tackle early childhood hunger and obesity among young children. 

    This is one example of how FTF works with other community partners to address systemic challenges and improve outcomes for young children.


  • The most important skills kids need to succeed in life

    We all want our children to do well in school, and it’s generally understood that reading is the most important skill for academic success. (There’s plenty of research to support this common-sense belief; reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a strong predictor of high school graduation and college attendance.) 


  • Legislative Day at Arizona State Capitol connects policymakers with early childhood stakeholders

    The inaugural Early Childhood Legislative Day at the Arizona State Capitol on February 13 was a great success with over 200 attendees, including 42 legislators. The event sponsored by the Arizona Early Childhood Alliance (AZECA), of which  First Things First (FTF) is a member, provided an opportunity to share with policymakers why early childhood is critical to the future of our state and how it links to shared priorities, such as healthy children, strong families, greater academic achievement and increased economic development.


  • Champions Corner: AZ pediatrician promotes the importance of the early years

    As a parent of a two young children herself, Dr. Kathleen Vedock practices what she preaches. She knows firsthand the critical importance of the first five years in a child’s development, and she is a vocal champion of that message to both parents and her fellow pediatricians.


  • 4 tips to help prevent tooth decay – and potential future health problems – in young kids

    Untreated tooth decay in baby (primary) teeth puts young kids at risk for future health problems. It can cause damage to permanent teeth and even lead to being more vulnerable to ear or sinus infections. Tooth decay can also affect a child’s speech development and hurt their self-esteem. And it’s a leading cause of school absences later on. 



  • New research shows strong return on investing in high quality early childhood programs

    New research from Nobel laureate economist James Heckman, a professor at the University of Chicago, suggests that investing in quality early childhood programs produces a 13 percent return on investment, which is higher than the 7-10 percent return previously established for preschool programs serving 3- to 4-year olds.


  • 6 ways to help your child be ready for kindergarten

    The new year has just begun, but parents of preschoolers might already be getting notices from their local schools about kindergarten registration. While the big day may still be months away, it’s not too early to start preparing for that first day of kindergarten.