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First Things First partners with families and communities to support the healthy development and learning of Arizona’s young children.

Why Early Childhood Matters

90% of a child’s brain develops before they start kindergarten. And research shows that the quality of a child’s experiences in their first five years helps shape how their brain develops.

Kids with positive, stable relationships with parents and caregivers, as well as quality child care and preschool experiences, go on to do better in school and in life. They’re more likely to read at grade level and graduate from high school. They are more prepared for college and career. They also tend to be healthier and demand less from the public welfare system. These are better outcomes for kids that also save taxpayers money.

First Things More First Things

Mom reading with preschool daughter

September is Literacy Month, but it’s always time to read and talk with your child

    Reading together and having back-and-forth conversations help young kids develop the skills they’ll need to become good readers.

    The Parent Kit is here to help you meet the challenges of being a parent.


    Grandparents Day offers opportunity to recognize those grandparents raising grandchildren

    • grandparents

    The relationship between a child and a grandparent is a special bond, a relationship that is celebrated nationally on the first Sunday after Labor Day. This…

    Car seat safety

    New from AAP: ‘Children should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible’

    • safety

    The American Academy of Pediatrics now advises that young kids should ride in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible. This will include almost all children…


    Arizona’s young children drowning rate is double the national rate

    • safety

    Drownings are a top cause of injury-related death for Arizona children. Consider these tips to keep your child safe around water.

    podcast strong emotions stress in young children and parent

    Podcast: What Looks Like Misbehavior Might Be Stress

    • parenting

    Learn how you can recognize the signs of excessive stress and help your little one through the big emotions that come with it.


    Curiosity is key to later school success

    • social-emotional development

    Encouraging curiosity in the early years can help your child do better in school.

    mom hugs her toddler

    More connections, less stress can help single parents do their best

    • single parent

    Single parents don’t have to be perfect. Decreasing isolation, increasing self-care and building a support system are three ways to lower stress. And…

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    Family Stories More Stories


    Yuma mom helps build her daughter’s vocabulary by reading to her from day one

    • parenting education

    When Amy Crawford gave birth to her baby girl, she felt an overwhelming anxiety.​​​​​“We felt lost and scared and did not know what to do,”…

    Boy with graduation cap and certificate

    Developmental screening program helps get Avondale preschooler ready for kindergarten

    • developmental screenings

    Maria Covarrubias of Avondale remembers watching her 3-year-old son Cesar, sitting by the door all day waiting for his older sister to return from…


    Maricopa mom attributes kindergarten success to parenting education program

    • school readiness

    Mid-year of kindergarten at Butterfield Elementary School in Maricopa, 5-year-old Ruby Hoeh’s reading indicators were assessed. She was performing at a…

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