Across Arizona, more than 65,000 babies, toddlers and preschoolers benefited from being in child care and preschool programs that commit to improving the quality of care they provide. These nearly 1,000 providers participate in Quality First.
This First Things First signature program funds improvements that are proven to help children learn, grow and succeed. Scholarships also are funded to help more families be able to access these quality early care settings.
But what does quality child care and preschool mean for Arizona’s families? How does a quality early learning environment impact a child?
A few weeks ago we started sharing family stories from families across Arizona whose children were enrolled in a Quality First child care program. They’ll tell you first-hand what a difference quality child care and preschool makes to the lives of their young children and hopefully provide a deeper understanding of why all children need to be ready for kindergarten and beyond.
If you can’t wait and want to read more success stories focused on quality early learning experiences, head to our family stories page.
This week, we’re sharing a story from the FTF Southwest Maricopa Region:
When Eduardo Jr. and Margarita Lino started looking for child care for their 2-year-old son, Albert, they didn’t know what to expect.
Their neighbors had told them of an in-home child care center that offered scholarships for eligible families.
“My first thought was it would just be another place that watched kids, Margarito Lino said. “I was wrong, it was much more. I soon realized that I wasn’t just leaving my child to be watched, I was putting Albert in an environment where he would be nurtured and exposed to early learning.”
With help from a Quality First scholarship, the Linos enrolled Albert at Deshika Perera’s licensed in-home child care in Buckeye, which serves children ages 1 to 5. Perera’s center participates in First Things First’s signature program, Quality First, which uses research proven methods to create nurturing, educational and social environments so children can be prepared for and succeed in kindergarten.
“In the beginning, Deshika would send us text updates and pictures, this really put our minds at ease and helped in the transition of leaving our first born in a new environment,” Margarita Lino said.
The Linos soon began noticing changes in Albert’s desire to explore and his good manners. He also always wanted to learn more because his mind was being stimulated.
Today, Albert is 4 years old and recently tested early into kindergarten. Albert’s younger brother, Ezekiel, now goes to Perera’s in-home child care. The Linos believe Albert’s ability to test early into kindergarten is due to the partnership shared between them and Perera’s Quality First home child care.
“It has helped the boys so much,” Eduardo Lino said. “They have gained so many tools, and we see the difference. They are so smart. But you also have to do your part. Learning begins at birth and you must continue the positive interactions at home. It is a shared responsibility.”