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Region Stories

These stories illustrate how early childhood programs and services funded by First Things First make a difference for young children and families in communities across Arizona.

Home-based Quality First center helps Show Low child be ready for kindergarten

Family standing next to Christmas tree

Mariah Tatum was looking for full-time child care for her newborn son. Chaysen was 8-weeks-old and both parents worked full-time.

“It’s hard to put your trust in other people to care for your child,” Tatum said. After some research, Tatum found Tracy’s Child Care Center in Show Low. The home-based center has a 5-star rating, the highest available through Arizona’s First Things First Quality First program.

Quality First partners with child care centers and preschools across Arizona to improve the quality of early learning programs.

“As full-time working parents, it was extremely important to have someone like Tiffany, to not only love our child like her own, but teach him as well,” Tatum said. “Tracy and her staff have always gone above and beyond when it came to making sure Chaysen was well cared for, and reaching the recommended milestones.”

Chaysen received dental screenings and developmental screenings while at Tracy’s.

“We watched our son reach milestones at such an early age because the teachers at Tracy’s are taught and equipped with the knowledge to help children succeed,” Tatum said.

The teachers at the center read to baby Chaysen daily, helped potty-train him before his second birthday, worked with him to tie his shoes, showed him how to brush his teeth and wash his hands, Tatum said.

“It has been incredible, but now to watch him be so independent and well equipped with knowledge in kindergarten is amazing,” Tatum said.

Chaysen started kindergarten this year and was successful from day one.

“We have learned that without quality programs like these, and people like Tiffany and Tracy, my son wouldn’t be the independent, smart, healthy young boy he is,” Tatum said.

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