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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.

Flagstaff Quality First center provides stability for young girl during coronavirus pandemic

father in beanie wearing sunglasses with daughter who is smiling and wearing a denim jacket

Earlier this year, Jan Meade and Tally Thomas were left feeling much uncertainty when the coronavirus pandemic started.

Both work in the healing industry in Flagstaff and depend on massage, acupuncture and other in-person healing methods for their income to provide for their family. They knew that the stress of not being able to continue working would create a huge burden on the family. 

Before the pandemic, they both worked part-time in order to spend as much quality time with their family as possible.

“We were so nervous once the pandemic hit,” Thomas said. “We didn’t know what to do, whether to continue sending Lalita to Foresight Learning Center, or not.”  

Foresight Learning Center is one of a handful of child care centers in Coconino County that stayed open once the pandemic hit. The center also participates in First Things First’s Quality First program, which partners with child care and preschool providers across Arizona to improve the quality of early learning. Quality First funds quality improvements that research proves help children thrive, such as training for teachers to expand their skills and achieve their best.

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Quality First

This strategy provides access to high-quality, culturally responsive early care and education. It supports early care and education centers and homes to…

As soon as the pandemic started, Foresight staff implemented additional procedures to provide children, their families and staff with a safe and low-risk environment. As a Quality First participant, Foresight was able to maintain Quality First scholarship funding, which provided additional economic stability to the center. The First Things First Coconino Regional Partnership Council invests in the Quality First program and scholarships to provide quality care to families who might otherwise not be able to afford it.

Thomas felt very reassured that she could continue sending Lalita to the center amidst the world of uncertainty. 

“Once I talked to the teachers at Foresight, I felt that it was safe to continue sending Lalita to child care,” she said.

Thomas is grateful that Lalita was able to remain in a high-quality learning environment.

“I’m in love with Foresight Learning Center. She’s been there a little over a year,” Thomas said. “I love everyone at Foresight. It feels like a second home for her, and I trust them completely. She always comes home happy with tons of art projects to show us!”

Quality child care checklist

Quality child care checklist

Knowing the key elements of quality can help you make an informed decision when choosing a child care or preschool setting for your family.

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