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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.

Quality First preschool in Goodyear prepares boy with foundational skills

​​For Warner D’Cunah of Goodyear, the cost of enrolling his three children in West Valley Christian School is an investment in quality education. His son, Liam, recently graduated from the preschool there and is in kindergarten at the primary school of the Goodyear campus.

“We just feel that providing this foundational education can help them in life, find the careers and success we want for them,” D’Cunah said. “We looked around and know we have other options, but this school provided the academics and then some extras too like art, music and technology.”

The West Valley Christian preschool is part of the Quality First program, a signature program of First Things First, which partners with child care and preschool providers to improve the quality of early learning across Arizona. Quality First funds quality improvements that research proves help children thrive, such as training for teachers to expand their skills and to help create learning environments that nurture the emotional, social and academic development of every child.

Those two years in preschool prepared Liam with foundational skills that have helped him move into the primary school, D’Cunah said. He said the experience made the transition “pretty smooth” compared to if the boy had not had exposure to a kindergarten readiness program.

“He learned socialization skills that really helped because he now has less nap time, play time and they need to learn how to sit still just to go through the lessons,” D’Cunah said.

Within the first three months of kindergarten, Liam won an academic award for his work in math. Liam studies at home with his mother, Letitia, who helps him remember his numbers and other basic skills.

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