Lola Wood was trying her best to get her young son Takoda interested in learning while they were together at home, but felt like he needed more motivation and knowledge than she was able to offer.
“I knew there was a way to teach little people how to learn, and I didn’t know how to do it,” Wood said.
Takoda’s dad, Quincy Natay, is a member of the First Things First Navajo Nation Regional Council and the superintendent of Chinle Unified School District, where he helped to get the preschool center that Takoda would eventually attend.
The Chinle Elementary School Preschool participates in Quality First, a signature program of FTF, 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.
Both Natay and Wood said the program’s focus on early literacy helped their son learn to read at an early age and expand his vocabulary. “The center asked parents to read to Takoda every night and sent home projects to promote conversation and relationship-building among the family. The routines and interactions were an important step for Takoda to develop a large vocabulary,” Natay said.
“Once Takoda learned to read, that completely changed his life,” Wood said. “Then he could see what was going on – he’s now able to identify things that were just a blur.”