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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 prepares Wittman girl for kindergarten success

girl-at-school

When Laura Aguirre’s daughter Idali turned 3 years old, she knew she wanted to provide her with a safe, quality early learning environment where she could attend preschool and prepare for kindergarten while developing a love for learning. Aguirre found those characteristics at Nadaburg Preschool in Wittman. The preschool is part of the Quality First Program, a signature program of First Things First, which partners with child care and preschool providers to make quality improvements that research proves help children thrive.

These include improvements such as education for teachers to expand their skills in working with young children and coaching to help providers create learning environments that nurture the emotional, social and academic development of every child. “On Idali’s first day, she was the only Spanish speaking child in her class,” Aguirre said. Idali’s teacher learned basic Spanish words to support Idali’s learning and language development in the classroom. “Her teacher worked with her to learn colors and numbers,” Aguirre said. “By the time winter break came, Idalli was confident, using full sentences with her teachers and classmates in English.” Idali is now in the second grade at Nadaburg Elementary School.

She has developed a love of reading and her favorite subject is math. “Idali arrived at school with an internal motivation to learn,” said Idali’s second-grade teacher Linda Straub. “Qualities like that are established at a young age. Peers are drawn to Idali because of her natural empathy, friendliness and leadership qualities. They look to her when they need extra help.”

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