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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 scholarship helps Coolidge boy become more independent

Mom and dad reading with son

When it came to their youngest son, Thunder, Jessica and Sammy Moore handled his early education differently than their three older children.

“I was afraid to let the other kids go (to preschool) when they were young,” Jessica Moore said. “I did everything for my kids, so much so, that they were the opposite of Thunder when they entered kindergarten; they were much less confident and much needier. Now I see the difference of what preschool can do.”

The Moores enrolled Thunder in Kids Klub, a Quality First center in Coolidge. Kids Klub is one of about 1,000 child care and preschool providers throughout Arizona that partners with Quality First, a signature program of First Things First, to improve the quality of their early learning programs.

Thunder attends Kids Klub with help from a Quality First scholarship, which helps eligible families afford to send their child to quality child care centers and preschools. Quality is one of the most important factors to consider in child care and preschool. Research shows that quality early learning settings help young children develop important skills — like motivation, self-control, focus and getting along with others — that make a big difference in their ability to succeed in school and in life.

Sammy Moore has watched his son grow emotionally and physically.

“Thunder is the most disciplined of our four children and is learning how to be more grown-up,” he said. “He even packs his lunch to get ready for his day and he follows rules. Thunder is just way more advanced than his siblings were at that age.”

After attending Kids Klub for almost three years, Jessica Moore said Thunder, now 5, has transitioned from being shy to very outgoing.

“He is happy, confident and more independent,” she said. “Thunder learned about team work, how to play within a group and how to be a friend to others. He looks forward to learning. Then he comes home, eats dinner and talks with his family about what he learned that day.”

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