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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.

Teen mom helps twin boys thrive with help from a Quality First center in Kayenta

Rosa Esquivel was in the eighth grade and already a mother to twins. And she wanted her babies to have a good start in life. 

Her twins, Sky and Sage had just turned 1 when she enrolled them in the Kayenta Unified School District’s Child Occupation Parent Education (COPE), a child care center on the campus of Monument Valley High School. 

COPE participates in the Quality First program, which provides 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. 

The First Things First Navajo Nation Regional Partnership Council funds Quality First, which partners with child care and preschool providers to improve the quality of early learning development across the Navajo Nation. The COPE child care center recently achieved the highest level of quality rating in the Quality First program. 

Once enrolled in 2021, Esquivel quickly noticed that her twins were learning differently. Her son Sky was very active and always wanted to be moving, while Sage was a bit more sensitive and would cry if he wanted something. But despite their differences, they were both learning very quickly. Esquivel made sure to talk to them often, play patty cake with them and take them on walks.  

COPE director Helen Clitso provided the teen mom with support and peace of mind. Esquivel knew her boys were safe and learning in a nurturing environment. She also took advantage of the classes offered at the center and was happy the center was available for her to focus on her education. 

With the support of her family, friends and the COPE child care center, Esquivel was able to give her kids the best opportunity to become successful and happy.

“The program provided me a lot of information on how to interact with my children and Sky and Sage are my priority,” Esquivel said. “I knew I did the right thing in enrolling them at the child care center, they’re both learning and I have peace of mind they are in a safe environment.” 

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