5 Things From First Things First

| April 10, 2016

Five Things from First Things First

1.Sam I Am
We Can All Do Our Part in Making Kids Safer

In Arizona, 41 percent of the children in the child welfare system are under the age of 5. And, every month, about 1,000 new children come into foster care. Young children under the age of 3 are more likely than any other age group to be abused or neglected, are more likely to be removed from their birth parents, and typically stay in foster care longer.

Because 90 percent of a child’s brain development happens by age 5, these negative experiences can have lasting impacts to a child’s physical and emotional health, their performance in school and their participation in risky behaviors.

▶ READ MORE about how safe, stable and nurturing homes can break the cycle of abuse.

2. Around Arizona
Quality Learning in Preschool and at Home Boosts Grand Canyon Kindergartener’s Success

When her son Demitrius was 3 years old, Kate Maragos felt guilty. As a mom of three, a Sundayschool teacher, a volunteer and a long-term placement foster mom, Maragos was stretched thin.


“Honestly I didn’t have much left in me to do educational things with the kids, especially Demitrius,” Maragos said. She had recently participated in a First Things First-funded caregiver training where she learned how critical it is to nurture learning and healthy development during the early years. Because of this, she knew that a quality preschool could boost her son’s success when he got to kindergarten.

▶ Continue reading to find out how Demetrius is doing now that he’s in kindergarten.

3. Celebrating the Week of the Young Child™
Q&A with AZAEYC President Martha Muñoz

Next week, early childhood professionals and supporters across the country will celebrate the Week of the Young Child™, an annual opportunity to highlight the importance of early learning and the educators who support the positive development of young children.

“A child’s experiences in the years before kindergarten lay the foundation for their future success in school. Research shows that children who have high quality early learning experiences are more prepared for kindergarten, do better in school and are more likely to graduate and go on to college.” – Martha Muñoz

▶ READ the full Q&A, with more on how parents and teachers can work together to support our youngest children.

4. The Big Picture for Arizona’s Little Kids

State-National Comparisons in Three Key Areas

A child’s early years hold the key to their success – and our state’s. Children who are healthy and prepared when they enter kindergarten do better in school and are more likely to graduate and enroll in college. Check out FTF’s The Big Picture for AZ’s Little Kidswebpage for state-national comparisons in three key areas – strong families, healthy children and prepared students – and how First Things First, as a critical partner in Arizona’s early childhood system, is working to expand opportunities in these areas to help our state’s young children be ready for school and set for life.

▶ GET THE BIG PICTURE for Arizona’s Little Kids.

5. AZ Education Progress Meter
Early Childhood a Key Part of Our State’s Education SystemExpect More Arizona and the Center for the Future of Arizona collaborated to create the Arizona Education Progress Meter. This set of widely-accepted education indicators helps Arizonans measure our state’s progress in education in Arizona from early childhood education through college and career. Preschool enrollment is among the eight indicators.
▶ CHECK OUT the Arizona Education Progress Meter.

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