First Things First update for June 17 — Newly elected FTF Board Chair plans to engage Arizona’s leaders on behalf of young kids

| June 17, 2019

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News and happenings about First Things First
June 2019
Newly elected FTF Board Chair plans to engage Arizona’s leaders on behalf of young kids
The First Things First state Board recently elected Gerald Szostak as its Chair through June 2021. Szostak has extensive experience in planning and implementing youth programs and creating and sustaining community partnerships. As Chair, he said his focus “will be to engage our state’s leaders – in government, in business, in faith and in philanthropy – to learning more about the needs of young children and to work together to build a state system that we can truly say supports a world-class education for Arizona’s children from cradle to career.”
Meet our new Board Chair
2019 Regional Champions for Young Children honored across Arizona
Every year, First Things First honors early childhood champions throughout Arizona who actively volunteer to raise awareness of the importance of early childhood development and health. This year, the FTF Regional Champions for Young Children range from a barber shop business owner and his wife, to a pediatric registered nurse, to a pastor in an eastern Arizona mountain town and more who all take unique approaches to spreading the message about the importance of the early years.
Get to know our 2019 Champions
Helping young kids stay healthy with free summer meals
Summer Lunch Buddies is a statewide campaign which connects families with the many schools, non-profit organizations or local governments across Arizona hosting no-cost summer meals for kids 18 and younger. For families with toddlers and preschoolers, First Things First wants them to know that free meals are also open to these younger age groups.
Learn more about this program

News Round-Up

News about early childhood around Arizona and across the U.S.

Vernon Elementary opens much needed preschool 
White Mountain Independent,
May 28
A preschool is set to open at a small K-8 school that serves Vernon and the surrounding rural areas east of Show Low. In January, the Vernon Elementary School District board unanimously approved the formation of a preschool, to be located at the existing school campus. First Things First was a key supporter. “Investments in quality early learning environments create the opportunity to see young children flourish,” said First Things First Navajo/Apache Regional Director, Kate Dobler. “When communities partner to support our youngest learners, dynamic and strong programs can be the result.”
Since the 1960s, researchers track Perry Preschool project participants 
May 23
More than 50 years ago, educators enrolled children from poor families in a preschool program in Ypsilanti, Mich. What came to be known as the Perry Preschool Project showed that early childhood interventions have powerful effects for disadvantaged kids. The program was initially started to boost the academic scores of kids. As researchers tracked the kids into adulthood, they found that kids who went through the program had better life outcomes than kids in the control group. They had more earnings, more stable long-term relationships, less trouble with the law. Surprising new research finds that those positive impacts spread to the next generation – benefiting the children of participants, too.
Fostering brain growth: groups stress need for vocabulary development in young children 
Yuma Sun,
May 27
At a recent gathering, First Things First, Arizona PBS and Crane School District invited folks to learn about their efforts to get parents more engaged in building their children’s vocabularies. According to Rudy Ortiz, the Yuma area’s regional director for First Things First, brain development happens “most rapidly” before a child hits the age of 5, and a child’s vocabulary when they are 3 impacts their reading level in the third grade.



Category: Child Welfare, Education

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