News and happenings about First Things First

July 2019

Ending early childhood expulsion

As preschool expulsions become more common, researchers are beginning to look at long-term impact. One early childhood expert says that behavioral
issues might stem from unidentified developmental issues or could result from experiences in the child care program. Instead of being referred for an assessment, expulsion might lead to never identifying the problem for the child or center.
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Ensuring a complete count of Arizona’s youngest children in the 2020 census

An estimated 5% of kids under age 5 were missed in the 2010 census. That’s about 1 million young children, the highest of any single age group. The U.S. Census is asking early childhood supporters to help close that gap in 2020. Read more about how you can help.
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FTF offers more language and early literacy resources

First Things First recently launched a webpage offering a full range of language and early literacy development resources for families of infants, toddlers and preschoolers. The page provides videos, articles and podcasts along with research and other resources on why early literacy is important from the day a baby is born.
Learn more

News Round-Up

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

Arizona suspends child care waiting list, increases provider reimbursements
The Arizona Daily Star, June 17
Arizona families needing child care help got a boost this month when $112 million in federal funds became available, leading the state to suspend its child care waiting list for the first time since the Great Recession. This means providers will be reimbursed at much higher rates, and that those who qualify for assistance should no longer have to wait for help.
An online preschool closes a gap but exposes another
The New York Times, July 7
An online kindergarten readiness program for 4-year-olds has children spend 15 minutes a day, five days a week over the course of nine months, tapping through lessons on a computer. About 16,000 children in 15 states graduated from the Waterford Upstart program this year. Run by nonprofit group,, program officials expect to expand the program to a projected 22,000 students by 2020.

This is not a program for children of the rich, who are generally enrolled in play-based preschools that last at least several hours. Instead, it is geared to lower-income families with fewer prekindergarten options.
The fight over Native American adoptions is about more than just the children
Time, July 2
Each time Elisia Manuel sees her daughter Precious rehearsing traditional basket dancing and humming tribal songs around their home in Casa Grande, she’s overwhelmed with emotion. “It’s beautiful to witness,” the mother of three says. “She’s part of the community.”

This wasn’t always guaranteed. Elisia and her husband Tecumseh, who is a member of the Gila River Indian Community, became foster parents in 2012 after learning about the great need for Native American foster families in Arizona. Elisia Manuel is the Chair of the FTF Gila River Indian Community Regional Council.
Want kids to learn the joy of reading? Barbershops and laundromats can help
New York Times, July 2
At dozens of barbershops and laundromats across the United States, the sound of children reading aloud mingles with the buzz and snip from barbers’ tools or the din of washers. Makeshift shelves and crates hold books featuring cartoon characters, stories about pigeons or the capers of superheroes.

This developing movement, supported by nonprofit groups, entrepreneurs, libraries and community fund-raising, is redefining the borders of traditional neighborhood public libraries by creating literary spaces in places where children find themselves with time on their hands. It is bringing the book to the child, instead of the child to the book.
FTF note: The 2019 FTF Phoenix South Region Champions are a barbershop owner and his wife; Anthony Gathers was recognized for providing books to young children in his shops. 
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