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News and happenings about First Things First

May 2022

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Expanding child care options in Arizona one center at a time

From helping early childhood partners exchange information about issues impacting child care, to convening individuals and organizations to collaborate on ideas, to providing funds to build or expand child care centers, FTF has found unique ways to support more child care options for children.  
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Pinal community members work together to support families of young children

The Pinal Early Childhood Coalition, which is led by FTF and made up of dozens of early childhood partners across Pinal County, has a mission that all the county’s children are prepared for kindergarten. Members have put together a set of kindergarten readiness flyers to help families prepare their children.
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Focusing on early childhood mental health

Just like their physical health, a young child’s social and emotional well-being plays a big role in their ability to learn, to form positive relationships, to develop self-control and to develop other important aspects of healthy growth.
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FTF and partners honored for keeping young kids on track with immunizations

FTF and partners recently received a 2022 Big Shots Award for their efforts to increase childhood immunization rates in Mohave County. The Arizona Partnership for Immunization (TAPI) hosts the annual Best Practices and Brightest Starts Awards ceremony where the Big Shots of Arizona award is given. The award recognizes organizations and/or individuals who have distinguished themselves by improving the health and wellness of Arizona’s communities and the lives of Arizona children through increasing immunization rates. FTF, the Mohave County Department of Public Health and the Regional Center for Border Health were chosen for organizing a series of pop-up immunization events in northwest Arizona last year. Congrats!

News Round-Up

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

Efforts aim to provide more early childhood teachers
Eastern Arizona Courier, May 12
A collaboration between Arizona’s early childhood agency, First Things First (FTF), Eastern Arizona College, Arizona State University and the United Way of Graham and Greenlee Counties will create a pipeline of certified early childhood educators in an area of Arizona known for being a child care desert.
Little milestones that are secretly a big deal for kids
Huffpost, April 20
"Milestones are exciting, but also know that your child may not follow the ‘expected ages' for specific actions,” said Christina Furnval, a psychotherapist who specializes in children’s mental health. “Each child is unique and special and wonderful, regardless of the standard milestones they reach and the age at which they reach them.”  If you find yourself feeling worried about their progress and your ability as a parent, remember that there are so many milestones worthy of celebration, including more nuanced and subtle ones.  
Paid family leave is good for moms and baby brains
Futurity, April 19
Infants whose mothers received paid family leave showed greater brain activity in their first three months, a new study suggests. Researchers at New York University studied a diverse sample of families in New York City to examine links between paid leave and electrical activity in infant brains at the age of three months.
New Mexico governor announces expansion of free child care
Santa Fe New Mexican, April 29
New Mexico families earning up to 400% of the federal poverty line — $111,000 a year for a household of four — will be able to send their children to child care and preschool programs for free as the state launches a massive expansion of copay waivers for child care assistance.
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