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First Things First First Things First

First Things First is Arizona’s early childhood agency, committed to the healthy development and learning of young children from birth to age 5.

Why Early Childhood Matters

90% of a child’s brain growth happens before they start kindergarten. And research shows that the quality of a child’s experiences in their first five years helps shape how their brain develops.

Kids with positive, stable relationships with parents and caregivers, as well as quality child care and preschool experiences, go on to do better in school and in life. They’re more likely to read at grade level and graduate from high school. They are more prepared for college and career. They also tend to be healthier and demand less from the public welfare system. These are better outcomes for kids that also save taxpayers money.

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Co-parenting young children

Keys to co-parenting young children

  • positive parenting

Co-parenting is a unique journey for every family. But, there’s no need to fear. By keeping the child’s needs at the forefront, parents can support their…

Dad and baby son playing in park on the floor with leaves.

Helping young children find nature outside the front door

  • play

For families who want to introduce their babies, toddlers and preschoolers to outdoor play, there’s one thing to know: nature is everywhere.

Pregnant mother on couch in orange dress with young girl hugging the mother's stomach

Counting kicks is a simple way to monitor baby’s well-being

    Expectant parents in their third trimester are being encouraged to count their baby’s kicks. It could help save their baby’s life.The Arizona Department of…

    Babies' cues

    Positive Parenting: What is baby saying?

    • infants

    Noticing and responding to your baby’s cues is what great parenting is all about.

    Mom and toddler sitting underneath a sun shade umbrella

    Throwin’ shade at the sun: protecting your kids outdoors

    • safety

    ​All it takes is a few simple steps to help protect your child from the sun.

    little girl with backpack holding hand of adult woman, walking outside

    Building excitement for your child’s transition to preschool

    • school readiness

    Many 3- and 4-year-olds will be looking forward to starting preschool in the fall and parents can use this summer to get them ready.

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