Arizona’s “First Things First” – Early Childhood Education

In November 2006, in a statistical landslide, Arizona voters passed Proposition 203; a citizen’s initiative that funds quality early childhood development and health.   Proposition 203 included the following principles:

  • Local communities must come together to plan and administer what works best in their community.
  • It must be flexible enough to accommodate the unique demographics of our state.
  • It must be transparent and held accountable for outcomes.

With its passage, the Proposition created a new state level board known as the Arizona Early Childhood Development & Health Board, adopted the name First Things First as an uplifting reference to the voter-enacted initiative, and to exemplify the importance of early childhood.

First Things First mission is one to create a family-centered, comprehensive, collaborative and high-quality early childhood system that supports the development, health and early education of all Arizona’s children birth through age five.

Through the First Things First Governing Board and 31 Regional Partnership Councils representing the richly diverse communities across Arizona, the organization carries out its mission.  Council members are appointed by the Board and have direct responsibility to: collect information on the strengths and desires of their community, prioritize the specific needs, plan how to address those needs, choose who to partner and collaborate with to ensure success for the children in their communities, and identify the funding necessary to carry out their plan.

Through the diverse body of work, First Things First,  identified the needs of children and worked with communities to validate these needs by implementing initiatives to address: Quality Early Care and Education, Health and Early Intervention and Supportive Families and Literacy.

On August 24-25, 2015, First Things First will hold an annual Early Childhood Development Summit and bring together professionals, stakeholders and supporters of early childhood.   Early registration opens on May 18.

The Summit will also include more than 75 breakout sessions on a variety of early childhood topics, organized into the following tracks:

*             Early Childhood Systems Building

*             Strengthening Families

*             Child Health and Development

*             Early Literacy (programmed in partnership with Read On Arizona

*             Community Awareness

*             Tribal Communities


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