Quality First Blog, Tips and Inspiration

Free inspiration and resources are just an added bonus. Helping you is just what we do. See the latest blogs, tips and research on how you can provide the highest-quality care and improve your early learning setting.

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child playing

Onboarding New Employees: Advice from Two Program Leaders

Early childhood education leaders know how important the first days and weeks of learning are to a new employee’s success. Training new teachers, administrators, support staff and volunteers is vital to the long-term success of any program. New hire orientation that is done well can increase satisfaction and reduce turnover. How can you provide orientation

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Free Play, Not Free-For-All

“Play is the work of the child.” — Maria Montessori The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scales defines free play as when “a child is permitted to choose materials and companions and, as far as possible, manage play independently.” Through free play, children can make their own choices about how they spend their time. How does

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Lullabies to letters: Developing language and literacy through music

The right music can change the mood of a learning environment. Music can invite children to get active and silly — or slow down and relax. Songs can also be effective in focusing children’s attention during transitions or when introducing new ideas. Music can act as a powerful tool that supports language and literacy development.

teacher retention

Keep great teachers at your program: Three ways to boost retention

Early childhood program leaders know that finding and keeping qualified teaching staff is critical to providing a high-quality program. However, many of Arizona’s early childhood programs have seen an increase in teacher turnover over the course of the pandemic. Now as programs work to recover and rebuild, keeping a strong and stable staff is top

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A hands-on approach to learning

When a child learns a new concept by doing, touching, exploring or experiencing something, rather than just being told about it—that child is creating pathways in the brain for further knowledge. For early childhood educators looking for ways to improve children’s learning—hands-on experiences are critical to success. So, how can you maximize children’s learning through

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Cooking and Sharing: Providing high-quality nutrition in your program

Early childhood educators can help influence children’s healthy eating habits. Sharing a variety of new, nutritious foods with children encourages them to try different flavors, textures and food they may not get to experience at home.  Many early learning programs want high-quality nutrition as part of their programming, but they may rely on families to

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Help is Here: New System Supports for Arizona’s Early Childhood Programs

The COVID-19 pandemic brought significant losses and serious challenges to Arizona’s children and families. It also highlighted the needs of early childhood providers around the state. Fortunately, new funding made possible by federal and state investments are providing much-needed relief to support child care in our state. Supports include: Expansion of Quality First The budget