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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Boost Your Program’s Improvement Efforts with an Informal Assessment

A Quality First assessment provides feedback to recognize your program’s unique strengths and help you set goals for quality improvements using objective, research-based tools. Formal assessment is a regular part of participating in Quality First, but an informal assessment is also offered to all regulated early care and education providers in Arizona, whether your program

girl planting

Earth-Friendly Early Learning

Now more than ever, we are becoming aware of how our choices affect the environment, our health, and the health of our communities. As early childhood professionals, we are leaders who can make a difference in the health of our environment. Through earth-friendly actions, we can improve health, teach respect for nature, and save money,

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

toddler playing

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


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