Quality Child Care Helps Kids Thrive

Why quality matters

90% of a child’s brain develops before age 5. The positive, nurturing relationships young kids have with adults — from parents to child care and early learning professionals — shape their learning now and throughout their lives.

Parents are their child’s first and best teachers, and a large number of children in Arizona spend their day learning from other adults, whether in regulated early childhood settings — such as child care centers, home-based programs or preschools — or informal child care with family, friends or neighbors.

No matter the setting, quality matters for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Quality early learning settings help children develop skills — like motivation, self-control, focus and self-esteem — that are crucial to their success now and once they enter school.

Recognizing quality

Choosing child care for your infant, toddler or preschooler is a big decision. Quality is one of the most important factors to consider, and it’s not always easy to spot. Knowing the key elements of quality can help you make an informed decision when choosing a child care or preschool setting for your family.

Quality early learning settings build on basic health and safety to include:

All of these elements combined make a child care environment that prepares children for kindergarten.

Parents & Families



  • First Things First
  • First Things First partners with parents and communities to give all Arizona children the opportunity to arrive at kindergarten healthy and ready to succeed.