Tools to Help You Choose

Choosing a child care program for your infant, toddler or preschooler is a big decision, and quality is one of the most important factors to consider. Quality early learning programs help children develop many important social, emotional and learning skills. Research shows that children who attend quality early child care and preschool programs go on to do better in school and in life.

But recognizing a quality program isn’t always easy. Below are some simple tools you can use in finding a quality program to meet your family’s needs.

Find Quality First Near You

Use our search tool to find child care and preschool programs in your Arizona community that participate in Quality First.

Each program is assessed and given a Star Rating based on the key components of quality early learning — things like health and safety practices, learning environments and teacher-child interactions that help support children’s language, thinking and social skills. Three-quarters of the more than 1,000 child care and preschool programs that participate in Quality First have earned ratings that meet or exceed quality standards (3-stars and above). And no matter their current rating level, you can be assured that programs participating in Quality First are committed to improving the quality of early learning they provide.

Look for Quality First participants


Please note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, assessments were suspended between March 2020 and August 2021. Quality First Star Ratings, based on providers’ last assessment prior to March 2020, are listed in provider information on this website.

Quality First is a voluntary program for child care centers and preschools. First Things First does not have the capacity to enroll all providers in Arizona who are interested in participating. There are many other quality programs in Arizona not enrolled in Quality First. It’s also important to keep in mind that ratings are just one of several factors to consider in finding the right child care or preschool program for your family’s needs.

Quality Checklist

There are many factors to consider when looking for a child care or preschool program for your child. First Things First encourages you to visit programs in person and use our checklist to consider the quality of the early learning programs you’re interested in. It includes questions to ask and things to look for when visiting a provider, including the classroom and outdoor environments, teacher/child interactions and other basic elements of quality child care and preschool settings.

Quality Child Care Checklist

Contact Arizona Child Care Resource & Referral

Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) helps Arizona families take the guesswork out of choosing care by providing one-on-one guidance by phone, in person or online:

  • Information about local child care programs per your request
  • Information on state licensing rules and regulations (requirements)
  • Information on availability of child care subsidies
  • Information on quality child care indicator

Visit CCR&R online or call 1.800.308.9000, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. a 5 p.m.