Language and literacy development starts from the very beginning. Babies are listening in utero, and once they’re born, they’re communicating through eye contact, facial expressions, crying, smiles and touch. When adults respond with words, conversation and attention, it helps promote healthy development and learning.
When babies and toddlers hear words and language from caring adults, their brains develop the connections they’ll need to learn to use language and, later, to learn how to read. Studies show that children whose parents and caregivers regularly talk and read with them develop larger vocabularies and go on to become better readers and do better in school. That’s because the first few years of a child’s life are when the brain grows and develops the most.
First Things First supports the health, development and early learning of Arizona’s young children from birth to age 5. We partner with families and communities to help kids have the positive, nurturing experiences they need to arrive at kindergarten ready to succeed. We do this through quality early care and education programs, preventive health efforts, and supporting parents in their role as their child’s first teachers.