Thank you for your July 28th article, “Arizona law holds back students who can’t read by 3rd grade.” Preparing our children for success in school is a responsibility all Arizonans share, and ensuring that children start school with the tools they need to be successful starts the day they are born.
A child’s most important developmental years are those leading up to kindergarten. In fact, research tells us that as much as 90% of a child’s brain is developed by the time they are 5 years old. Children exposed to high-quality early childhood education in the first five years of life have better language, math and social skills. They score higher in school-readiness tests and are 40% less likely to need special education or be held back a grade.
As your article highlighted, the stakes are higher than ever before for our youngest children. It is essential they receive every resource possible to ensure their success. I am grateful that Arizona voters – through First Things First – have ensured that more Arizona kids have the opportunity to arrive at kindergarten prepared for the rigorous curriculum and high expectations they will face. First Things First partners with Arizona parents and communities to help kids 5 and younger receive the early education, health and family support services that help them start school healthy and ready to succeed!
The author serves on the First Things First Central Maricopa Regional Partnership Council and is vice mayor of Chandler