Many of Mohave County’s early childhood advocacy organizations ‘meet or exceed’ quality standards


KINGMAN – More than a dozen preschools and early childhood centers across Mohave and La Paz counties were recently recognized for meeting or exceeding quality standards by Arizona’s early childhood organization, First Things First.

The preschools and centers are enrolled in Quality First, a signature program funded by the First Things First La Paz/Mohave Regional Partnership Council. The program is designed to improve the quality of early learning for children birth to age 5. Quality First funds improvements for the centers and coaching for staff that focuses on building learning environments that nurture the emotional, social, language, and cognitive development of young children before they start kindergarten.

Colorado River Union High School District and Bullhead City Elementary School District Superintendent Riley Frei, who chairs the FTF La Paz/Mohave Regional Council, said that the council has prioritized Quality First because of the impact it has, especially in rural areas where no other early learning opportunities exist for young children.

“Our goal is to get to a place where every center or preschool in the region is somehow involved with Quality First so you know what kind of center you’re taking your child to,” Frei said. “I think part of our challenge in Arizona is that there are so many unregulated centers that you really don’t have any assurance that a child is receiving quality care. The Quality First program is designed to make sure that we’re evaluating quality through a variety of lenses and ensuring that children are progressing so that they are ready for kindergarten.”

The FTF La Paz/Mohave Regional Council funds 19 Quality First centers in the region, which includes all of La Paz and Mohave counties.

The centers recognized include: In Kingman: Little Explorers Early Learning Center and the Kingman Gingerbread House; In Lake Havasu City: New Day North, New Day South, New Day Central, Little Knights, and Smoketree Developmental Preschool; In Bullhead City: Tiny T-Birds Early Learning Center and the Bullhead Elementary School Preschool; Elsewhere in Mohave County: Topock Elementary School Preschool,  Mount Tipton preschool in Dolan Springs, the Fort Mojave Child Care Center in Fort Mojave and Beaver Dam Elementary School Preschool; In La Paz County: Bouse Elementary School Preschool, Wenden Elementary School Preschool, Salome Elementary School Preschool, and the WACOG Head Start in Ehrenberg.

Mohave County District 4 Supervisor Jean Bishop attended the meeting at which the centers were recognized and said she was impressed to see how many local preschools and early learning centers have committed to improving the quality of care in their classrooms.

“These young children will soon be entering our county schools where the standards have never been higher, so it is nice to see the work being invested by so many early childhood professionals to make sure that they are prepared,” Bishop said.

First Things First is a voter-created, statewide organization that funds early education and health programs to help kids be successful once they enter kindergarten. Decisions about how those funds are spent are made by local councils staffed by community volunteers. To learn more about First Things First and Quality First, visit




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