KidsWatchAZ

KidsWatchAZ

Promoting wellness for southwest Maricopa County’s children and families through research-based practices, education, family services, and community support.

KidsWatchAZ Vision

KidsWatchAZ desires to help all of Arizona’s children to be healthy and ready for kindergarten through research-based practices, community resources, and family support.

Basic beliefs:

  • Parents are their children’s first and most influential teachers.
  • The early years of a child’s life are critical for optimal development and provide the foundation for success in school and life.
  • Established and emerging research should be the foundation of parent education and family support, curricula, training, materials, and services.
  • All young children and their families deserve the same opportunities to succeed, regardless of any demographic, geographic, or economic considerations.
  • An understanding and appreciation of the history and traditions of diverse cultures is essential in serving families. (Adapted from the National Center for Parents as Teachers)

KidsWatchAZ Mission

KidsWatchAZ promotes a family-centered, comprehensive, collaborative and high-quality early childhood system that supports the development, health and early education of all Arizona’s children birth through age five.

The importance of caregivers in the lives of children is recognized. Caregivers are not just “watching” children, but playing a critical role in children’s healthy development. Caregivers often have responsibility for nurturing and educating children during a majority of their waking hours and parents depend on caregivers for reports and observations about how their children are progressing.

Curriculum goals include giving research-informed information and evidence-based practices that are supportive and educational. KidsWatchAZ provides ways for caregivers to pass on that knowledge to the parents of children in their care, encouraging them to extend their children’s learning experience in their own home (Adapted from the Parents as Teachers Supporting Care Providers).

Home Visit Topics

Section 1 Amazing Brain; Child Development; Environments; Games; Observation
Section 2 Creative Experiences; Healthy Care; Movement-Large Muscles; Nutrition; Safety
Section 3 Blocks; Cooking; Explore & Discover; Movement-Small Muscles; Music; Play
Section 4 Emerging Reading; Emerging Writing; Math Everyday; Movement-Perceptual Motor; Sensory Experiences

Special Topics

Abuse and Neglect; Americans with Disabilities Act (ACA); Bilingual Families; Biting, Caring for the Caregiver; Challenging Behaviors; Death; Dishonesty; Divorce; Electronic Entertainment; Emergency Procedures; Fears and Nightmares; Good Foods and Foods to Avoid; Outdoor Fun; Rhymes and Songs; School Readiness; Sexuality; Sudden Infant Death (SIDS); Toilet Training; and Transition

Basic KidsWatchAZ Program Information

Information is provided through home visits. The first step is to get to know caregivers – their special talents and skills in caring for children; what they enjoy most about caregiving; and what they would like to emphasize.

There are 20 Home Visit Plan Topics and 20 Special Topics. Topics are chosen according to caregiver interests within each of the sections.

Each Home Visit Plan includes

    • Why the topic is important;
    • A list of materials (brought by the Coach and assembled by the Caregiver);
    • Fun Activities such as a story and playtime;
    • Questions to ask the children (if old enough);
    • Things to notice – improving observations and identifying other things we can do;
    • Handouts for Caregivers and Parents.

Ages and Stages (ASQ) Questionnaires are given that track children’s development and provide guidance in areas that need more emphasis.

When children approach age 4, the Get Ready to Read screening identifies their readiness for reading.

Visits are scheduled on days and at times most convenient for caregivers and their children. Visits are held monthly, and more frequently, if requested.

Staff assists in linking caregivers and their families to services and other educational opportunities.

Staff suggests that caregivers enroll in KidsWatchAZ for 24 months so that they can complete all the topics, but they may dis-enroll at any time.

If caregivers have friends with young children in their neighborhood that would benefit from getting together for an informal playgroup or educational conversation, KidsWatchAZ staff can assist in organizing and facilitating the gatherings.

As work continues in all Southwest communities, staff will facilitate an annual celebration gathering of all KidsWatchAZ child caregivers and the children and families it serves.

For more information, visit the program’s website.