Quality Early

Learning

First 5 Ventura County invests in services that promote high Quality Early Learning as early as possible (0-3 years), especially for children who are most at risk. A few examples of our Quality Early Learning investments include the NfLs, Preschool, and QRIS.

Neighborhoods for Learning (NfLs) link kids, families and communities


From our inception over 20 years ago, the First 5 Ventura County Neighborhoods for Learning (NfLs) have been a cornerstone in the community, providing early childhood education, health, and family support services. Recognized throughout the state and country, this model was founded upon the voices and insights of local leaders throughout the county to provide the services that are most needed in each community. 

The impact of parents may never be greater than during the earliest years of life. A child’s brain develops faster from prenatal to age three than at any other later period in life, building the foundation for a child’s future learning, behavior, and health. Parents and other caregivers play a lead role in their child’s healthy development, but often they are stretched for time and resources. First 5 Ventura County’s Neighborhoods for Learning provide parents with the support they want to meet their families’ needs.

Parent and Child Together (PACT) Classes 

Led by a trained teacher, these classes:

  • strengthen parent/caregiver and child relationships and bonding 
  • support children’s early learning
  • enhance parent/caregiver knowledge of child development
  • provide social connections for parents/caregivers
  • enable access to community services

The goal of PACT classes is to ensure that families have the knowledge, confidence, and support they need to give their children a strong foundation for success in school and life.

Child Health and Development Services 

NfL staff connect parents to a variety of health screenings and needed support services to ensure parents and other caregivers have the help they need to keep their children thriving.

  • ASQ and ASQ-SE Developmental Screenings check on a child’s development, help parents celebrate their child’s milestones, and determine whether follow-up steps are needed.
  • Prenatal and Postpartum Screening provides the opportunity to identify mothers at-risk for depression and connect them to appropriate services.
  • Social Determinants of Health Screening helps parents and caregivers meet their basic human needs and overcome stressors that impair effective parenting.

Access to Services 

If a need is identified, referrals are offered to services provided by local community-based organizations and agencies. Care Coordination is provided by NfL staff to help families connect to and utilize services, such as:

  • CalWorks (e.g., income support, childcare, job training, and transportation assistance)
  • CalFresh nutrition assistance program
  • Medi-Cal health assistance program
  • Other basic needs including food insecurity, housing instability, utility needs, financial resource strain, transportation challenges, exposure to violence, childcare, preschool, after-school programs, prenatal support services, kids clothing and supplies, summer programs, education, English as a Second Language (ESL/ESOL), high school equivalency (GED), and training programs

Preschool and Preschool Scholarships


It is well established that participation in high-quality preschool leads to better academic and life outcomes for children. F5VC’s investment in preschool includes two strategies- partnering with local providers to fund preschool for families that do not qualify for a publicly funded program and a parent-choice scholarship model where families can use scholarships at any eligible program in Ventura County. The scholarship initiative is administered by Child Development Resources, Inc. (CDR).

Given California’s preschool expansion over the past few years, as well as its commitment to provide all 4-year-olds in need with preschool, the F5VC Commission made a strategic planning decision to transition away from direct preschool funding at the end of FY 20-21. As part of this transition, F5VC has been advocating for increases to state-funded preschool to ensure more children can qualify for subsidized care. 

The overarching goal of F5VC’s preschool initiative is that children enter school ready to learn.

QRIS helps to identify and improve preschool quality


The Ventura County quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) is helping preschools and family child care sites assess and share information on how they’re doing. The QRIS looks at facilities, programs, staff qualifications, and child development to come up with a rating number of 1-5 for participating sites.

In addition to providing parents a way to easily assess quality, QRIS helps providers improve their rating by offering resources and training tailored to their needs.

The QRIS program is administered by the Ventura County Office of Education with funding from First 5 California and the California Department of Education.

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