Samantha Thompson describes what first five means to her.

What does First 5 mean to you?

Merced County was an original “Race to the Top” County. We have had a long partnership between our local First 5 and the County Office of Education. This partnership allows us to provide robust levels of services that meet the unique needs existing within Merced County. “Race to the Top” was one of the opportunities and partnerships where both parties came together and really collaborated.

What are you most looking forward to at this Summit?

We’re very proud to have the opportunity to sit with peers from across the start to help design the quality rating improvement system. We’re also excited that the quality rating improvement systems were transitioned into Impact. Our agency is the contractor that implements Impact, so this Summit allows us to take what we learn from “Race to the Top” and further expand on that. This also allows us to reach more children and families in childcare settings.

So, when you bring together the County Office of Education and First 5, it really allows you to build a robust system that provides the greatest outcomes for the children in your County. The First 5 California conferences are always a wonderful opportunity to connect with peers from across California. You get wonderful professional development in the workshops, not only from your peers ,but researchers and scientists as well. They’re basically informing us as to what current research is revealing about the importance of early education and its impact on child outcomes. They’re research also helps us predicts educational and social outcomes into of future.

First 5 Merced