An Ahwatukee resident and Kyrene School District administrator has earned First Things First’s award as East Maricopa Regional Champion for Young Children.
Sharyn Weinheimer received the award, “given to local champions who actively volunteer their time to raise public awareness of the importance of early childhood development and health,” First Things First said in a release.
First Things First is a voter-created, statewide organization that funds early learning, family support and children’s preventive health services 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.
The group said awardees like Weinheimer “spend a significant amount of time volunteering with FTF and building public awareness about the importance of early childhood issues.”
Weinheimer, a multi-tiered systems of support coordinator for Kyrene, uses the group’s early literacy information in the district office lobby to show school board members, staff and parents about the imporatance of early childhood.
“I feel strongly about setting up children for success by making sure early childhood development and health are the focus,” said Weinheimer, a National Board Certified Teacher.
“Early literacy is the most important indicator of a child’s readiness for school. Early literacy development complements the current academic research, which supports the critical role of early experiences in shaping brain development,” she said. “My mission is to share with families the importance of reading, talking and singing with your child can set them up for a life of success.”
Weinheimer also used First Things First’s early childhood information during her interactive workshops about dialogic reading, where the adult engages the child in the storytelling.