Gerri's Gazette April 2024


Inside this issue:

  • Play in Early Childhood: The Role of Play in Any Setting
  • Professional Development
  • Training for Parents and Direct Support Professionals
  • Out and About in the Community
  • Resources
  • Events

We hope you are enjoying the spring here in Arizona.

April is Stress Awareness Month, Earth Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and Autism Acceptance Month to name a few of the national observances. April 24 celebrates National Bucket List Day to remind us it’s never too late to set new goals, schedule a dream family vacation, and inspire people around you to enjoy life to the fullest.

Happy Spring!!!

Play in Early Childhood: The Role of Play in Any Setting

From infancy on, play is an important part of a child’s life. For babies and toddlers, simple, playful interactions with adults help develop sturdy brain architecture, the foundations of lifelong health, and the building blocks of resilience. Through games and playful activities, children can practice and strengthen important executive function skills that will help them throughout their lives, including learning to focus their attention, strengthening their working memory, and developing basic self-control.

In this video, learn how play supports healthy early development by helping children build strong relationships, develop key skills, and reduce sources of stress.

"What children need most is to feel loved, respected and valued."

-- Adele Diamond, University of British Columbia

Learn the importance of communicating with your baby in this video.


Professional Development

Learning Festival for Home Visitors

Friday, May 3, 2024 (Virtual) | 10:00am – 11:30am (Phoenix Time)

Certificate of Attendance available – 1.5 Professional Development Hours. Free to attend via Zoom.

American Sign Language Interpretation will be available.

Dr. Nicole Matthews is the Director of Research at the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC). She earned her doctorate in developmental psychology at the University of California, Irvine in 2013. Her current research program includes multiple lines of research with a broad goal of improving quality of life for individuals on the autism spectrum throughout the lifespan.

Register in advance:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting and your unique Zoom link.

Learning Festival sessions are typically the first Friday of the month at 10:00am. We encourage participation in the discussion portion of the presentations.

You can review past Learning Festival sessions on the SFAZ Home Visitor Portal.


Training for Parents and Direct Support Professionals

The Department of Economic Security and Raising Special Kids have partnered together to create a new extended Positive Behavior Support (PBS) Training. PBS is evidence based and promotes empathy, sensitivity, person-centered care, and inclusivity for members. This two day training is open to families receiving early intervention services under Part C with AzEIP.

Learn more:

Go to Raising Special Events and then Training & Workshops to register. The next session is May 4 and May 11.


Out and About in the Community

Yuma County Early Childhood Collaborative meeting held on March 19th at the Regional Center for Border Health in San Luis. This meeting included a panel discussion about resources in the area including Department of Economic Security / Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP), Housing Authority of the City of Yuma, Regional Center for Border Health (RCBH), Family Behavioral Integrated Services and Dynamite Therapy, AzEIP contractor in Yuma.

Pictured left to right: Nancy Rojas, Children Service Director and Clinical Supervisor with RCBH, Ayari Armenta, Service Coordinator with Dynamite Therapy, Lisa Vallee, Community Relations Liaison with AzEIP, Jerrilene Antone Morton, Tribal Liaison with AzEIP and Division of Child Care, and Diane Ortega, Program Coordination Specialist with First Things First.
Community Providers at the Yuma Early Childhood Collaborative Meeting on March 19th.


Here's more information on the Spring into Health event.

Lisa Vallee and Alissa Jones at the Spring Into Health Event on April 5th at the Page Public Library. This event included dental screenings and cleanings for children. Additional resource tables included Blue Cross Blue Shield Arizona, Department of Economic Securities Division of Child Support, Child Care Resource and Referral, Chicano Por La Casa, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Encompass Health, UofA Cooperative Extension, Coconino Coalition for Children & Youth (CCC&Y), NACOG-Head Start, and VEN Center.

Thank you to the Page Public Library for hosting the event indoors due to the high winds.


Arizona Speech-Language-Hearing Association 2024 Convention was held at the El Conquistador Hotel in Oro Valley on April 12 & 13th. Our Community Relations Liaison interacted with more than 150 participants sharing resources and information about the Department of Economic Security and the Arizona Early Intervention Program. Participants were from various parts of the state including- Pinetop, Sierra Vista, Joseph City, Chinle, Woodruff, Glendale, Red Rock, Mesa, Gilbert, Flagstaff, San Luis, Phoenix, Tucson, and Chandler.

Lisa Vallee, AzEIP Community Relations Liaison with DES, Sharing resources with students from Midwestern University.
Exhibitors in the Turquoise Ballroom at the ArSHA 2024 Convention.


Madia Riggeal, service coordinator for Dynamite Therapy Region 15 in Cochise County, has been attending the monthly Sierra Vista Community Connect events. This event provides families in Cochise county with direct connections to many local resources and services. Madia is able to share information about AzEIP and share the Watch How I Grow posters! Madia is a champion for families in Cochise county!



Parent Partners Plus is thrilled to introduce our new alliance member home visitation programs designed to support parents and their children from pregnancy through the first years.

Healthy Families – New Providers

As of January 2024, we have three new agencies who will be providing the Healthy Families program in Maricopa County. They are Child Crisis Arizona, Onward Hope, and Beia’s Families. The Healthy Families program is a voluntary home visitation initiative designed to support expectant and new parents, promoting positive parenting, child health and development, and preventing child abuse and neglect. Through personalized in-home support and education, the program empowers families with resources and skills to foster a nurturing environment for their children's early years.

The NewRoots Program

Candelen’s newest community-based program, NewRoots, empowers pregnant individuals through prenatal and postnatal culturally responsive Doula support. NewRoots pairs pregnant families with a community-based doula that is cross-trained as a parent educator as early as possible in an individual’s pregnancy and continues through the first two years.

Parent Partners Plus values the dedication and expertise of all of our home visitation partners, whose efforts play a pivotal role in nurturing family and community well-being. We are committed to continuing our collaboration, recognizing that our shared mission to support families is enhanced by our strong partnership.

If you are interested in learning more about these or other home visitation programs in our network, please contact us at 602-633-0732 or


"Hands & Voices is a nationwide non-profit organization dedicated to supporting families and their children who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as the professionals who serve them. We are a parent-driven, parent/professional collatorative group that is unbiased towards communication modes and methods. Our diverse membership includes those who are deaf, hard of hearing, and their families who communicate orally, speak American Sign Language, cue, and/or combined methods. We exist to help our children reach their highest potential. Arizona Hands & Voices is a chapter of the national organization."

Explore resources and activities to support the early intervention journey for families of children who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing through this virtual, interactive website.



Free 2024 High Risk Perinatal Program Conference produced by the Arizona Department of Health Services. June 18, 2024 at Desert Willow Conference Center, Phoenix, Arizona. Registration through the webpage above is required.


For more upcoming events visit our Facebook Page:

Arizona Early Childhood Community

Important Disclaimer: The foregoing is publicly available information about upcoming events, resources, and reminders from third-party organizations. In some cases, AzEIP has included links to other websites that are not owned or controlled in any way by AzEIP, but that contain additional information about the events, resources or reminders. By clicking on any of the links above, you agree to be directed to the external website and you acknowledge and agree that AzEIP shall not be held responsible or accountable for any information contained on such site. Please note that AzEIP does not monitor any of the websites linked herein and does not endorse or approve any information posted on any such sites.


Please email your request to: