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Preschool

We have members of our team with many years of experience creating, implementing, and researching and evaluating preschool programs. This includes both privately funded as well as state and federal programs like Michigan’s Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP), Head Start, and Early Head Start. Additionally, our expertise covers the creation and validation of preschool curriculum content, teacher professional development, and assessment tools to measure both child outcomes and program quality.

Great Start to Quality

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation implements Great Start to Quality. Great Start to Quality is Michigan’s quality rating and improvement system.  It initially launched in the fall of 2011 and a new version (Version 2.0) launched in June 2013.  Version 2.0 incorporated changes that recognized Michigan’s early learning and care program diversity relative to quality, areas of strength, and additional monitoring and accountability.  Michigan’s state-of-the art, tiered quality rating and improvement system has been designed to increase the quality of early learning and care provided in all licensed and registered child care and preschool programs and includes unlicensed, subsidized providers within the quality improvement portion of the system.  Great Start to Quality provides a reliable, valid, easy-to-understand measure of quality for licensed and registered early learning and care programs. 

GreatStartToQuality.org is Michigan’s online searchable database for licensed child care and preschool.  Families can search by selected criteria to find programs that best fit their needs.  It also houses a professional development registry for center-based staff and home-based providers.

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation designed an online platform to support implementation of Great Start to Quality.  The Great Start to Quality STARS platform is where licensed child care and preschool programs complete their self-assessment using the Great Start to Quality Program Standards criteria, utilize resources, and create quality improvement plans. 

Assessment Specialists and Approved Raters are responsible for the administration of the Program Quality Assessment (PQA)® for Great Start to Quality.  The Investment Corporation is facilitating biennial peer learning opportunities in 2014 for these individuals.  The convenings are designed to increase shared understanding of the PQA, particularly the indicators form Tool Form A, and to ensure that Great Start to Quality program ratings are valid and reliable.

 

Quality Improvement Supports

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation through Great Start to Quality, Michigan’s quality rating and improvement system, and the statewide network of Great Start to Quality Resource Centers supports center-based and home-based programs and providers with professional development, resources and consultation.  The supports are specifically designed to improve quality for programs and providers with preschool age children.

 

Training and Technical Assistance for Great Start to Quality Resource Centers

Ten Great Start to Quality Resource Centers are located in eleven regions throughout Michigan to help support providers and educators improve the quality of their programs and care.  Available assistance includes:  coaching and consultation for developing quality improvement plans, financial assistance for improving the child care or preschool setting, information about professional development and training opportunities, Lending library of books, CDs, puzzles, and other learning materials and Learning kits. The Investment Corporation provides an annual planned program of technical assistance to Resource Center Directors, Quality Improvement Consultants and Quality Improvement Specialist across Michigan.   The planned program includes training, coaching, consultation, a weekly bulletin of information and resources, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities.  The Investment Corporation also hosts a technical assistance consultation phone line and email box to respond to day-to-day questions and provide immediate consultation on emerging issues.

 

Training and Technical Assistance for Great Start Collaboratives
Great Start Collaboratives are unique to Michigan and have been operating in Michigan since 2005.  Each intermediate school district (ISD) or consortium of ISDs that receives funding must convene a local Great Start Collaborative and a Great Start Parent Coalition to ensure the coordination and expansion of local early childhood infrastructure and programs that allow every child in the community to achieve Michigan’s early childhood outcomes.  The Investment Corporation provides an annual planned program of technical assistance to Great Start Collaborative Directors.  The planned program includes training, coaching, consultation, a weekly bulletin of information and resources, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities.  The Investment Corporation also hosts a technical assistance consultation phone line and email box to respond to day-to-day questions and provide immediate consultation on emerging issues.

Early Childhood Standards of Quality for Prekindergarten

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Great Start worked with nationally recognized consultants to update and revise the Early Childhood Standards of Quality for Prekindergarten.  The revised standards were provided to MDE-OGS and adopted by the State Board of Education in 2013. Read more about the standards here.

 

Aiming for Success:  Improving Outcomes and School Readiness for Young Children with Disabilities

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation commissioned a white paper on how to improve outcomes for young children in early childhood special education.  The Michigan Department of Education, Office of Great Start Expanding Opportunities Committee provided guidance on the development of the paper.  The paper includes the promise that inclusion holds for all children in Michigan with a series of recommendations to make it easier for communities to expand inclusive opportunities.  The paper was provided to MDE-OGS and adopted by the State Board of Education in 2013.

Detroit Public Television Early Childhood Vignettes

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation partnered with Detroit Public Television to create 40 one-minute vignettes about early childhood development and the importance of nurturing early childhood development.  The vignettes were recognized with a Michigan Emmy, were broadcast statewide on public television stations, distributed statewide through DVDs, and are still available online.  Additionally, Detroit Public Television created a one hour special about the importance of high-quality early learning and care.

 

Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC)

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation partnered with the Cardiovascular Health, Nutrition and Physical Activity Section at the Michigan Department of Community Health in 2012 to expand early childhood obesity prevention efforts in child care by implementing the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC).  Grant funds were made available to participating child care centers through the CDC-funded Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Prevention Program.  Through this ongoing partnership, NAP SACC consultants were recruited from Resource Centers as well as other organizations which provide training and support to child care providers.

 

Local Early Childhood Funds

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation established twenty-nine local early childhood funds in Great Start Collaborative communities in 2011.  The local funds were initially established with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds with a dollar for dollar match and used to support families to access a high-quality early learning experience for their three-year old children, ensuring two years of high-quality early learning prior to kindergarten.  Communities were supported with technical assistance to establish and maintain the funds.  In 2013, Great Start – Early Learning Advisory Council funds were used to support eleven of the original twenty-nine with additional funds for their efforts.  All twenty-nine communities have sustained their fund in some capacity.

 

Child Care Coordinated Grants

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Great Start supported nine programs and two consortiums to develop coordinated efforts for recruitment and enrollment of preschool age children in high-quality early learning settings, most specifically Head Start and Great Start Readiness Programs.

 

Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation partnered with the Michigan Head Start Collaboration Office and the Michigan Department of Community Health to conduct a series of Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning trainings statewide, increasing the capacity of trainers and increasing awareness and knowledge about social and emotional development.

 

Great Start to Quality Orientation Training

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation worked with Michigan State University Extension to design a comprehensive, six hour training for unlicensed subsidized providers that included First Aid and CPR certification, child development, health and nutrition.  The Investment Corporation led the effort to train over 21,000 unlicensed subsidized providers statewide in eight months and improve quality.  Great Start to Quality Orientation training remains a requirement for all unlicensed subsidized providers.