Parent CoalitionParent and Caregiver ResourcesGreat Start CollaborativeContact UsDonate
What's New In Early Childhood

Don't Forget your TEETH when going Back to School
September 2012
  • Part of the back to school process for all families should be to make certain that children have had a regular physical, which may include a developmental screening and an oral health screening. 
  • Preschool programs require a health appraisal. 
  • Local doctor’s offices have been engaged for several years now at offering developmental screenings at the ages of 9, 12, and 24 – 36 months of age. 
  • Dr. Jaffri, Dr. Lewis, and Dr Kuhlman, are local dentists leading the way.
  • Many physicians are conducting oral screenings during regular physicals as well as encouraging and educating families as to the importance of oral health. 
  • Shiawassee County is one of the original 61 counties in the State of Michigan to have dental coverage for all children not covered by another plan. 
  • Healthy Kids Dental, a Delta Dental plan, is available to qualifying families and most, if not all dentists in Shiawassee County accepts Healthy Kids Dental. 

Register for Quality Kindergartan and PreK
  • July 2012
    • There will be approximately 900 children entering Kindergarten this Fall
    • Each year at least 50 children in Shiawassee county show up for kindergarten on the first day of school without being registered.
    • There are 28 licensed child care centers in Shiawassee County. They can be found at www.greatstartforkids.org/connect/ and www.migreatparents.org/cochildcare.cfm?county=Shiawassee
    • Every School District in Shiawassee County has preschool programming.
    • Current research shows that children who attend one of the state funded Great Start Readiness programs are less likely to be held back a grade and score higher on the MEAP test in the 4th grade.
    • 144 Head Start slots are available in Shiawassee County
    • Children who attend preschool are more likely to graduate, less likely to commit a crime and earn higher wages than those who did not.
    • Call 989.725.2581 or 866.725.7792 for more information

Mar 2012

March is Reading Month! Are you growing a reader? 

The ability to read is highly valued and important for social and economic advancement. It is a fundamental part of our world. Fortunately, most children learn to read fairly easily, however, it does not happen all at once. Adults often think that children learn to read when they start school. But the truth is that many children already know a great deal about reading when they enter kindergarten because they have been read to from the time they were born! Children who become good readers are those who have had many positive experiences with books during their early years. 

Reading aloud to children is the best way to get them interested in reading. Spending time together with a book promotes language development and other important skills needed to be successful as a reader. Children are gathering information and learning about the world around them. They can make predictions; connect pictures and text to real life; recall actions and events from stories.  They are recognizing the sound structures of speech. They are building phonological awareness through rhyming and alliteration. They are learning about letter-sound relationships. Alphabetic principles like letter recognition; letter-sound correspondence; name recognition and writing. They are learning the “rules” associated with reading and concepts about print such as identifying book parts; distinguishing between pictures and text; and understanding the direction of text.  

Children who are read to are being exposed to new words. The words children hear and use from birth to age five are the words they will understand when they read. Three year olds have heard 10-30 million words. (Hart & Risely) Children who hear 10 million words are not acquiring words fast enough to sustain them as successful readers.  (Snow, Tabor & Dickinson, 2001) Children with more opportunities to learn new words develop a richer vocabulary and thus have more success with reading than their peers from less language rich environments.     

March is Reading Month so grab a good book and read to a child. Make reading fun. Read the story using different voices for characters, act out the story with props, encourage child to join in on repetitive parts. Take a trip to the library. Even if reading is a challenge, adults can create an environment rich with language for the developing child by having various types of reading materials available, telling family stories about self and other relatives. Adults can impart a valuable gift by reading to and with children during their earliest years.

Feb 2012

February is National Children's Dental Health Month! 

A child's primary teeth, sometimes called "baby teeth," are as important as the permanent adult teeth.

  • Primary teeth typically begin to appear when a baby is between age six months and one year.
  • Primary teeth help children chew and speak.
  • Primary teeth hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are developing under the gums.
The ADA recommends that a dentist examine a child within six months of the eruption of the first tooth and no later than the first birthday.

A dental visit at an early age is a "well baby checkup" for the teeth.

Besides checking for tooth decay and other problems, the dentist can demonstrate how to clean the child's teeth properly and how to evaluate any adverse habits such as thumbsucking. 

Jan 2012 

For a series of articles about the trends facing children in Shiawassee County: Kids Count data release- Health Matters!

Jan 24
Jan 28
Jan 31
Feb 1

Car Seat Check Tues, February 7, 2012

at Young Chevrolet Cadillac
M-21, Owosso
To schedule an appointment contact Jessica at 989-666-5611 or eeyore71384@yahoo.com

Plan about 30 minitues per seat for a certified technician to inspect installation of seat. 
Child must be present.
Download Flyer with more information


Click Make Resolution to Spend More Time with Children to download article with playful activities and ideas

Dec 2011

Click Helping Children Cope With Holiday Stress to download article.


Tiered Quality Rating & Improvement System

Great Start to Quality, Michigan's Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System, was launched in October and conitnues momemtum toward full implementation.  Childcare providers have the option to complete a Self Assessment Survey (SAS) that would enable them to move from Level 1 to a higher level. These levels won't be visible to parents until Oct 2012.

Nov 2011

FREE Preschool for 4 year olds: Perry & Morrice

The Great Start Readiness PreK Program in the Perry Public School and Morrice Area School districts now have current openings for students who will be 4 years of age by December 1, 2011. FREE full-day and part-day classroom options are available. 

There is significant research that indicates a child who is prepared for school has a greater likelihood of future academic success than students who did not participate in a high-quality PreK experience. 

The Great Start Readiness PreK Program helps children prepare for their approaching school years and reduces the number of students who repeat a grade by almost one-half. In addition, school readiness programs have been proven to increase student achievement and attendance. 

"Our young students have a wonderful opportunity to get a GREAT START on their academic and social experiences that will help prepare them for future school success," states Susan Alleman, Director for the Great Start PreK Programs in Perry and Morrice. She also adds, "Every eligible four-year old should have the opportunity to begin kindergarten with a high-quality school readiness experience."
The Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) is Michigan's FREE PreK program for eligible four-year-olds. The programs provide strong family involvement/parent education components as well as an exciting hands-on, developmental appropriate PreK curriculum. To find out more information or to enroll a child in a FREE Great Start Readiness PreK classroom contact Susan Alleman @ 517.675.5101 or allemas@perry.k12.mi.us

State Applies for Michigan Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge

Click here to review the grant submitted by the Michigan Department of Education to support a comprehensive early childhood system in the State of Michigan.

Sept 2011

Over $92,000 raised to send 3 years olds to preschool

Great Start- Shiawassee raised enough money to send 76 3-year-olds from across the county to preschool this fall... for FREE!

Thanks to Consumers Energy, Chemical Bank, Memorial Healthcare and numerous other area businesses, agencies and individuals for their generous support of the Early Childhood Fund ($1+$1=$4). 

Monies raised were then doubled by the Early Childhood Investment Corporation.  

Thank you to everyone who donated.  "I would also like to thank everyone who helped raise the funds by giving presentations at agencies and businesses, selling paperdolls at local businesses and spreading the word in any way they could," said Emily Brewer, Great Start Shiawassee Director. 

Consumers Energy contributed $20,000.  "We believe real strongly that providing support to early childhood programs is one of the best investments we can make for Michigan's future," said Carolyn Bloodworth, secretary/treasurer of Consumers Energy Foundation.    

The raised funds are paying for scholarships to send 3-year-olds from local families with financial need to preschool programs associated with area public schools.  The other $92,000 will be used to sustain the scholarship program over the years. 


July 2011

Secondhand Smoke Tied to Kids' Behavior Problems

Children exposed to secondhand smoke at home may be more likely than their peers to have learning and behavioral problems, according to a new study. Researchers found that of more than 55,000 U.S. children younger than 12 years, six percent lived with a smoker. And those kids were more likely to have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a learning disability or "conduct disorder" than children in smoke-free homes. For more on this story, visit MSNBC.com

New Crib Standards-
Crib Exchange for Child Care Providers

In December 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved new mandatory standards for full-size and non-full-size baby cribs under Section 104(c) of the by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

The mandatory crib standards will: (1) stop the manufacture and sale of dangerous, traditional drop-side cribs; (2) make mattress supports stronger; (3) make crib hardware more durable; and (4) make safety testing more rigorous. Effective June 28, 2011, all cribs sold will have to be manufactured to the new
standards. According to the CPSC, all drop-side cribs, even ones with immobilizers, and most non-drop side cribs made prior to June 28, 2011 will not meet the new standards.

Family and group child home and child care center licensing rules require that all cribs meet the standards of the CPSC. Per the new standards, all child care providers will have to replace all cribs not meeting the new standards by December 28, 2012. 

To meet new safe crib requirements and support providers who care for the most vulnerable children, the Regional Resource Centers are coordinating a statewide crib exchange event with their GSC's and GSPC's on Sat, August 27, 2011.

Providers who meet the following criteria may qualify for a certificate to be redeemed in exchange for a new crib that meets the recently updated Consumer Product Safety Commission requirements.

• They currently care for infants and/or toddlers (children under the age of 3)
• They currently accept children in their care who receive DHS subsidy for child care (children of any age)
• They are licensed/registered been in business for at least one year; or be an unlicensed provider
• They do not have any current major licensing violations

Providers will receive a certificate of eligibility with an invitation to RSVP to their regional resource center. The RRC will coordinate exchange events where new cribs can be picked up and/or delivered and the old unsafe cribs will be exchanged and disposed of.

JUNE 2011

State Budget for Fiscal Year 2012 Complete


On May 26th, 2011, the Legislature finalized the state budget for fiscal year 2012 after a speedy conference committee process. The final budget comes in the form of two omnibus budget bills – one for K-12 School Aid, Community Colleges and Higher Education (HB 4325) and one for all of the other departments (HB 4526). On June 21st, the Governor signed both bills into law with no vetoes in education budgets and limited vetoes in the other omnibus bill. However, the Governor made clear that much of the legislative intent that is included in budget bills as boilerplate language is not binding to the Administration under the Constitution.
Read Michigan's Children Budget Basics reports that provide an overview of early childhood programs and funding trends over the years, including highlights from the fiscal year 2012 budget, in the following areas:
  • Early care and learning
  • Family income and supports
  • Health and mental health

$100,000 Awarded for Preschool Scholarships:
1+1=4 Campaign

Great Start Shiawassee kicked off a fundraising campaign to raise up to $100,000 to support preschool and early learning experiences for the children of Shiawassee County.  Through a grant opportunity offered by the Early Childhood Investment Corporation(ECIC), we've been awarded up to $100,000 to start the Shiawassee Early Childhood Fund. However, in order to receive the funds we need to raise local matching funds. 

Your donation will be matched utilizing a local funding source ($1+$1) and then this donation will be matched through the ECIC grant opportunity ($2 becomes $4).  It makes "cents" to invest!

Research supports that for every $1 invested in Early Childhood NOW, saves up to $17 later.  Quality early childhood experiences lay the foundation for a child's success in school and in life.  Early experiences shape a child's brain.  



Average Preschool Costs:

  • 1 day of preschool = $15
  • 1 year of 2 days/week = $786
  • 1 year of 4 days/week = $1700
Shiawassee’s Children await their Champion…Is it You?

To show your support: Donate on-line (above) or send check payable to Shiawassee RESD to Shiawassee Early Childhood Fund
114 W North St.
Owosso, MI 48867

Click MyPlate Replaces Food Pyramid to download article.

Last week, the First Lady, Secretary Vilsack, and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin announced the new food icon, MyPlate that replaces My Pyramid. MyPlate gives us a visual reminder to fill half our plate with fruits and vegetables, along with protein, whole grains and dairy. Check out the video.


Great Start car seat check ensures safety

SHIAWASSEE COUNTY — Jessica Bostwick was fed up with people driving around with children who weren’t secured in car seats. So, she decided to do something about it.

Bostwick, a parent on the Shiawassee County Great Start Parent Coalition, contacted Lori Noyer, co-coordinator of the county’s Great Start Collaborative, and together they cooked up a plan of action.

First, Noyer wrote a grant and got funding from the Shiawassee United Way for 40 car seats. Next, the women asked Lori Young, a board member for the collaborative whose family owns Young Chevrolet Cadillac in Owosso, to host a car seat safety event at the business. Finally, the women partnered with the Safe Kids Coalition of Ingham County and area Child Passenger Safety Technicians to perform the safety checks.

The result? After staging two four-hour events, the team has educated dozens of parents and grandparents on the proper use of car seats and distributed all 40 seats to parents in need. Nearly 150 car seats were checked.

What also emerged as a result of this project is a new collaboration. The Michigan State Police post in Corunna had received a grant to distribute car seats and needed a partner to help distribute them. The Shiawassee County Great Start Collaborative has been able to organize additional events and increase capacity to serve families.

Even Bostwick found out her daughter wasn’t in the right seat for her car.

“Even with everything I know about car seats, I was wrong,” Bostwick said.

She discovered that the seats aren’t the only factor in car safety for kids. Size matters, too. For instance, Bostwick said the headrests on her car were too low for her daughter to ride safely, so she is now back to using a high-back booster seat.

Bostwick is feeling better about the safety of children riding in cars in Shiawassee County.

“We have exchanged so many seats that had something wrong with them,” Bostwick said. “Just knowing that many more children are in seats that are safe is great.”

Noyer said the safety checks take about 30 minutes per seat.

“So many people think you strap them in and you’re good to go,” she said. “There’s a lot more to it than that.

“They check to see how the child fits in the seat,” she said. “They examine the restraints and the harness clips and make sure the straps aren’t twisted. Then they check how the seat fits into the car and if the seat is properly installed. That’s where many problems occur. Eighty percent are installed incorrectly.”

Safety checks are offered by various groups, but Noyer said police and fire departments and hospitals often have experts available to do checks. Visit greatstartshiawassee.org to find a local child passenger safety technician and dates of local car seat events.

What's New In Early Childhood

Featured Links
HomeParent CoalitionParent and Caregiver ResourcesGreat Start CollaborativeContact UsDonate