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Frequently Asked Questions 

What does the term “early childhood” mean, and what are early childhood services?

Early childhood means prenatal to school entry. Early childhood services encompass an array of supports designed to address children’s health, development and learning prior to school entry. Early childhood services include child care, preschool, parenting education, and regular visits to a pediatrician and family practitioner. For children with developmental delays or at risk due to family circumstance, services can include special education, mental health treatment, home-based parenting education, and developmental therapies like physical, occupational and speech therapy. 

What is the Early Childhood Investment Corporation?

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation is a unique public nonprofit created in 2005 to serve as a catalyst for change. Bridging the public and the private sectors, the Investment Corporation is devoted to the well-being and school readiness of children. The Investment Corporation funds and works closely with the Great Start Collaboratives and Great Start Parent Coalitions and administers Michigan’s child care quality resources through the Great Start Child Care Quality Program. 

What is the difference between all of the “Great Starts” in Ottawa County?

  • Great Start Collaborative (GSC): The GSC is a partnership of community members including parents, school representatives, business community members, health care professionals, agencies, programs, child care providers, and interested individuals. The GSC works with the partners to have a coordinated system of community resources and supports for families in St. Clair County with children from birth through age five.
  • Great Start Parent Coalition (GSPC): The GSPC is a group of dedicated parents who assist in building support and awareness of early childhood, strengthen the civic and volunteer engagement, educate policy-makers, and support the work of the GSC.
  • Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP): The Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) is Michigan’s FREE preschool program for four year old children who qualify. GSRP gives children a classroom experience to prepare them for kindergarten. GSRP helps children get ready for school, increases attendance and reduces the number of children who repeat a grade by almost one-half.
  • Great Start to Quality Western Regional Resource Center (RRC): The RRC provides a variety of services to parents, guardians and child care providers throughout the State of Michigan. Services provided include child care trainings, Great Start to Quality Orientations, child care quality improvement, Lending Library materials and more. 
  • Head Start: Head Start is a national program (federally funded) that promotes school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and families.