Archive for the ‘News’ Category

GSRP

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Parent and Youth Group in Ewen

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

 

This group is for parents and youths (ages 0 – 5), siblings are welcome.  The group is another way for our children to come together to improve their social skills, work of their large motor development and also a great way to get a little exercise.  It also gives parents the opportunity to get together and make new and exciting friendships.  Please join us and have FUN!!! 

Parent and youth group schedule

January 24, 3:30-5:00 (Elementary Gym)

January 30, 3:30-5:00 (Elementary Gym)

February 4, 3:30-5:00 (Elementary Gym)

February 10, 3:30-5:00 (Elementary Gym)

February 21, 10:30-12:00 (Preschool Room)

March 7, 3:30-5:00 (Elementary Gym)

March 12, 3:30-5:00 (Elementary Gym)

March 21, 10:30-12:00 (Preschool Room)

March 31, 3:30-5:00 (Elementary Gym)

April 14, 3:30-5:00 (Elementary Gym)

April 23, 3:30-5:00 (Elementary Gym)

April 29, 3:30-5:00 (Elementary Gym)

If you have questions or concerns, or would like to suggest anything please contact Jessica Toole at (906) 553-4112.  You can also see the schedule on the Head Start and E-TC on-line calendars.  Please note that a parent/guardian must remain present through the duration of the group activities.

January Newsletter from Great Start to Quality

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Mini Family Fun Night

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Art for FamiliesThe Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Parent Coalition and

Great Start to Quality Upper Peninsula Resource Center present:

Mini-Family Fun Night

Thursday, January 16th at 4:00 at the Bessemer GOCAA Head Start

  • Children from birth through 3rd grade (and siblings) are invited to attend with their parent(s)/guardian.

  • Children will make a craft.

  • A healthy make and take snack table will be set up.

  • Opportunity for music and movement.

  • Have your child’s name entered into a door prize drawing when you register.

  • Check out and borrow a learning bin from the Resource Center.

  • Parents can take educational handouts on topics of nutrition, dental health, child development, and community resource guides.

  • Parents can take part in a learning session.

Call and register by Tuesday, January 14th

Call/text to Amy Thill: 906-285-2271

or Mary Sommer:  701-552-2800

Five Numbers to Remember About Early Childhood Development

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
  1. Getting things right the first time is easier and more effective than trying to fix them later.
  2. Early childhood matters because experiences early in life can have a lasting impact on later learning, behavior, and health.
  3. Highly specialized interventions are needed as early as possible for children experiencing toxic stress.
  4. Early life experiences actually get under the skin and into the body, with lifelong effects on adult physical and mental health.
  5. All of society benefits from investments in early childhood programs.

Baby & Me Art Class at the DAP

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Downtown Art Place Baby & Me Art Classes

What’s School Readiness?

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

What does it mean to be ready for school? When does school readiness actually start? How can we as a community of caring adults work together to ensure young children are able to succeed?

Click on the picture to watch a short School Readiness Youtube video from Child Trend, which helps explain what school readiness means and why it is critical to the success of your child.

 

Fun Ice Cream Social at the Ontonagon Towship Park

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Fun at the Ice Cream Social!

 

Fun was had by all at the Parent Coalition sponsored Ice Cream Social in Ontonagon.

What a beautiful day at the Ontonagon Township Park! Families were able to come and eat ice cream, meet Sheriff Rantala (discuss car seat safety) and sign up for the new GSRP 4 year old program in Ontonagon. 

Thank you to all the families that were able to attend and to Sheriff Rantala for giving your time by attending. 

Please look for other events sponsored by the Parent Coalition in the Gogebic-Ontonagon Area!

Parent Coalition Hosts an Ice Cream Social!

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

 

 

Great time at the Ice Cream Social!

The Parent Coalition sponsored an ice cream social in Gogebic County on Tuesday July 16th. Ice cream was enjoyed by many adults and children along with great socializing and play. We had lots of fun toppings to add to our ice cream.

  Please look for more ice cream socials to occur this summer in Ontonagon County.

  • Thursday August 1st at 12 EST at the Ewen Public School Park (bring a topping to share)
  • Thursday August 15th at 12 EST at Ontonagon Park (bring a topping to share)

2013 Family Fun Night Was Spectacular

Friday, May 10th, 2013
 
 
On Tuesday May 7 almost 100 families played,  learned, created art, and danced around the Ironwood Memorial Building. This year’s family fun night was a huge success. Many organizations set up family-friendly activities, gave away prizes, and shared useful information about community resources. Children and families learned about washing their hands, nutritious food, paper making, dancing, card making, sensory exploration, bird house making, created flowers, received information about GSRP registration, and even met with Smoky the Bear to learn about fire safety. We want to thank all of the organizations for participating and for the group that organized the event, especially Erin Ross at MSU ext.

Shriners, Quilters, Gogebic County Prosecutors, MSU ext, State Farm Insurance, Family Video, Wakefield Public Library, Ironwood Carnegie Library, Trinity Lutheran Church and Preschool, Paper Making, DHS Foster Care, Downtown Art, Shoots and Ladders, Ironwood Dance, Ottawa National Forest, Lac Vieuex Desert Head Start, Great Start Parent Coalition, Aspirus Grand View, Westerm UP Health Dept, and the UP Great Start to Quality Resource Center.

Family Wins Trike at Parent Coalition Event

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Family wins Trike at Parent Coalition Event

The Great Start Parent Coalition was excited to have over a dozen children and families at the “Get the wiggles out” open gym for toddlers held at the Ironwood Memorial Building every other week on Wednesdays. Children had a chance to play with new friends, ride bikes, throw balls, play games, and play with their parents. Parents also had the chance to talk with each other and learn more about the Parent Coalition, a group of parents that meets each month to discuss needs for young children and families in our area. At the end of the fun filled event, Mary Sommer, Parent Liaison raffled off a trike. The family pictured was excited to win the trike.

Parents interested in getting involved with the Parent Coalition should contact Mary Sommer, msommer@goisd.org or call 906-575-3438 ext. 103.

Gogebic-Ontonagon Counties GSC and PC Doing More To Help Michigan’s Young Children Succeed

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Statewide Evaluation Report Shows the improved coordination and collaboration between agencies and programs are improving results for young children.

(Bergland, MI) – April is the Month of the Young Child, and nowhere is there more evidence of changes being made to ensure all children are ready for school, than right here in Gogebic and Ontonagon Counties through the work of the Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition.

According to the statewide “Evaluation of the Great Start Initiative,” a new report released by the Early Childhood Investment Corporation, more parents and providers of early childhood services think a greater number of Michigan’s young children have gained access to education, child care and physical and social-emotional health services over the past two years, and that parents are playing a larger role in making sure those services are available.

Locally, the report found that Great Start Collaborative members and Parents feel:

•  100%:  The Great Start Collaborative have improved system change efforts, such as shifting or adopting new policies, procedures, or programs to reduce barriers and improve the early childhood system.

• 97%: The Great Start Collaborative has increased their partnerships with key outside organizations in the community and with parents to improve outcomes for children.

• 93%:  The Great Start Collaborative has created a unified vision shared with the Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition, including: an aligned understanding of, and agreement upon problems, possible solutions, and overall goals.

The report was prepared by Dr. Pennie Foster-Fishman and the System exChange Evaluation Team at Michigan State University, which also conducted a 2010 study on behalf of the Investment Corporation. Foster-Fishman said the results show that the need for early childhood investment is gaining support in communities across the state as more parents, service providers, businesses and philanthropic groups get involved.

The need for more investment in early childhood is clear. One in three Michigan children enters kindergarten with previously unidentified health, social-emotional, developmental or learning problems, all of which can become a life sentence for poor academic achievement and limited opportunities if those problems aren’t addressed.

The Great Start Initiative report shows that the program is succeeding in getting more providers, parents and community members on board to promote the goal of ensuring that children are ready for school.

Allison Liddle GSC Coordinator said, “Research shows how integral the first five years of life are to brain development, so it’s remarkable to see the Great Start Collaborative members focusing on these critical years in our counties. The results of the survey confirm that the Great Start Collaborative have been improving outcomes for young children in our region through collaboration. We have a dedicated board of over 30 members and parents working diligently to ensure each child enters kindergarten safe, healthy and eager to succeed by using our local resources more effectively to help children and parents.”

The Great Start Initiative is aimed at making a difference in the first few years of a child’s life – years that are critical to future development – through better health and health care, child care and early learning, parenting leadership and family support.

“Being a part of the Parent Coalition and the Great Start Collaborative has been a great experience.  I have had the opportunity to share my thoughts and concerns regarding child and parenting in our county.  It’s also increased my awareness of resources available for my children and has created another network for me to be informed.  It has also given me opportunity for personal growth, being involved in committee work and attending conferences as well as coordinating an educational program for parents in my county,” explained parent leader Angela Foley.

Early Years are Learning Years…Make Them Count!

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Cognitive Development


Brain development research affirms what parents and teachers have known for years:1) good prenatal care, 2) warm and loving attachments between young children and adults, and 3) positive stimulation from the time of birth make a difference in children’s development for a lifetime. Early experiences contribute significantly to the structure of the brain.

The quality, quantity and consistency of stimulation determine how the brain connects and functions; this is true for cognitive and emotional development, and the effect is lifelong.

-95% of information received comes to us through vision, touch and hearing.
-Positive feelings trigger the release of endorphins, which enhance the functioning of brain connections.
-The brain needs to be properly hydrated in order to be alert; only water provides proper hydration. Check with your physician for appropriate water intake for children under two.
-Offer information to young children in small doses and increase the amount as they show understanding.

“SENSE-ational!” 2013 Early Childhood Conference

Monday, March 18th, 2013

“SENSE-ational!” 2013 Early Childhood Conference
 
Upper Peninsula Early Childhood Conference Bay College, Escanaba this spring with the theme of “Being SENSE-ational!”. The 29th Annual Conference will be held this year on Friday, April 19th and Saturday, April 20th, with two keynote presentations: Lisa Murphy (otherwise known as the “Ooey Gooey Lady”), and James Coffey, M.Ed with Georgean Johnson-Coffey, M.Ed., whose music can be previewed at  James’ website: www.jamescoffey.com .
 
The conference will get underway on Friday, April 19, with keynote presentations and workshops throughout the Bay College campus. This conference will be of interest to primary caregivers, parents, students, educators and anyone who works with young children.  Participants will have a multitude of interesting workshops including: Family Partnerships, Literacy, Science  and Math, Quality Standards, Trauma, Play, Breastfeeding, Developmental Delay, Special Needs and Multiculturalism. The two-day conference continues on Saturday at 8:30am with a family-friendly emphasis until 3:30pm.
 
There will be a special Family Fun-filled concert/workshop at 6:30 – 8:00pm, on Friday night with James Coffey, M.Ed. We will fill the gymnasium at Holy Name School, 409 South 22nd Street, Escanaba, (906) 786-7550, where we’ll enjoy a fun evening of inspirational song, Family Fun magazine described James Coffey as “Wonderful original songs … A gentle-voiced pop folkie with a knack for playful turns of phrase and melody…”. The concert is especially aimed at young learners: the public and conference participants will be encouraged to interact with children, learning together.
 
Conference registration deadline is March 23, 2012. Registration fees: Full Conference $110, Friday ONLY $75, Saturday ONLY $75, Student Rate Full Conference $60, Student Rate One-Day $35.
 
Registration forms can be viewed on the U.P. Early Childhood Conference website, and sent to MTEC at Bay College, 2001 N. Lincoln Road, Escanaba, MI 49829. Interested participants are encouraged to visit the conference website for more information on workshops, speakers and the availability of SCECHs or continuing education hours.

Our Vision

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Why Great Start?
We want every child to enter school safe, healthy, and eager to succeed. The Great Start Collaborative is made up of a dedicated group of adults ensuring that this vision is a reality for the young children in Gogebic and Ontonagon counties. 
  • Each year too many children are entering kindergarten not ready to learn.
  • 1 in 3 students enter kindergarten not ready to learn.
  • Leads to poor academic achievement, diminished expectations and limited opportunity.
  • Early identification and intervention can help!
  • While state programs exist to address health, social-emotional, developmental and learning concerns of young children and their parents – local availability, access, capacity and quality varies tremendously. 

GSC Members Gather for Strategic Planning Retreat

Friday, December 14th, 2012
Early Childhood Strategic Planning Retreat
On Dec. 7 a group of GSC members, including many parents gathered to develop an updated Strategic Plan for the Early Childhood population in Gogebic and Ontonagon Counties. Lead by facilitator Kay Balcer from Harbor Beach, Michigan, the group reviewed data, chose top priorities, created goals, and worked together to determine what the community needs in the 2013-2016 Strategic Plan. Over the next 6 months the GSC will be continue working on the Strategic Plan. We’d like to thank all of the GSC members that were able to attend.

Friend of Young Children Awards

Monday, November 12th, 2012

SPAETE AND MELL RECEIVE GREAT START

FRIEND OF YOUNG CHILDREN AWARD

 

Bergland, MI- This is the second year for the Friend of Young Children award to be given out by the Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Collaborative. On Dec. 7 Susan Spaete and Kathy Mell, RN were given the Great Start Friend of Young Children Awards for their many efforts in creating more learning opportunities for young children and their families. The award was named Great Start Friend of Young Children because that is what these individuals are, friends of young children (ages birth-five years old) within the communities.

The Great Start Friend of Young Children award recognizes two individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Gogebic and/or Ontonagon County early childhood community through his or her service as an advocate for children and supporting early care and learning opportunities. Nominations for the award were made by community members and parents in the month of November.

“Susan is a preschool and kindergarten teacher, who has made a remarkable impact with young children in the classroom at Wakefield-Mariensco School District. She prepares many young children for kindergarten. Kathy is a Registered Nurse for the Western U.P. Health department and has a passion for providing health care to young children and their families.” GSC Coordinator Allison Liddle explained.  

Their efforts and contributions have made Gogebic or Ontonagon Counties a great place for children providing all children a Great Start; safe, healthy, and eager to succeed in school and in life. To learn more about the Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Collaborative visit www.gogreatstart.org.

Tom Pease Concert was a SUCCESS!

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

On October 26, 2012 over 250 young children, parents, teachers, grandparents, and community members gathered at Gogebic Comminity College to enjoy a concert for early childhood. Children’s musical performer Tom Pease included the entire crowd in on his fun, interactive, uplifting songs. We learned the “8-hugs a day” song, “Love grows 1 by 1,” and even the “Belly button song.” This concert was sponsored by Aspirus Grand View Health System and the Great Start to Quality Resource Center. The Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Collaborative hosted the event. The concert was a fundraising event, which will be put towards early childhood projects locally. We want to give a HUGE thanks to everyone that came to this event. Visit Tom Pease’s website at http://tompease.com.

Welcoming Mary Sommer as Parent Liaison

Friday, October 19th, 2012
The GSC Welcomes a New Parent Liaison Mary Sommer
 
What makes you excited about working with the Parent Coalition?
I’m excited to empower parents to be advocates for their children.

What is your experience working with families?
I’ve been working many years with families and children. I started as a substitute teacher in Gogebic county for 2 years, then I worked for GOCAA Head Start as a teacher for 2 years. My husband and I moved to Moorehead, MN where I substitute taught  for 2 years and then taught at LAPCAP Head Start for 4 years before moving back to Ironwood.
 
Talking about family, tell us about yours…
I have two sons, Madden is 4 years old and Mason is 6 years old. They are both very good kids and I love playing superheros with them (this is their new favorite thing to do). My husband, Mat and I live in Ironwood. I’m orginially from Moose Lake, MN.
 

What do you like to do for fun?
Our family loves being outdoors. We like to go hiking, swimming, and doing anything outdoors. My husband and I enjoying spending time with our boys.

 

If you are interested in the Parent Coalition you can contact Mary Sommer via email at msommer@goisd.org or by calling 906-575-3438 ext. 103.

Get Around the Western U.P.

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Get Around the Western U.P.

Transportation Resources for the Western U.P.
(906) 482-7205 ext. 319

How do you get around the Western U.P.?

Chances are that you drive. And if you’re like three quarters of other residents in the Western Upper Peninsula, you drive to work alone. Have you ever wanted a way to get around our area other than driving by yourself? Here you will find the region’s most comprehensive assortment of information on public and private transit, carpooling, and non-motorized transportation.

 

Great Start Collaborative Commitment to Young Children

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

At this time of year it’s always nice to review the past year. The Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition have had a lot of successes in 2011. We’ve created 5 Great Start Family Resource laptop kiosks, with help from the RRC we have expanded early childhood resource libraries to Wakefield Library and Ontonagon Township Library, we held a Early Childhood Expo with over 186 people in attendance, trained preschool teachers on using the IGDI early literacy assessment, held Toddler on the G.O. socializations for children 1-3, increased awareness of the importance of social-emotional health, updated both county resource guides, and much, much more. We’ve also been able to engage more agencies, parents, and caregivers in realizing the importance of school readiness. It was a good year. Early Childhood Challenge for 2012. We’re asking our GSC members, parents, and friends of young children to tell someone why early childhood matters. If 50 people participate in this there will be 2,500 new people that know why early childhood is so important in our communities! Pretty impressive! So go out and tell someone. If you don’t know what to say just tell them about the www.gogreatstart.org website. As we look at planning for 2012 we need to build on our past successes and think about how we can meet the early childhood needs of our communities? If you have any ideas about what is needed in our communities please share it with me and I’ll pass it along to our members. Also, if you are interested in becoming involved in either the Great Start Collaborative or the Parent Coalition email Allison Liddle (aliddle@goisd.org) we’re always looking for more passionate people to help out. Thanks for your help and support in this important work!

Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Collaborative Give Out Two Great Start Friend of Young Children Awards

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

[Bergland, Michigan] — Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Collaborative (GSC) is joining the statewide effort to recognize early childhood leaders within local communities. On December 8 the GSC recognized Lynne Wiercinski and Angie Foley as the two award winners during a by a training by Karen Ray a national author and speaker. “We are so excited to be giving out the Great Start Friend of Young Children Award,” said GSC Coordinator Allison Liddle “This award recognizes community leaders that are going above and beyond for our young children. Both Lynne and Angie have a deep  commitment to providing more opportunities for our young children. Lynne has worked to provide more library programs and early childhood resources for children and families. Angie is a parent of young children and realized the importance of socializing children. She has lead playgroups in Ontonagon county and advocates for young children. Their efforts and contributions have made Gogebic and Ontonagon Counties a great place for children providing all children a Great Start; safe, healthy, and eager to succeed in school and in life.”

Parents Corner: What can I do to help my child succeed in school?

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

By Megan Fuller, Parent Leader Parents often want to know “What can I do to help my child succeed in school?” Two recent studies suggest that parental involvement at home may be the answer. The Center for Public Education published a report called “Back to school: How parent involvement affects student achievement” which examines the results of several studies. The report covers different kinds of involvement, but concludes that the biggest impact comes from parents supporting learning at home. Parents engaging in activities that enhanced learning at home had a greater positive effect than other types of parental involvement (e.g. attendance at school events, volunteering, etc.). Another recent study was conducted by The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). The PISA study examined the reasons behind differences in standardized test results among industrialized countries. Researchers interviewed principals, students, and parents and concluded that the most important factor in predicting higher test results at age fifteen was whether parents read to their children during their first year of primary school. Even once researchers controlled for variations in socioeconomic backgrounds the statistics demonstrated that children who were read to regularly at a young age had higher scores later. The research is clear: parental involvement impacts a child’s future academic success. Earlier research has demonstrated the role of storytelling in early childhood literacy development. Want your child to do well in high school? Read a picture book to your baby, toddler or preschooler today.

5 Family Resource Kiosks Available for Families

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

The Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Collaborative along with the U.P. Regional Child Care Resource Center are now able to offer Great Start Family Resource Kiosks to provide parents with access to early childhood resources. You’re invited to utilize the Family Resource Kiosks found at the following locations to find:

  • Ages and Stages Questionnaire a free online child development screenings
  • Internet access to search for local early childhood resources
  • Great Start Connect to find local child care and preschool options
  • Early childhood resource libraries (books, puppets, games, and more!)
  • Parenting information and a local community calendar

Great Start Family Kiosk Locations
View Family Resource Centers in a larger map.

Ironwood Carnegie Library
235 East Aurora Street * Ironwood, MI 49938
(906)932-0203 or (906)932-2447
*Includes Early Childhood Resource Library

————

Ontonagon Township Library
311 N. Steel Street * Ontonagon, MI 49953
(906)884-4411
*Includes Early Childhood Resource Library

————

Lac Vieux Desert Head Start
E.23968 Choate Road * Watersmeet, MI 49969
(906)358-4944

————

Carp Lake Township Library
35349 Mall Circle Dr * White Pine, MI 49971
(906)885-5888

————

Michigan Works
100 W. Cloverland Drive * Ironwood, MI 49938

Great Beginnings Childbirth and Healthy Parenting Series

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Perinatal Education – Great Beginnings Childbirth and Healthy Parenting

1/12/2012

Location: Aspirus Grand View Hospital Conference Room A

This Great Beginnings Childbirth and Healthy Parenting Series prepares expectant parents for the delivery and care of their baby and themselves. The class provides information on how to make pregnancy more comfortable, what to expect during labor and birth, premature labor and how to prevent it, pain relief options, prenatal development, breast and bottle feeding, and newborn care, plus a new session on lamaze and relaxation exercises!

Classes consist of three consecutive Thursday sessions, held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Grand View Hospital conference area. Fathers and support people are welcome.  Call 932-2443 to register.

Classes are held in Conference Room A

2012 Class Schedule:

January 12, 19, 26

March 8,15, 22

May 10,17,24

July 12, 19, 26

September 13, 20, 27

November 1, 8, 15

Contact: Community Wellness Coordinator

906-932-2443
906-932-6208
Sponsor: Aspirus Grand View
Cost: FREE if delivering at Aspirus Grand View

Great Start Hosts Storytime with Senator

Monday, October 24th, 2011

From the Daily Globe


Storytime with a senator
IRONWOOD — State Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, got into the Halloween spirit Friday with a little help from some toddlers. Casperson made a trip to the Carnegie Library in Ironwood to read during Story Hour, an annual event open to the public. “Five Little Pumpkins” by Dan Yaccarino was the book that was read aloud. Children attending the event also got to make jack o’lantern pins and have snacks.

See full article in newspaper or online subscription.

Fighting the War on Poverty with Early Childhood Education

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Article from American Progress By Jennifer Rokosa | October 20, 2011

preschool class

This week, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—the largest federal program designed to improve education, particularly for disadvantaged students—is up for revision in the Senate. This review gives Congress a unique opportunity to improve our education system and to make significant strides against the record numbers of children in poverty by expanding federally funded early childhood education programs.

This column examines how millions of children living in poverty are falling behind academically and how increasing the availability of early childhood education, or preschool, can help.

More children than ever are living in poverty

A striking number of children in the United States are poor. The latest Census data reveal that in 2010 more than one out of every five U.S. children lived in poverty conditions. Minority children show the highest rates, with nearly 40 percent of black children and 35 percent of Hispanic children falling below the poverty line. Latino children comprise the single-largest ethnic group in poverty, with 6.1 million children in poverty in 2010.

These young children suffer in the classroom: Poverty-stricken youth show higher rates of academic failure and an increased probability of grade retention. Children from poor families are twice as likely to repeat a grade, and they are about 10 times as likely to drop out of high school.

These outcomes are likely due to the fact that poverty saddles children with a seemingly insurmountable disadvantage at perhaps the most critical time in their lives. Early childhood is the single most prolific period of development for children—90 percent of a child’s brain growth occurs between birth and the age of three. Children in poverty, however, frequently do not have access to the same educational and developmental resources as their counterparts from higher-income families during this vital time.

Researchers estimate, for example, that children from professional families are exposed to 45 million words by the age of four, while children from working-class families only hear about 22 million. Children in poverty, however, are exposed to a scant 13 million.[1] Further, more than two-thirds of poverty-stricken households do not possess a single book developmentally appropriate for a child under five.

The inequality is startling, and this early disadvantage is only compounded by these children’s lack of access to quality preschool education.

Much remains to be done to improve access to preschool programs even though they expanded at a promising rate over the past decade. For instance, only 40 percent of four-year-olds are currently enrolled in state-funded early childhood education programs. This figure is even lower for three-year-olds. In fact, 10 states still have no publicly funded preschool programs of any kind.

It is hardly surprising, then, that in low-income communities children enter school an average of 12 to 14 months behind their peers from higher-income brackets. These statistics are especially troubling because academic success is an important indicator of children’s future income and crime rates.

How early childhood education can help

High-quality preschool programs are proven to raise academic performance and give children the skills and tools to be successful and contribute to society.

The results of early childhood education programs speak for themselves. Adults who participate in ECE programs show lower crime rates, and both participants and their parents enjoy higher median income rates than their counterparts who were not afforded the same opportunity. ECE participants are also significantly more likely to graduate from high school and are 2.5 times more likely to continue on to higher education.

Building up early childhood education programs is also one of the smartest investments we can make. Various studies determine that on average, society sees a return of $7 for every $1 invested in early childhood education programs.

This figure can be broken down in the following ways:

  • Costs to our already overtaxed public school system drop significantly as participants in ECE programs are less likely to repeat grades and require costly special education programs.
  • Decreased crime rates translate to less expense for our justice system.
  • ECE participants’ higher income rates result in greater contributions to the tax system.
  • ECE participants tend to consume less governmental social services such as welfare.

But this number can be even higher. In one longitudinal study of at-risk children, participants in a high-quality preschool program—the High Scope Perry Preschool in Ypsilanti, Michigan—were more successful in academics than the control group by age 19, and they also developed stronger social skills and looked forward to greater economic prospects. By age 27, participants boasted lower arrest rates, higher income levels, and greater rates of high school completion. The benefits only grew as the participants aged, and they compounded by age 40.

The researchers estimated that over the course of the participants’ lifetimes every $1 invested in early childhood education programs yielded more than $17 in returns to society. Quality early childhood education programs also carry marked benefits for the parents and families of young children by allowing them to participate more productively in the workforce.

The research is clear: ECE programs can combat poverty and make a significant difference in our school system’s success. At a time when record numbers of children are living in poverty, programs with proven and demonstrable effectiveness such as early childhood education are of the utmost importance.

Recommendations

The revisions to ESEA must work to align preschool programs with the K-12 educational continuum so that children transition seamlessly between preschool and kindergarten and continue to build upon skills learned in preschool.

Legislators can begin by making Title I funds, which are meant to provide assistance to schools serving low-income populations, more readily available to preschool programs. As it stands, only 3 percent of Title I funds are used for early childhood education.

Legislators can also support preschool programs by implementing accountability standards that more accurately track preschool achievement. (Standardized testing, for example, is not an effective way of tracking the complex social, emotional, and intellectual growth that takes place in preschool years.)

Other ways to build high-quality preschool programs include provisions for professional development that specifically address the concerns and challenges of early childhood educators, and incentivizing the creation of high-performing preschool programs in school districts across the country.

The ESEA was originally passed in 1965 as part of the War on Poverty. It’s time that we return to its original purpose by expanding and strengthening federally funded programs for early childhood education.

New edition of Great Starts Here e-magazine launches

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Pediatric and family health are the focus of the new edition of “Great Starts Here,” a quarterly e-magazine produced by the Early Childhood Investment Corporation.

The fall edition explores Michigan’s growing movement in the Children’s Healthcare Access Program (CHAP), begun with great success in Kent County, to help reduce public costs and increase health benefits to children on Medicaid.

In addition, we look at the critical problems of infant mortality and childhood obesity in Michigan. You will also find information about solutions through new health care initiatives that our Great Start Collaboratives, Great Start Parent Coalitions and their partners are doing to help children get a great start in life.

To view a copy, click here. To subscribe, see the button on the front of the Great Start website.

2 Parent Trainings Coming to the U.P.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
1) PAM (Parenting Awareness Month) Conference- Oct. 19 in Marquette http://www.preventionnetwork.org/parenting-awareness.aspx Parenting Awareness Michigan Celebrates people raising children and promotes year round education and resources for parents and caregivers. Its mission is to promote parenting awareness, education, and resources through state outreach and local effort.

2) Parents Partnering for Change Conference- Oct. 27 & 28 in Escanaba Parents receive stipend, child care, mileage, hotel for 2 nights, plus free leadership training! Interested? Sign up today, enrollment is limited. Email Patti Witt, pwitt@goisd.orgECIC Brochure Oct. 2011 Escanaba

HealthyStuff.org: 2011 Childrens Car Seat Findings

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Limonata-KF30_360Overall Findings

  • Consumer products throughout our economy, including children’s car seats contain harmful chemicals that are linked to reproductive problems, developmental and learning disabilities, hormone imbalances and cancer.
  • Over 150, 2011-model car seats were sampled from retail locations based in Michigan. This is a follow-up study to car seats sampled in 2008 (131) and 2009 (58).
  • Brands tested include: Alpha Sport, Baby Trend, Britax, Chicco, Clek, Combi, Compass, Dorel Juvenile Group (Cosco, Eddie Bauer, Maxi-Cosi, Safety First), Evenflo, Fisher Price, Graco, Harmony Juvenile, Orbit Baby, Peg Perego, Recaro, Sunshine Kids, Teutonia, The First Years.
  • Brominated flame retardant chemicals that are either deemed toxic or that lack adequate health safety data were detected in 44% percent of the 2011 car seats tested.
  • Over half (60%) of car seats contained one or more hazardous chemicals tested for (including PVC, BFRs and heavy metals).
  • Overall, car seats are improving. Between 2008 and 2011:
    • average seat ranking improved by 64% (1.5 – 2009 to 0.9 – 2011);
    • number of car seats with BFRs declined by 18% (63% 2009 to 44% in 2011)
  • However, some companies continue to use more potentially hazardous BFRs in their products than others in the industry. These include Baby Trend (100%), Recaro (100%), and Britax (84%).

Best and Worst Car Seats

Worst 2011 Car Seats:

  • Infant Seat: Graco Snugride 35 in Edgemont Red/Black & Graco SnugRide 30 in Asprey
  • Convertible Seat: Britax Marathon 70 in Jet Set & Britax Marathon in Platinum
  • Booster Seat: Recaro Pro Booster in Blue Opal & Recaro ProSPORT Toddler in Misty

Best 2011 Car Seats:

  • Infant Seat: Chicco KeyFit 30 in Limonata, Graco Snugride 35 in Laguna Bay & Combi Shuttle 33 in Cranberry Noche
  • Convertible Carseat: Graco Comfort Sport in Caleo, Graco MyRide 65 in Chandler and Streamer, Safety 1st OnSide Air in Clearwater, and Graco Nautilus Elite 3-in-1 in Gabe
  • Booster Seat: Graco Turbo Booster in Anders

There are healthy car seats!

Car seats are necessary to safeguard children in cars, but hazardous chemicals are not necessary to make a quality car seat for children and infants. The majority of seats are now manufactured without BFRs. The best car seat list above contains are examples of seats which do not contain PVC or Lead and do not use brominated flame retardants.

HealthyStuff.org only tests for a limited set of chemicals of concern. Car seats may also contain other chemical hazards, including chlorinated flame retardants (CFRs), which were NOT tested for in this study. HealthyStuff.org is asking all car seat manufacturers to disclose and eliminate all hazardous chemical additives in their products.

CAR SEATS SAVE LIVES. ALWAYS USE CHILD SAFETY SEATS, REGARDLESS OF THE RATINGS AT HealthyStuff.org. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE SAFE USE OF CAR SEATS, SEE CAR-SAFETY.ORG OR THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS.

NOTE: HealthyStuff.org is an initial screening of chemicals in products for a handful of hazardous chemicals. There are a number of chemicals of concern that the X-ray fluorescence (XRF) device and HealthyStuff.org cannot detect. For example, there has been much concern recently about bisphenol A, a component of polycarbonate plastic. The XRF device is not able to detect bisphenol A, nor can it identify polycarbonate. In addition, the XRF device cannot detect phthalates, a family of chemicals of concern, although we have used the presence of PVC plastic as a surrogate for the likely presence of phthalates.

HealthyStuff.org ratings do not provide a measure of health risk or chemical exposure associated with any individual product, or any individual element or related chemical. HealthyStuff.org ratings only provide a relative measure of high, medium, and low level of concern or concentrations of several hazardous chemicals or chemical elements in product in comparison to criteria established in the methodology.

Governor signs executive order creating Office of Great Start

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

from Great Start website

LANSING – Making good on his promise to refashion education in Michigan along a cradle to adulthood model, Gov. Rick Snyder today signed an executive order creating an Office of Great Start within the Department of Education.

According to a press release issued by the governor’s office, the new office will coordinate 84 separate funding sources for early childhood programs that currently are spread across various state agencies.

“Success in school and life starts well before a child’s first day in the classroom, but the fragmented approach we have now makes it difficult to ensure needs are being met,” Snyder said. “Consolidating these worthwhile programs into one office will help make sure children are best served and developmentally on track.”

As a starting point, the Child Development and Care program, which is currently housed in the Department of Human Services, will be combined with the Department of Education’s Office of Early Childhood Education and Family Services, according to the release. The Head Start Collaboration Office, also housed in DHS, will also move to the new Office of Great Start.

In addition to helping ensure children are developmentally on track, the new office will reduce duplication and administrative overhead costs, the governor’s office noted.

Earlier this year in a letter to lawmakers, Snyder said the new office will also work “hand in hand” with foundations and businesses to make early childhood a focus.

“A bridge is needed to connect the (public and private) sectors. To that end, the Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC) was created to be more flexible and nimble than government, and be more aligned with state and federal opportunities than the private and nonprofit sectors. The Michigan Office of Great Start, working hand-in-hand with the private sector, through ECIC, will create a dynamic partnership aimed at maximizing public and private investment in the service of Michigan’s children.”

Judy Y. Samelson, chief executive officer of ECIC, said the governor’s action “signals a change in the way education is delivered in Michigan.”

“Gone is the notion that children only begin learning when they reach the public schools. In its place is an approach that views learning as a process that begins at birth. The soundness of that approach is backed by decades of solid research that makes clear that when children get the proper supports early on they do better in school and in life. This is a good day for Michigan, for children, for parents, and for the state’s economic future.”

The Office of Great Start is a key part of the governor’s plan to reinvent Michigan’s educational system.  The new office will refocus the state’s early childhood investment strategy by adopting a single set of measureable outcomes, including making sure children are born healthy, that they are developmentally on track from birth to third grade, that children are ready to succeed in school at the time of entry and they are reading proficiently by the end of the third grade.

Earlier this year, Snyder expressed concern to lawmakers about troubling education statistics in Michigan.

“Seventy percent of Michigan fourth graders scored below the proficient reading level on the NAEP in 2009 (the most recent available data), placing Michigan 34th of the 50 states. Until the end of third grade, children are learning to read. Fourth grade students need to be able to read to learn. Children who cannot meet NAEP proficiency levels, especially low income children, are likely to end up not completing high school, becoming adults who struggle to qualify for even the lowest skill, lowest paying jobs. The result for Michigan: a lack of competitiveness in the global marketplace and a significant portion of the population without hope for a prosperous future.”

Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan cheered the announcement of the new office within his department.

“If there is one thing we can do to set the foundation for success in school and life, focusing on early childhood development is it.”

Doug Luciani, an executive board member of ECIC and co-chair of the Children’s Leadership Council of Michigan, called the governor’s action “a great win for Michigan’s children and families, but also to its business community.”

“Business leaders from throughout Michigan urged Gov. Snyder to create the Office of Great Start so that children would have the tools they’ll need to be ready to learn when they get to kindergarten.  The evidence is clear that those kids are the ones that grow up to be the greatest contributors in terms of workforce, job creation, and creativity and innovation.  With the stroke of his pen, the governor says to business and to talented workers that Michigan is the place to be.”

The governor’s executive order also was lauded by Diana Mendley Rauner, president of the Ounce of Prevention Fund in Chicago, one of the nation’s pre-eminent early childhood organizations.

“The Ounce of Prevention Fund is thrilled to see Michigan take a bold step by investing in the healthy development of children and by recognizing that learning begins at birth,” Rauner said. “Gov. Snyder’s actions will help ensure that every child in Michigan is born healthy and gets a fair shot at the American Dream by building the skills all children need to enter school ready to succeed.

“High-quality public education begins with an efficient pipeline that prepares students—and their parents—for the rigors of elementary, middle and high school. The Michigan Office of Great Start signifies an impressive step toward improving the education and life outcomes of all children.”

Summer Fun Early Childhood Schedule

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

It’s summer! Now you’re ready to go out and explore with your young child….but what is there to do around here?

Plenty! We’ve got Toddler socializations in each county, story times, music, family events, science, add to that all of the parks and recreational activities! Plus the Parent Coalition has been busily planning a fun family picnic. So, you’re next step is just figuring out what to do first.

Summer Fun Early Childhood Schedule

“Brain Hero” – A New 3-Minute Video from the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

The Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University has released a new 3-minute video entitled Brain Hero (2011) that adapts the visual sensibility of interactive game models to a video format. Based loosely on such games as “Guitar Hero,” “SimCity,” and “The Game of Life,” the video portrays how actions taken by parents, teachers, policymakers, and others can impact life outcomes for both the child and the surrounding community.   Major funding support for this collaboration has been provided by: Birth to Five Policy Alliance, Buffett Early Childhood Fund, Casey Family Programs, Harvard University, and the Norlien Foundation.

To learn more and to watch the video, go to http://developingchild.harvard.edu/library/multimedia/brain_hero

Great Starts Here Online Magazine

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

ECIC has launched their first online issue of ”Great Starts Here,” a new quarterly publication to give you added insight into the work of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation and Great Start, Michigan’s nationally recognized statewide initiative to foster school readiness and life success for young children.

The stories contained in this and subsequent issues will spotlight some of the vital work being done in support of Michigan’s network of Great Start Collaboratives, Great Start Parent Coalitions, Great Start Regional Child Care Resource Centers and partner agencies, all working to help communities in our state develop, implement, evaluate and connect to local early childhood services.

To read “Great Start Here,” you can access it in a fun, easy-to-read Flipbook format through this link: http://greatstartforkids.org/e-magazine/grstarts_flipbook_spring2011/. But if you prefer to download and save a PDF version for later use, simply look for the “tray” icon within the Flipbook. Thirdly, you can also access it on our website and register to receive it directly by going to http://greatstartforkids.org/ and looking for an icon on the left-hand rail.


Sheriff Visits Washington School Pre-K Students

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

FROM IRONWOODINFO.COM

BESSEMER – April 30, 2011

Yesterday, Bessemer School Administrator Mark Johnson, Washington School Head Teacher Gene Goss and Great School Readiness Collaborative representatives Allison Liddle and Patti Witt met with local law enforcement officers,  Gogebic County Sheriff, Pete Matonich and Gogebic County assistant prosecutor Tracie Wittla to discuss the impact of Great Start Readiness Program on pre-school children who may be at risk.

The Great Start Collaborative is an initiative that assists Gogebic and Ontonagon County families in providing a ‘great start in school’ for children ages birth to 5.

The purpose of Great Start is to coordinate systems of community resources and supports for families. Great Start joins together with parents, school staff and community leaders to create family opportunities that increase school readiness.

Following the meeting in the school library, the group visited the students in Rainy Dahlin’s Pre K classroom. Dahlin is the GSRP Teacher at Washington Elementary school.

In the Pre-K classroom the youngsters sat on the floor and listened to Sheriff Matonich read from a book titled “Officer Buckle and Gloria”, the focus of the book was child safety.


May 13 Early Childhood Expo

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Award-winning singer and storyteller Stuart Stotts from Madison, WI will be appearing in a concert in the Memorial Building Gym. There will be one show, at 11 am. The concert promises to be a fun event for young children (ages 1-5) and families. Come prepared to sing, laugh, and maybe even dance. Make sure to plan on staying after the concert to march in the Star Power Kiddie Parade starting at 12:00 pm around the block and then come play at the Kid activity tables, this will be one event you don’t want to miss!

The Expo will take place at the Ironwood Memorial Building Gym, 213 South Marquette Street in Ironwood, Michigan, on Friday May 13, 2011.


Schedule of Events & Activities:

• 8:30-10:30 am CT: FREE Songs & Stories Training with Stuart Stotts at Tacconelli’s Downtown, 215 S Suffolk Street, Ironwood. The training is hosted by UP Regional Child Care Resource Center. Audience: Parents, Teachers, Child Care Providers, Grandparents, Caregivers. Limit 30. Contact Brenda Schwartz to register schwartzbren@yahoo.com or call 906-663-4364.

• 10:30 am CT: Registration Opens for EXPO and Concert at Memorial Building, 213 Marquette St., Ironwood

• 12:00 pm CT: Star Power Early Childhood Advocacy Kiddie Parade starting at the Memorial Building

• 12:30 pm CT: Kid Activities & Family Resource Tables at the Memorial Building

• 2:00 pm CT: Early Childhood Expo Ends

EXHIBITOR APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE

We currently are seeking exhibits from organizations that will be of interest to our audience of young children 0-5 years and their parents. Participants may also include preschool and elementary teachers, child care providers, home visitors, administrators of early childhood programs, and parents. We are expecting approximately 100 participants from the Western Upper Peninsula.Exhibit Expo Application

Please join us for this exciting event! To apply for a space at our Expo please send your completed application post-marked no later than April 13, 2011.

FUN FIELD TRIP OPPORTUNITY

We’re encouraging preschools, kindergartens, child care centers, and other larger groups to attend, the only cost to the group is transportation & bagged lunch (if needed). If you’d like more information contact Allison Liddle, aliddle@goisd.org, 906-575-3438 ext 13

The Expo will take place at the Ironwood Memorial Building Gym, 213 South Marquette Street in Ironwood, Michigan, on Friday May 13, 2011.  This Expo will mark the 2nd year of the Western Early Childhood Expo hosted by the Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Collaborative and Regional Resource Center.  **FREE FIELD TRIP: We’re encouraging preschools, child care centers, and other larger groups to attend, the only cost to the group is transportation & lunch. If you’d like more information or to host a table contact Allison Liddle, aliddle@goisd.org, 906-575-3438 ext 13.


April 26- Free Advocacy Training in Hancock

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

We are very pleased to be hosting an advocacy and communications training for anyone who is interested in learning more about how the Michigan and Federal legislative process works.  It will be held at the CCISD in Hancock on Tuesday, April 26th, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  We especially encourage Parent Coalition members, Collaborative members and committee members to attend, but would welcome others in your organizations and the community.  Please feel free to circulate to your networks.  Attendance is limited to 60 people total.  Please see the attached materials which include the link for registration as well as a detailed explanation of the workshop.  This is free of charge and lunch will be included for those who attend the whole day. Carpooling is available email Allison aliddle@goisd.org if you are interested.


We need to have registrations into ECIC by this Friday, April 8th. If you are interested in attending please register using the link below.

Link to Register: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/april2011advocacytraining
We look forward to hosting this important workshop at this very critical time in our state and nationally.

Issue_5_ECIC Advocacy and Communications Training_2011.03.08[1][4]

Toddlers on the G.O. Socializations Starting

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

 

(Social-Emotional Health Toddler Socializations)

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Who: Toddlers age 1-3 with Parent/Caregiver

(Siblings up to age 6 are also invited to attend)

Why: Your child will get to play, dance, sing, and meet new friends! Play is an important part of creating happy, healthy, children ready to succeed in kindergarten. Social-Emotional health of your child is an important for brain development.  Socializations are free and a healthy snack will be provided!

Summer Schedule:(Gogebic County locations coming soon!)

Wednesday, April 20th – Ontonagon Elementary School Playground at 1:30

Saturday, April 30th – Ironwood Carnegie Library at 1:oo

Thursday, May 26 – Ewen School at 2:30

Tuesday, June 28 – Watersmeet School Playground at 1:30 CST

Tuesday, July 27 – Ontonagon Township Park at 1:30

Wednesday, August 31 – Rockland Township Park at 1:30

Thursday, September 29 -  Greenland Township Park at 2:30

To Register Contact:

Gogebic County: Sheila Rubatt @ goteach3@gocaa.org or (906) – 932-1467

Ontonagon County: Angie Foley @ angiefoofoolovesyou@yahoo.com Or (906)-884-4886

Both Counties: Patti Witt @ pwitt@goisd.org Or (906)-250-1201

Sandbox Party: Reluctant tourist no more

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Stepping out and up: A reluctant tourist no more

GREEN, Michigan –   Deciding to go boldly where she had never gone before, seasoned educator Kara Ray packed up the car, along with her three skeptical teenagers, and set out for a radical new adventure.

Until then, Ray, devoted to working with young children with special needs from the Western Upper Peninsula, never considered herself an “activist” who attended rallies, buttonholed politicians or advocated for change.

So no one was more surprised than Ray herself when she set out in a caravan traveling more than 10 hours south to Lansing to attend her first Star Power event last May.

“I’m a guide-on-the-side type person,” explained Ray, who works with children under  age six with developmental delays for the Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District. “So it was kind of embarrassing when they called my name out in front of all those people to say I had traveled the farthest to attend.”

Ray, along with her three children, ages 17, 13, and 12, were among 17 people traveling from the Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Collaborative.

“My oldest didn’t want to go (last year), but once she got there she was mesmerized by the state capitol and the amount of people there. It was well organized and absolutely thrilling from the time we got there!”

Ray was among 3,600 people from across Michigan who united on the Capitol ground last year, energized one another, and visited their hometown lawmakers to press for support of early childhood funding and policies. Supported by private contributions, this year’s event will feature a large crop of newly elected legislators unfamiliar with early childhood issues.

Ray’s story is not unlike thousands of Great Start Collaborative members in Michigan who are worried for the future of Michigan’s children and the state’s economic well-being. A contact with a leader in the local organization brought her into the fold.

Ray, 45, joined her local Collaborative, where she serves as a child care and early education team leader, when she met Allison Liddle, the coordinator of the Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Collaborative. Initially, Ray just wanted to learn more about area resources and services for young children. She was new in her current job as an Early Childhood Developmental Delay non-classroom teacher – having been laid off as a kindergarten teacher when her school closed — and she wanted to make contacts and find new resources to benefit her new students and their families.

“With resources so limited in our very rural area and just jobs decreasing and struggles increasing I thought it was really important to jump on board,” Ray said.

Besides working on advocacy, Ray and her Collaborative this year are focused on improving access to early childhood services like preschool. She is working with her child care and early education team to develop a “unified assessment for preschoolers” in her area. By assessing children at age 3 in their homes, educators can help match them with the best preschool for their needs, she said.

As a former kindergarten teacher, Ray knows first-hand about the importance of early intervention. “By offering early intervention – as soon as we can intervene – the better the chances are that we can set them up for success,” said Ray.

Children who don’t have quality child care and preschool experiences, where important social skills can blossom, often enter kindergarten hesitant and develop self-esteem issues that hinder academic achievement, she added.

Ray’s advice to new advocates feeling apprehensive about attending their first Star Power this year is simple. “I would say, try it. And then follow your heart.”


Educare Schools

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

The Ounce of Prevention Fund developed the first Educare school in 2000 in Chicago to prepare low-income children for success in school and life. In 2004, the Ounce and the Buffett Early Childhood Fund created the Bounce Learning Network to launch Educare schools across the country.

Each Educare school provides the quality care and early education to infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and their families that science shows is needed to narrow the academic achievement gap for students in high-risk communities.

Educare is:

  • a Partnership between the private and public sectors to create an effective, birth-to-five program that achieves higher levels of quality.
  • a Place that nurtures early learning, is a beacon of hope for the community, and sends a firm message that we must invest in early childhood — because children are born learning.
  • a Program to prepare young, at-risk children for school by implementing the approaches and practices that science tells us are necessary to helping young children succeed in school and life.
  • a Platform for Change, with each Educare Center serving as a “showroom for quality” and a catalyst to drive broader policy and systems change in the state and nationally.

Related Resources:

Lt. Gov. Calley: Michigan needs A new attitude toward education

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

YPSILANTI – Ensuring educational success for all Michigan children requires a change in attitude toward education from do-nothing to can-do, Lt. Gov. Calley said Monday.

“We want kids to be successful but what do we need to do? So much of the feedback is that there’s not much we can do – we blame it on poor socioeconomic conditions or parents not being involved. As if these are throwaway kids,” Calley told a select group of more than two dozen legislative and business leaders gathered this morning at the HighScope Educational Research Foundation in Ypsilanti to review the latest research on early childhood development.

“My wife and I felt very lost when we got the diagnosis that our daughter has autism. We didn’t know what to do, but our attitude was that we will do whatever it takes. What if we had that attitude with every kid? What if we said we’re just going to be successful. We’re going to do whatever it takes.”

Key to that attitude is committing to intervene early in the lives of Michigan’s most at-risk children, a commitment the Snyder administration has made in its budget proposal by protecting early education funds, Calley said.

The event featured presentations from early childhood experts and a visit to the HighScope Demonstration Preschool, used as a model of high-quality early education. The event was sponsored by the HighScope Educational Research Foundation, Michigan’s Children, The Center for Michigan, and the Early Childhood Investment Corporation of Michigan.

A bipartisan team of legislators co-hosted the event, including Sen. Randy Richardville (R-Monroe), Sen. Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor), Rep. Mark Ouimet (R-Scio Twp.), Rep. Amanda Price (R-Holland), and Rep. Rutledge (D-Ypsilanti). Co-hosting from the business side was Phillip Wm. Fisher, secretary of the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation Board and a member of the Children’s Leadership Council of Michigan, a group of business leaders committed to enhancing early childhood experiences and investments. Other Council members who attended included Debbie Dingell of D2 Strategies, Tim Salisbury of PNC Bank, Matt Clayson of the Detroit Creative Corridor Center, Tracy Connelly of Metro Parent Magazine and Phil Power of The Center for Michigan.

Experts presented compelling evidence that investing in the early years with quality services for children from birth to age 5 and their parents is a key component in building an educated and skilled workforce for Michigan.

Quality programming, including adequate prenatal care, parental support, child care, preschool and more, prepare young children to learn and can significantly help them succeed once they enter school.

“The first days, weeks and years of a child’s life are critical learning periods,” said Jack Kresnak, President & CEO of Michigan’s Children. “From an educational and economic viewpoint, we all benefit by seizing this period to optimize learning and later earnings.”

Dr. Joan Lessen-Firestone, Director of the Early Childhood Unit for Oakland Schools, shared research proving that the earliest years of a child’s life are the most formative, with as much as 90 percent of the emotional and intellectual brain wiring set by age 5 – before many children ever set foot in a school. That’s why investments in ages 0-3 are crucial, she said.

“This is basic brain science that we must understand to give our young children the best chance at success,” Lessen-Firestone said. “For our most economically disadvantaged children, preschool is too late to prevent an achievement gap.”

Leading economists agree that investments in the early years yield higher returns than in later years. A study by Nobel Laureate James Heckman found that every $1 invested in high quality early care and education services for low-income children saves as much as $16 on welfare, criminal justice, special education and other social expenses. Another study found Michigan saved $1.1 billion in 2009 alone due to investments made in the state’s school readiness efforts over the past 25 years.

“These investments are even more important during economic downturns when families are struggling most and public expenditures must be on programs and services proven to work and yield high returns,” said Dr. Larry Schweinhart, President of HighScope Educational Research Foundation.

Dr. Schweinhart is the lead researcher and author of the groundbreaking Perry Preschool study, which changed the landscape of early education worldwide by examining the impact of a high-quality preschool program on a select group of African-Americans born into poverty and at high-risk of school failure, and compared it to the life courses of another group who received no preschool.

“The HighScope Perry Preschool Study was a game-changer for early childhood programs,” Schweinhart said. “Instead of being only for custodial care, they became a public policy tool for intervening in the cycle of poverty to lift children’s lives to a higher track of school success and adult economic productivity and social responsibility. The program’s great success led to a tremendous return on investment to taxpayers, many times as great as their investment in the program and even better than the long-term return on stock market investment before the recession. We should continue and even increase this investment in these difficult economic times.”

Free Tax Preparation Sites

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Tax Season is upon us and many citizens are interested in knowing where they
can go to receive reliable free tax preparation services. Below is a link to
the Earned Income Tax Credit EITC) Statewide website where an excel sheet is
housed with all the free tax preparation sites for the state of Michigan.
Please share with citizens in your district.

http://www.michiganeic.org/taxpayers/free-tax-preparation-sites-in-michigan

Portage Lake District Library

105 Huron St, Houghton, MI

906-482-4570

MTU School of Business and Economics

1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI


906-487-1733


Prioritize Early Childhood in 2011!

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

View the GSC GO Great Start E-Newsletter.

Kids Getting Too Much Fluoride

Monday, January 17th, 2011

The federal government is changing its recommendation for fluoride levels in drinking water due to concern about fluorosis. A recent study found 40% of adolescents have signs of fluorosis, which can cause white lines or spots on teeth.  Children are getting fluoride from toothpaste and mouth rinses as well as drinking water, which is why a change is in order say experts. 

More information on fluorosis can be found here.

GOCAA Head Start Newsletter

Friday, December 17th, 2010


Click to view PDF of newsletter.

Drop-side cribs outlawed

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

WASHINGTON — It’s the end of the traditional crib that has cradled millions of babies for generations.

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The government outlawed drop-side cribs on Wednesday after the deaths of more than 30 infants and toddlers in the past decade and millions of recalls.

It was a unanimous vote by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ban the manufacture, sale and resale of the cribs, which have a side rail that moves up and down, allowing parents to more easily lift their child from the crib.

The new standard requiring cribs to have fixed sides would take effect in June. The move by CPSC would also prohibit hotels and childcare centers from using drop-sides, though those facilities would have a year to purchase new cribs. Read more…

Parent Coalition Hosts Mission and Vision Training

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

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What type of community do parents want for their young children to grow? What does a family-friendly community look like? What does your young child need in order to be ready for school?

These questions and many others were discussed at the Parent Coalition’s Mission and Vision Training held at the Americinn in Silver City. Michele Chenier from the Early Childhood Investment Corporation led the group of local parents in creating a mission and vision. “The parents really were involved in developing the vision and mission. Next, we’ll be working on creating four goals for the parents to work on,” said Patti Witt, Parent Liaison.

The group of involved parents have been meeting monthly to discuss the early childhood issues within Gogebic-Ontonagon Counties. If you are interested in getting involved please contact Patti Witt, Parent Liaison pwitt@goisd.org.


How to Stretch Your Food Budget

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Many if not most of us are on limited budgets these days. With the economy in bad shape, learning how to stretch your food budget has become imperative. It can be the difference between having enough food and not having enough food to last until the next paycheck comes in. While you may have thought that this article would be about coupons, it isn’t. Instead, I’m going to show you how to put together a grocery list that gives you a varied amount of foods for a lower cost than you might spend were you to just randomly go shopping and buy whatever struck your fancy.

So what kinds of foods can you put on your grocery list that will stretch your the money in your food budget.

1. Bacon. Now before everyone goes screaming that bacon isn’t all that healthy, keep in mind I’m not advocating eating a lot of it. Also, remember you can and should drain the fat from bacon before eating it. Bacon is extremely versatile when it comes to stretching your food budget because it is one of those foods that can be used for a variety of meals. You can eat it for breakfast, make BLT’s with it, and even cook it until it’s crunchy and then crumble it up to put on salads. These are just a few of the things you can do with bacon. Often stores have sales on bacon where you can get 2 packages for $5 or $6. That’s a lot of bacon and you can use it to give variety to your meals.

2. Ground Beef. This is another very versatile food because you can do so much with it. I suggest buying in bulk and then splitting the package up into freezer bags and freezing it. This way it will keep and you can just defrost however much you need. Most grocery stores even have the lower fat content beef available in bulk now. Ground beef can be used for soups, tacos and burritos, hamburgers, casseroles, omlets, stuffed bell peppers, and stuffed cabbage just to name a few uses. Really with hamburger, the possibilities are only as limited as your imagination. Read More…

Bessemer discusses funding of Great Start program

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

From the Daily Globe article

BESSEMER — The Bessemer school district’s Great Start Readiness Program for pre-kindergarteners is poised for increased funding, though how much, and for how many students, remains in question.

In his administrative report to the Bessemer Area Schools Board of Education during its Monday meeting, district administrator Mark Johnson informed the board that the Michigan Department of Education Office of Early Childhood Education and Family Services had approved additional funding for the program, up to approximately $54,000 from a current level of about $30,600.

Johnson said the district currently has seven 4-year-olds in the program. Those students are served by a teacher and a part-time aide, which the board budgeted for when the program started this year.

Great Start Collaborative goes the Extra Mile for Children

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Collaborative goes the Extra Mile for Children
By Brenda Brissette-Mata (Nov. 9, 2010 featured article on ECIC website)


BERGLAND — Gogebic and Ontonagon counties are at the western-most point of the Upper Peninsula. More than 500 miles from Lansing, the counties are sparsely populated, economically depressed and geographically closer to the capitals of three other states.

None of that, however, stops the Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Collaborative from working to improve coordination, delivery and access to early childhood services for families in the region.
Allison Liddle was named coordinator of the collaborative in November, 2008, a month after the local intermediate school district (ISD) received its Great Start grant.

“It’s about 75 miles from one county seat to the next,” she said. “The ISD is in the middle. Collaboration between agencies is a survival mechanism in our area. Budgets are limited and normally funding gets cut furthest away from Lansing. (Legislators) don’t necessarily think about how cuts are going to affect western U.P.”

There are about 1,300 children from 0-5 in the two counties. Liddle said one in three children live in poverty and the number is likely to grow when a local mill and refinery close.

And yet, she said, “because we have little population we have fewer services, less of everything.”

Including opportunities for grants. Jody Maloney, committee chair of the collaborative, said the area simply does not have the demographics that typically are served by grant programs.

“That’s a huge factor in any kind of funding and outreach and grant writing that organizations might do,” Maloney said. “We are at the end of the Earth, at least in Michigan.”

Careful planning, then, is particularly important. Read More…

Remembering Rural

Friday, November 12th, 2010

By Alissa Parks, ECIC

I have a special place in my heart for rural communities.  You see, I grew up in a very rural area in Huron County.  For those of you not from Michigan, it is often referred to as the “thumb”.  Much of my immediate family continues to live in Huron County where the wind/dust storms rival the Sahara!  I graduated from a small high school with only 28 kids in my class, yes, that is right, 28!

Where I grew up was considered a poor to working class community.  Since I have moved away, the economy has plummeted.  Manufacturing plants have shut down and jobs are hard to come by.  In these conditions, families and the youngest children suffer the most.

Despite all the struggles, rural areas have a big heart.  These communities are close knit and there is still a culture of “taking care of our own.”  I was reminded of this culture when I read this week’s article featuring the Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Collaborative.  In spite of their location in our state, they work together to improve conditions for their young children and families.

In Michigan, the numbers tell us that urban areas have the highest percentage of children in need.  Without a doubt there are more vulnerable children in urban areas by number and percentage.  However, we need to also remember the rural areas in Michigan as we strive to ensure ALL children in Michigan are safe, healthy, and eager to succeed in school and in life.

Take a drive sometime off the highway through the rural areas in Michigan.  Not the tourist areas, but the towns with no blinking light.  These areas are the heart of Michigan, where families are doing their best to survive and thrive, and where many Great Start Collaboratives and Parent Coalitions are working hard to ensure a great start for all children in their community!

Free Tax Credit Help for Families

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

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Did you know that millions of families are missing out on money — potentially a lot of it — every tax season?


It’s true.

Unfortunately, some families don’t even know to ask for the tax credits they are eligible for, and they miss out. And we’re not talking about a few dollars; we’re talking about potentially thousands of dollars.

We need your help to spread the word. And we’re offering two free online trainings to give you the information and tools you need:

Part I – Tax Credits: What Working Families Need to Know
Thursday, Oct. 21 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern (1 hour)

Get the facts about how federal and state tax credits can give working families a leg up, and get access to resources that will help you to get that information in the hands of families in your community.

Part II – Tax Credits Outreach: Tips and Tools for Service Providers and Advocates

Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern (1 hour)

You can make a big difference for families by making sure families get the information they need. Learn about simple outreach activities that can make a major impact for working families. This webinar will help you:

  • Get free outreach materials;
  • Connect with local coalitions;
  • Find free tax preparation services in your community; and
  • Learn some successful techniques for spreading the word about tax credits.

Register today! These online sessions are free to participants, but registration is required.

Smoke Free Families

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Did you know there is a direct correlation between mothers smoking while pregnant and low-birth weight babies?

WHY QUIT?
BENEFITS FOR YOUR BABY
Quitting smoking during your pregnancy:
• Increases the amount of oxygen your baby will get
• Increases the chances your baby’s lungs will work well
• Lowers the risk that your baby will be born too early
• Increases your chances of having a normal weight, healthy baby
• Increases the chances your baby will come home from the hospital with you
Carbon monoxide and other chemicals from cigarettes get into the baby’s blood. They can harm the baby and limit the baby’s growth.

Need Help Booklet

Check out the Child & Family webguide

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

What is the WebGuide?

The WebGuide is a directory that evaluates, describes and provides links to hundreds of sites containing child development research and practical advice. Topics are selected on the basis of parent recommendations; they cover all ages, from early child development through adolescence. Read more…

Online searches for many parent topics yield information that is inconsistent with child development research. The WebGuide selects sites that have the highest quality child development research and that are parent friendly.

Great Start Family Resource Library

Monday, September 27th, 2010

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Did you know that there are now many early childhood development resources available through inter-library loan or at your local library?

Click below to see what items are available…


Active & Sensory Play
- parachute, scarves, bean bags, jumping sacks

sensory discs, rhythm & musical instrument sets, and more.
Learning Skill – Daily physical activity is part of a child’s foundation for life.
Activity
Professional Resources - Many different titles across the curriculum
giving ideas for circle time, art, math, science, learning disabilities, potty-
training, recipes, learning environments and more.
Learning Skill – Parents are learners too! Understanding ways to encourage
learning will ensure that your child gets off to a ‘great start’
Professional Resources
CD’s /DVD’s – Includes such performers as Greg & Steve and Hap Palmer,
as well as various genres such as creative movement, multicultural, curriculum
connections, nursery rhymes and nature
Learning Skill – Promotes listening & rhythm skills, following directions, and
exposure to the arts
CDs & DVDs
Puppets - Groups include:  Animal Pals, Multicultural Friends, Community
Helpers, Everyday People, Finger Puppets
Learning Skill – Dramatic play develops self-awareness and offers children the
opportunity to discuss feelings, act out stories, and develop oral lanuguage skills
Puppets
Puzzles – Categories include: Animals Up close, Children of the World,
Moods & Emotions, Seasons, Weather & Bugs.
Learning Skill - develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
Puzzles
Storytelling - 16 Story bags featuring a book and its character, 6 storytelling
kits give opportunities to retell favorite stories.
Learning Skill – cognitive skills, receptive and oral language developement
Storytelling
Learning Games & Activities – Many different manipulatives teaching
ABC’s Counting, Shapes, Colors, Patterns, Nutrition and Self-Care.
Learning Skill – Using a hands-on approach to teach basic skills gives a
solid learning foundation to build upon
Learning Games & Activities


Ontonagon Play Group

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

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Play Group Flyer

Friday’s 9:30-11:30am

During the school year (no playgroup during school vacations or cancellations)

Location: 615 Greenland Road

(Baptist Church)

Ontonagon

Bring your pre-school (age 0-4) children to play and meet other parents!

Join our Facebook Group – Ontonagon Playgroup

For more info contact Angie Foley: angiefoofoolovesyou@yahoo.com

 

 

Sandbox Party: Candidate Meet & Greet Sept. 20, Bergland, MI

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

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Children are the future of Gogebic and Ontonagon County.  Early education and care fuels the future by providing health, mental well-being, socialization, and school readiness skills for young children.  This is why nothing is more important to the future of our counties than the access to services and opportunities that young children and their families have today.  I hope you will join me in sharing the importance of early childhood issues in Gogebic and Ontonagon counties with local, regional and state candidates for the upcoming election.  Whether you’re a parent, a community-minded individual, or an agency representative, you’re invited to share your thoughts and ideas about the importance of young children at the Great Start Collaborative’s Meet and Greet on Monday, September 20th.  The candidate Meet and Greet will take place at the Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District Building in Bergland, Michigan from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. EST.

The Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Collaborative is sponsoring this event, because we believe that little children and their families need a big voice in the decisions made at the local and state levels. The meet and greet is an informal, non-partisan event. There will be a brief introductory session followed by time to mingle with the crowd.

Agenda for Event:

  • 12:00 p.m. Introductions of Candidates by Bruce Mayle, Intermediate School District Superintendent.
  • Introductory comments from Candidates: State Representative, State Senator, and Ontonagon Probate Court (2-5 minutes each). Unfortunately, due to time constraints County Commissioners will not be able to address the crowd, but candidates are encouraged to speak to their constituents individually.
  • 12:30 p.m. Refreshments and discussion with Candidates.


Think about this: Research shows that 90% of young children’s brains form in the first five years of life, and yet only about 5% of public spending is spent in these formative years.  I hope this helps to show you the importance of having our voices heard on early childhood issues.  If you would like to attend the Meet and Greet, please RSVP to Allison Liddle by email aliddle@goisd.org or call (906) 575-3438 ext. 26.  After the introduction for the candidates, refreshments will be served.  You are also invited to participate in our Great Start Collaborative meeting from 1-2 p.m. if interested.  It’s proven that investment in children reaps rich rewards.  We want our candidates to know that each of our littlest citizens needs their help for a great start!  Please join us!

LISTEN TO CANDIDATE MEET & GREET RADIO AD

Sandbox Party convention draws thousands to MSU

Monday, August 30th, 2010

EAST LANSING – Several thousand parents, children and advocates for early childhood programs swarmed into the Breslin Center on Thursday for the Sandbox Party Convention.

The three-hour event, which was free and open to the public, included speeches by children’s advocates and gubernatorial candidates Rick Snyder and Virg Bernero.

“I want them to walk away with a better sense of their choice for a future leader for this state,” said Judy Samelson, CEO of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation, a sponsor for the event.

The nonpartisan Sandbox Party, formed in July, is a coalition of government and independent groups who want to raise awareness about early education and childhood programs, focusing on children less than 5 years old.

Snyder and Bernero’s speeches focused on the importance of education as an investment in Michigan’s economic future.

“It’s critically important that we build a future for all of the wonderful kids sitting here – we want you to stay in Michigan,” Snyder said.

Bernero said he would make early childhood programs a priority.

“Education is economic development,” he said.

Organizers for the event say they will not endorse candidates for the Nov. 2 general election, but want to educate voters about candidates’ stances on early childhood programs.

“Our job is not to engage in politics but to engage in education,” Samelson said.

The need to reform and restructure education in Michigan was proven by the thousands of people who attended the convention, she added.

Many parents were there as part of the Great Start program and other organizations focused on early education.

“I’m a stay-at-home dad and I’ve seen the value of the Great Start system,” said MC Rothhorn, a 38-year-old from Lansing who was at the convention with his 5- and 8-year-old children.

When it comes to the election, the new governor and legislators will need to focus on adequately funding all levels of education, he said.

“I want people to make some hard choices,” he said.


Gubernatorial candidates set to address Sandbox Party convention

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

LANSING – Michigan gubernatorial candidates Virg Bernero and Rick Snyder will address thousands of parents, grandparents, children and other supporters of state investment in young learners at the Sandbox Party Convention on Thursday.

This marks the first time the two have appeared at the same event since Republican Snyder and Democrat Bernero won their respective primaries Aug. 3.

The Sandbox Party is nonpartisan and nonpolitical; the sole focus is making sure all Michigan children enter kindergarten ready to learn, which experts say is required for Michigan’s economic turnaround. The convention runs from 1-4 p.m. at Michigan State University’s Breslin Student Events Center. Admission is free and the public is invited.

“Michigan voters are seizing this as a rare opportunity to make their voices heard on an issue near and dear to their hearts and minds,” said Judy Y. Samelson, CEO of the Early Childhood Investment Corp., which is sponsoring the convention. “They know – just by looking at their own families and communities – that the only way to grow the competent citizens and workers Michigan needs to fuel its economic turnaround is by investing in young children.

“And they’re riled up enough about the issue to want to make darn sure Michigan’s leaders are listening,” said Samelson, whose nonprofit public corporation is charged with implementing a comprehensive early childhood system in Michigan.

Some 2,000 people have already signed up for the convention, with thousands more expected for the first-of-its-kind event. The Sandbox Party was formed in July by advocates and parents who want to ensure Michigan maintains its investment in children from birth to age 5, when research shows it does the most good.

People are coming from all regions of the state, including a busload of families a nd children from the Upper Peninsula’s Delta County.

A growing body of research indicates that getting infants and young children off to a great start pays huge economic benefits, reducing special education, welfare and criminal justice costs, while increasing the number of children who grow up to be productive adults.

Michigan taxpayers save $1.15 billion every year as a result of the state’s investment in preschool programs alone over the past 25 years, according to a recent study by Wilder Research.

In a poll last year, 83 percent of Michigan voters said early childhood development and education programs are an “absolute necessity” for their communities; 75 percent want them spared from state budget cuts.

The Sandbox Party Convention will feature speakers, inspirational videos and family-friendly entertainment. Parents are encouraged to bring their children.

Emcees are Jason Colthorp, news anchor for WILX TV 10 in Lansing, and Maranda, host of WOOD TV 8’s “Where You Live” show in Grand Rapids.

Radio Disney AM 910, part of the No. 1 radio network for kids, tweens, and families, will be on hand with six “activity stations” including the Rockin’ Roundup – D-Tour Show, Prize Bubble, Sandbox Treasure Hunt and more. The Radio Disney Road Crew will rock the house with live entertainment.

The popular rock group The Verve Pipe will play songs from “A Family Album.”

For more information about the convention visit www.michigansandboxparty.com.

The Case for $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

New York Times — Economists have generally thought that the answer was not much. Great teachers and early childhood programs can have a big short-term effect. But the impact tends to fade. By junior high and high school, children who had excellent early schooling do little better on tests than similar children who did not — which raises the demoralizing question of how much of a difference schools and teachers can make.

There has always been one major caveat, however, to the research on the fade-out effect. It was based mainly on test scores, not on a broader set of measures, like a child’s health or eventual earnings. As Raj Chetty, a Harvard economist, says: “We don’t really care about test scores. We care about adult outcomes.”

Early this year, Mr. Chetty and five other researchers set out to fill this void. They examined the life paths of almost 12,000 children who had been part of a well-known education experiment in Tennessee in the 1980s. The children are now about 30, well started on their adult lives.

On Tuesday, Mr. Chetty presented the findings — not yet peer-reviewed — at an academic conference in Cambridge, Mass. They’re fairly explosive.

Just as in other studies, the Tennessee experiment found that some teachers were able to help students learn vastly more than other teachers. And just as in other studies, the effect largely disappeared by junior high, based on test scores. Yet when Mr. Chetty and his colleagues took another look at the students in adulthood, they discovered that the legacy of kindergarten had re-emerged.

Students who had learned much more in kindergarten were more likely to go to college than students with otherwise similar backgrounds. Students who learned more were also less likely to become single parents. As adults, they were more likely to be saving for retirement. Perhaps most striking, they were earning more.

All else equal, they were making about an extra $100 a year at age 27 for every percentile they had moved up the test-score distribution over the course of kindergarten. A student who went from average to the 60th percentile — a typical jump for a 5-year-old with a good teacher — could expect to make about $1,000 more a year at age 27 than a student who remained at the average. Over time, the effect seems to grow, too.

The economists don’t pretend to know the exact causes. But it’s not hard to come up with plausible guesses. Good early education can impart skills that last a lifetime — patience, discipline, manners, perseverance. The tests that 5-year-olds take may pick up these skills, even if later multiple-choice tests do not.

Now happens to be a particularly good time for a study like this. With the economy still terribly weak, many people are understandably unsure about the value of education. They see that even college graduates have lost their jobs in the recession.

Barely a week seems to go by without a newspaper or television station running a report suggesting that education is overrated. These stories quote liberal groups, like the Economic Policy Institute, that argue that an education can’t protect workers in today’s global economy. Or they quote conservatives, like Charles Murray and Ramesh Ponnuru, who suggest that people who haven’t graduated from college aren’t smart enough to do so.

But the anti-education case usually relies on a combination of anecdotes and selective facts. In truth, the gap between the pay of college graduates and everyone else grew to a record last year, according to the Labor Department, and unemployment has risen far more for the less educated.

This is not simply because smart people — people who would do well no matter what — tend to graduate from college. Education itself can make a difference. A long line of economic research, by Julie Berry Cullen, James Heckman, Philip Oreopoulos and many others, has found as much. The study by Mr. Chetty and his colleagues is the latest piece of evidence.

The crucial problem the study had to solve was the old causation-correlation problem. Are children who do well on kindergarten tests destined to do better in life, based on who they are? Or are their teacher and classmates changing them?

The Tennessee experiment, known as Project Star, offered a chance to answer these questions because it randomly assigned students to a kindergarten class. As a result, the classes had fairly similar socioeconomic mixes of students and could be expected to perform similarly on the tests given at the end of kindergarten.

Yet they didn’t. Some classes did far better than others. The differences were too big to be explained by randomness. (Similarly, when the researchers looked at entering and exiting test scores in first, second and third grades, they found that some classes made much more progress than others.)

Class size — which was the impetus of Project Star — evidently played some role. Classes with 13 to 17 students did better than classes with 22 to 25. Peers also seem to matter. In classes with a somewhat higher average socioeconomic status, all the students tended to do a little better.

But neither of these factors came close to explaining the variation in class performance. So another cause seemed to be the explanation: teachers.

Some are highly effective. Some are not. And the differences can affect students for years to come.

When I asked Douglas Staiger, a Dartmouth economist who studies education, what he thought of the new paper, he called it fascinating and potentially important. “The worry has been that education didn’t translate into earnings,” Mr. Staiger said. “But this is telling us that it does and that the fade-out effect is misleading in some sense.”

Mr. Chetty and his colleagues — one of whom, Emmanuel Saez, recently won the prize for the top research economist under the age of 40 — estimate that a standout kindergarten teacher is worth about $320,000 a year. That’s the present value of the additional money that a full class of students can expect to earn over their careers. This estimate doesn’t take into account social gains, like better health and less crime.

Obviously, great kindergarten teachers are not going to start making $320,000 anytime soon. Still, school administrators can do more than they’re doing.

They can pay their best teachers more, as Pittsburgh soon will, and give them the support they deserve. Administrators can fire more of their worst teachers, as Michelle Rhee, the Washington schools chancellor, did last week. Schools can also make sure standardized tests are measuring real student skills and teacher quality, as teachers’ unions have urged.

Given today’s budget pressures, finding the money for any new programs will be difficult. But that’s all the more reason to focus our scarce resources on investments whose benefits won’t simply fade away.

New York Times, Published: July 27, 2010

Dr. Beegle Training MTU Sept. 16

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Attached please find information on a conference for human services staff and others who work with people in poverty.  This conference will feature Dr. Donna M. Beegle, a highly experienced national speaker and author, who has worked with many across the nation to make a difference for those living in the crisis of poverty.

The conference will be held on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010 at the Rosza Center at Michigan Technological University in Houghton.   There is no cost for the conference, but pre-registration is required.

PRI registration form-Western-fillable

PRI conference flyer-Western

Register Now for FREE MSU Preschool Day Camps!

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Let’s Read. Let’s Move. Free Preschool Day Camp on August 16 and August 19 in Ontonagon County.

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Michigan Election Information

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Michigan Election Information.

Get Outside Bingo: A Journey into the Outdoors

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Welcome to the Get Outside Bingo Program! This is your family’s ticket to outdoor adventures, right here in the western Upper Peninsula! We’ve developed a fun and exciting program to connect your family to the out-of-doors. Getting started is easy!

1. Complete the Bingo Card by participating in outdoor activities. Complete at least 6 activities, with at least 2 chosen from green squares.

2. Bring your Bingo card to an Ottawa National Forest office or Gogebic Natural Resources Center for a prize. Cards are only valid through Sept. 20, 2010.

3. Complete 20 activities or more and you are eligible for entry in a grand prize drawing.

4. Each family member gets their own card, no age limit on participation.

Bingo Cards Available at the following locations:

- Ottawa National Forest, Ironwood

- Ottawa Visitor Center, Watersmeet

- Kenton Ranger District, Ontonagon

- Bergland Cultural & Heritage Center, Bergland

- Porcupine Mountains State Park Headquarters, Ontonagon

-  Gogebic Natural Resources Center, Bessemer



STAR POWER SUCCESS!!!

Monday, July 12th, 2010

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May 19, 2010 fourteen people (7 children/7adults) from the Western U.P. attended Star Power: an early childhood advocacy event at the Capitol in Lansing.

This year over 3,500 people from all around Michigan attended, including over 1,500 children. As you can imagine, it was a trick to keep track of the 7 children we had with us, all wearing yellow shirts, but we did it and had a lot of fun! :)

While at the Capitol the group met with Rep. Michael Lahti and Senator Michael Prusi, toured the capitol, played in the bouncy houses (only the kids), and enjoyed lunch on the lawn of the Capitol. Thanks to Rep. Lahti the entire group was introduced to the MI House of Representatives by name. Rachael and Donna Wilber were also introduced to the Senate by Sen. Prusi.  11 of the 14 had never been to the Capitol before, and for those who had they had never experienced anything like Star Power before (may be the largest event held at the Captiol, ever!).

View Pictures

Ironwood Info

Upper MI Source

Low-Cost and Free Health Insurance

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Are Your Kids Covered?

Getting health insurance for your kids is easy, and one of our staff members would be happy to help!

Don’t know if you’re eligible? Our staff can find out in less than 30 minutes.

MPCA Community Outreach Specialists are stationed across the state, please call or email the Outreach Specialist in your area today with questions about the programs available or to apply for your children.

Marcella Krupski
Region 7
Email
517-899-5641

Early Childhood agencies come together to make Welcome Newborn Bags for Ontonagon County

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

 

DSCF1282_2 On May 7 at the Gogebic Ontonagon ISD in Bergland, several providers of services to Early Childhood initiative, came together to assemble Welcome Newborn Bags for new parents in Ontonagon County.

Becoming a parent is a wonderful joyous event in life that can also be overwhelming and stressful.  New parents are often unaware of services available to help with a variety of health and child development topics.

 

The Welcome Newborn Bags contain many resources and items to support a healthy, happy child that is ready for school.  Books, toothbrush, referral and contact information, information on lead poisoning, immunizations, are some of the many topics covered.


Funding for these bags was provided by the Ontonagon County Child Protection Council; Great Parents, Great Start and Early On (Gogebic Ontonagon ISD); and the Great Start Collaborative. Partner agencies include Gogebic-Ontonagon Head Start, Michigan State University Extension, and Western UP Health Department,


These bags will be available to new parents at the following locations:  Western UP Health Department, Michigan State University Extension office, and Portage Hospital. If you or you know of a parent that has not received a bag, please call the Health Dept at 884-4485, MSUE at 884-4386 or the Gogebic-Ontonagon ISD at 575-3438.

Early Childhood Expo was a SUCCESS!

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

BERGLAND – Did you know that we have 200 billion brain cells prior to birth and only 100 billion brain cells at birth? Well, evidently that’s just part of the amazing story of brain development in children.  Just one of many interesting facts presented at Monday’s “Early Childhood Expo” held at the Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District.

The Expo was hosted by the Gogebic-Ontonagon Counties Great Start Collaborative. Read more…

http://www.uppermichiganssource.com/news/story.aspx?id=430423

Babies Movie In Theatres this Mother’s Day Weekend

Saturday, April 24th, 2010


Everybody loves… Babies. This visually stunning new movie simultaneously follows four babies around the world – from first breath to first steps. From Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Tokyo, Babies joyfully captures on film the earliest stages of the journey of humanity that are at once unique and universal to us all.

April Month of the Young Child

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Month of the Young Child®
Early Years Are Learning Years

Each April Michigan celebrates Month of the Young Child® (MOYC®).

This is a time when communities and individuals recognize the needs and rights of young children and their families.

Since 1971, one week in April has been celebrated nationally as Week of the Young Child. In 1985, Michigan expanded the celebration to the entire month of April, with each week having a specific focus.

Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children (MiAEYC) coordinates the campaign with support from local and state organizations, businesses and public agencies.


April is Autism Awareness Month

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

National Autism Awareness Month

Autism Ribbon In order to highlight the growing need for concern and awareness about autism, the Autism Society has been celebrating National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970s. The United States recognizes April as a special opportunity for everyone to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community. Locally, if you need help with a child that may need extra help please contact Early On or the Special Education Department at the Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District (906)575-3438.


Resources:

Bridges 4 Kids: Michigan’s most comprehensive website, providing parents, educators and others the information they need to help children who might be at-risk or have special needs. It is updated daily and includes information on child development, educational issues and opportunities, and extensive disability, gifted, at-risk, parenting and teaching resources. Choose the “search” function on our menu to search the entire site for the information you need.

Michigan Alliance for Families: Michigan Alliance for Families provides information, support and education to families of children and adults with disabilities, from birth to age 26, who are in the educational system. The purpose of the project is to increase the involvement of families in their children’s education and the educational system in general.

Citizens Alliance to Uphold Special Education (CAUSE): CAUSE is a statewide, non-profit coalition providing free information, referral, support, advocacy and workshops to parents and professionals working with children with disabilities and special needs.

Department of Education


Brains need Nature

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010


Spring is a wonderful time of year to get outdoors. At her presenation in Bergland, MI on Monday, March 15, 2010 Deborah McNelis’ founder of braininsights, discussed how important nature and getting outdoors is to brain development. There’s even a national movement to, “leave no child inside.” With increasing research the benefits of nature on the brain is being revealed. Not only does science show us the benefits but it is also creating awareness of the detrimental impacts a lack of nature plays. Read more about effects of nature on brain development…

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In the Western U.P. there is a dedicated group working to get kids outdoors called Get Outdoors Western U.P. The vision of this group is that Michigan’s children will have the opportunity to experience nature through outdoor play and discovery.

Background: The national dialogue on “nature deficit disorder” sparked by the book Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv, has spread to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where obesity and other diseases are affecting our children. Get Outdoors, MI is a call to action to reconnect children and families with nature.

The Summit included keynote speakers and panels of local stakeholders. Participants had the opportunity to learn and develop action plans that reflects our desire to ensure that children spend time outdoors with nature.

Summit Goals:

1) Raise awareness of the issue of kids spending less time in nature and how it affects the well-being of youth — emotional health, physical fitness, academics, creativity;

2) Identify strategies to reconnect families and nature;

3) Develop local action plans to encourage families to spend more time outdoors in natural areas;

4) Network with youth-serving agencies, educators, schools, natural resources professionals and community leaders to increase family and youth engagement with nature.


May 19, 2010- STAR POWER in Lansing!!!

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Because you care about Michigan’s youngest learners, you will want to be at the State Capitol in Lansing for the fourth annual Star Power event.

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Michigan’s early childhood community – parents, doctors, child care workers, educators, business leaders, and of course many of our youngest learners, among others – will celebrate the importance of early childhood investment.  We will commemorate Star Power by recognizing champions who are making a difference in the early childhood community, enjoy outdoor family activities andmost importantly, meet with state legislators to talk about the significance of building an early childhood system for all Michigan’s children. Be there May 19, 2010 because early childhood is the smartest investment in Michigan. Contact Allison Liddle, aliddle@goisd.org if you are interested in attending.

Star Power Greyscale Flyer

Go Great Start Early Childhood Expo on March 15

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Location: Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District, 202 Elm Street, Bergland, MI 49910

Agenda:

12:15-12:30 pm ET: Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Collaborative Report Release: Planning for Our Children’s Future, Strategic Goals for the next 3 years

12:30- 2 pm ET: Deborah McNelis’ Early Brain Development Presentation on how poverty effects early brain development and how to have a positive impact in the early years!

2-3 pm ET: Meet & Greet the Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Collaborative

Parents, Teachers, Professionals & Community Welcome!
Register by March 5, 2010
or  RSVP to Allison Liddle, GSC Coordinator
aliddle@goisd.org
906-575-3438 ext. 26.
*First come, first serve.  Limit 50

Governor Granholm Releases FY 2011 Budget

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Michigan’s Children:

On February 11, 2010, Governor Granholm released her proposed state budget for the upcoming fiscal year (FY 2011).

The Governor’s budget addresses a projected deficit of $1.5 billion as a result of declining revenues and additional spending pressures. The Governor proposes to address the deficit through a combination of budget cuts, and tax and governmental reforms.

The current fiscal year budget (FY 2010) included major cuts in services for children and families that will be continued into FY 2011.

Read more about the Governor’s budget proposal and how it relates to programs serving Michigan’s most vulnerable children and families in our February 16 Budget Basics, “Governor Granholm Releases FY 2011 Budget.


BREAKING NEWS FOR BABIES:

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

President Obama released his FY11 budget request this morning, indicating his priorities for funding for the fiscal year that runs October 1, 2010-September 30, 2011. The $3.8 trillion budget request includes $1.415 trillion in overall domestic discretionary funding. While the budget request largely freezes domestic discretionary funding for the next three years, it does include funding increases for some programs and services, as well as proposes new initiatives the President would like to see enacted by Congress. Proposed funding and tax credits for infants and toddlers include:

  • Child Care: An increase of $800 million (and an additional $11 billion over ten years) in mandatory Child Care and Development Funds to allow states to provide child care subsidies to additional working families. In addition, another increase of $800 million is proposed to provide quality improvements through the reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Total funding for CCDBG under this proposal would equal $2.927 billion, $137 million of which is targeted for improving the quality of infant-toddler care.
  • Head Start/Early Head Start: $8.224 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start, an increase of $989 million over FY10 funding. The proposed increase in funding is projected to continue providing services to the 64,000 additional children and families served through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
  • Part C: $440 million for Part C Early Intervention Services for infants and toddlers, the same as FY10 funding.
  • Early Learning Challenge Fund: $625 million in mandatory funding for the President’s proposed Early Learning Challenge Fund (ELCF), which passed the House in September and is awaiting action in the Senate. Mandatory funding is automatically allocated and therefore not subject to the annual appropriations process.
  • Child Care Tax Credit: A near doubling of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, which helps working parents afford the costs of child care.
  • Promise Neighborhoods: $210 million for Promise Neighborhoods, modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, which supports “comprehensive programs that address the needs of children and youth in a targeted area from before the time they are born to their attendance in college.”

All of these proposals, if approved by Congress, would bolster supports for families with young children during difficult economic times. Stay tuned to the next edition of The Baby Monitor on February 8th for a full listing of proposed funding levels for all early childhood programs.

Announcement: Parent Liaison Hired

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Patti Witt of Bruce Crossing has been hired at the Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Parent Liaison. Patti is a mother of two children, Gracie and Jacob. She currently works with Ewen-Trout Creek School District’s Enrichment Preschool as the teacher/director and will continue this her work with this position. Patti holds a Bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University in Elementary Education and has successfully taught in a variety of educational settings: Grades Pre-K through 8th Grade. For the past five years she has also been active on the board for the Gogebic-Ontonagon Community Action Agency, as a 4H leader, as a youth sports coach, and Ewen- Trout Creek Community Youth Enrichment Co-Leader, and she teaches church school. Patti’s goal is to provide more opportunities in rural communities for young children and their families. The Great Start Collaborative is thrilled to have such a wonderful addition to our organization.

Study: Early childhood programs save MI $1B annually

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Investments in early childhood programs result in savings for taxpayers, schools, the economy

Early Education Investment Earns Dividends

State spending to educate Michigan children before they even get to kindergarten has saved taxpayers $1.15 billion annually, based on an economic-impact study released today by St. Paul-based Wilder Research .

Read the Executive Summary of the Study

Read the Full Study

The study is the first of its kind in Michigan to document the economic benefits of adequately preparing low-income children over such a broad array of sectors, including K-12 education, government spending and tax revenues, public safety and health, and the economy.

“School success is a critical issue for any state trying to build a strong economy,” Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan said at a Capitol news conference. “This study makes it clear that Michigan will continually lag behind its economic competitors unless it invests in the education of its youngest citizens.”

Chris Holman, Michigan’s Small Business Advocate and founder and publisher of Greater Lansing Business Monthly magazine, agreed: “Michigan must be strategic about its investment when it comes to human capital, if it expects to end up with competent citizens and skilled workers for the long haul. An investment in early childhood programs is absolutely critical to economic success.”

Conducted by the research arm of the Minnesota-based Wilder Foundation, the study estimates the dollar value of benefits generated in 2009 by Michigan children currently in school who received early education services and by young adults who have been more successful as a result of those programs. It was commissioned by the Early Childhood Investment Corp. (ECIC), a public nonprofit corporation formed in 2005 to coordinate the state’s programs and services for children from birth through age 5.

The estimated $1.15 billion savings for Michigan includes:

  • $221 million in K-12 savings, including $136 million in reduced spending on students repeating grades, $69 million in reduced special education spending and $16 million in reduced teacher-turnover costs related to student performance.
  • $584 million in reduced government spending and increased tax revenues, including $214 million in juvenile corrections, $106 million in reduced child abuse and neglect, $94 million in adult criminal justice, $66 million in welfare and Medicaid costs, $40 million in reduced unemployment benefits, $31 million in reduced child care subsidies because children are instead in early education programs and $33 million in increased income tax and sales tax revenue due to higher worker productivity.
  • $347 million in reduced social costs, including $259 million in reduced losses to victims of violent crimes, $74 million in increased productivity and incomes of employed parents while their children are in early education programs, and $14 million in health savings due to reduced alcohol and drug abuse.

The Wilder study comes on the heels of “The Costs of Disinvestment” report issued last week by the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Center on the States. That report presented scientific and other data showing that investments in early childhood programs are fundamental to achieving a globally competitive workforce and fiscal sustainability for states and the nation.

“These studies – and Wilder in particular – document that if the state’s investments in early childhood programs were to be cut, future state budgets and the overall economy would suffer,” said Judy Samelson, CEO of ECIC. “Not investing in school readiness would cost Michigan much more over time than supporting these programs costs today.”

She pointed to Wilder study findings regarding the Great Start Readiness and Head Start programs, which currently serve more than 47,000 low-income 4-year-olds across Michigan with half-day or full-day educational programs. Another 35,000 children are eligible but not served.

The study estimates the ongoing cost of not preparing these children at $598 million per year, including $115 million in increased education costs, $303 million in increased government spending and reduced tax revenues and $180 million in increased social costs.

In contrast, the annual price tag for providing full-day programs for these children would be just $236 million.

“Our findings indicate that early childhood education has contributed to the skilled, educated workforce that is the linchpin of the Michigan economy. Preparing its young children for success in school will be even more important to the state’s long-term success,” said Wilder researcher Paul Anton. “States must invest early to reap the benefits.”

That fact is apparently well-known among elected officials. The Pew report notes that among the states suffering the 10 worst budget shortfalls at the time of the study (measured as a percentage of the budget, Michigan is not among them), only Connecticut and New York approved a cut to early education programs.

Happy, Healthy, and Ready for School

Friday, January 8th, 2010

sesameAs a parent, you want your child prepared to enter school- happy, healthy, and ready to learn. Sesame Street and PNC team up to provide early childhood resources and research to families of young children. Babies are natural learners, picking up knowledge from the day they are born and learning thousands of things by the time they enter school. A child’s parents are an integral part of this process, providing the first “classroom” experiences in the home, the car, the grocery store, and most importantly, the lap. But when it comes to preparing a child for the real classroom, how does a parent know what skills to teach their child to ensure school readiness?

When researched the early formative research points to the importance of social emotional health, while parent-based research focused on literacy and math skills. “The initiative took the points of view of both parents and caregivers, and created an approach that used three different buckets of skills that children can develop in order to get ready for school,” Galarza explains.

3 Ready for School Skills:

  1. Social and emotional skill development
  2. General knowledge or cognitive skills
  3. Physical, health, and hygiene skill development

PNC Grow Up Great is a 10-year, $100 million investment in school readiness to help prepare children from birth to age five for success in school and life. Founded by The PNC Financial Services Group, Grow Up Great is what we believe to be the most comprehensive corporate-based school readiness program in the nation.


Start Your New Year Off Right…Read to your child

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

listen

1. Read every day

A daily reading routine will give all the readers in your family a chance to read with your preschooler. Dads, moms, siblings, caregivers, and friends can all be a part of ensuring your preschooler gets 20 minutes of being read to each day.

2. Do things, and then talk about it

It’s great to offer new experiences to your preschooler, such as a visit to the zoo or museum, but a trip to the grocery store or a neighborhood park can be just as educational. Talk about what you are seeing and ask your preschooler what he thinks of it. When possible, use interesting words to describe what you’re seeing.

3. Read every where you go

You can find reading on the road, at the bus stop, in the store, and at the restaurant. Play a game to find words when you are out and about or take a look at home for words on everyday items like cereal boxes, toothpaste, and household appliances.

4. Be a reading role model

Your child wants to imitate you and be like you. Have plenty of reading material for yourself as well as for your child. Tell your child how much you enjoy reading.

5. Keep your pulse on progress

Please be sure to see your child’s pediatrician or teacher as soon as possible if you have concerns about your child’s language development, hearing, or sight.

Find your local library:  www.uplibraries.org

Online Resources:

Tumble Books

Hundreds of ebooks for kids!

www.magickeys.com/books
Site contains many books that can be read with or to your child.

www.pbskids.org
Provides a wealth of learning resources, many connected to PBS programs: stories, songs, puzzles, games, and more!

www.ldonline.org
Special site for parents of children with learning disabilities.

www.starfall.com
Fantastic site where children can hear stories and learn sounds of letters and hear words pronounced.

www2.scholastic.com/browse/learn.jsp

Interactive books, resources, and fun games for children.


Employment Opportunity

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Part-time Parent Liaison – for newly established Gogebic-Ontonagon Great Start Collaborative, an early childhood coalition.  High school diploma required; bachelor’s degree preferred.  Must be parent of a child under the age of 12. Contracted position. Grant-funded position. 10-15 hours per week. Valid Driver’s License and reliable transportation required. Send cover letter, resume, references to Great Start Collaborative, PO Box 218, Bergland, MI 49910 or email to aliddle@goisd.org. Application deadline: Dec. 31, 2009.

Job Description Parent Liaison

HOMETOWN CHRISTMAS 2009- Fun for the Whole Family!

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

christmas

Friday December 4th
6:00 – 8:00 pm. Hometown Tree Trimming Fitness Center & Museum   
Bring a shatter proof ornament    
Food pantry donation   Appreciated
Dog Sled Rides permitting we have snow
Snowball Golf   
Live Reindeer
Synchronized lighting of downtown Judging of the business &
Residential Decorating
Mule drawn wagon rides & hayrides on Main Street
Extended Shopping Hours
8-11pm   Youth Christmas Dance grades 6th, 7th & 8th
at the Community Action building formerly River Street Center
8-12 pm   High School dance 9 to 12 grades DJ Rewind

Saturday December 5th
9:00 to 3:00 Snowball Golf
9:00-5:00    Flower Garden open House Coffee/Cookies
10:00-4:00   Christmas Craft Fair Ontonagon Area High School
10:00-4:00   Gingerbread decorating contest display at the High School
11:00-2:00   Children‚s Time (Children must be accompanied by adult)
Crafts, cookie decorating, & games at the Community Action
3:00-5:00 * Reindeer Run registration at Dry Dock Bar (Poker Run)
Sponsored by Dry Dock Bar
5:00-9:00    Museum Open House Food & Entertainment,
Pouring of the Lead at 7:00 Book signing
6:00    Fireworks by Morin Fireworks   Marina Park
6:30-8:00    Hayrides sponsored by Norman Pestka
On Tran Light Tours sponsored by Peterson‚s Cottage
Meet at U-Save Parking Lot
9:00 -1:00   Snowball Dance with music by Borderline at the Eagles Hall

Sunday December 6th
1:00-4:00   Holiday Tour of Homes
4:00-8:00   Free Coffee/Hot Chocolate at Syl‚s, & Harbortown Cafe,  
5:30   Parade Main Street   4:30 Line up on
Parker Ave Elementary School
Visit with Santa at the Fire Hall after the parade until 7:30 pm.
After Parade all contest prizes will be given at the fire hall.

Kids be sure to enter Pat’s Foods Coloring contest!

First GSC Strategic Planning Retreat a Success!

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

On Monday, November 10, 2009 community leaders and parents met to discuss what they would like to see for the future of the birth-five population in Gogebic and Ontonagon Counties at the first of two 1/2 day Strategic Planning Retreats. Ray Sharp from Western UP Health Dept. facilitated the meeting and did a wonderful job of helping the group move forward. When asked what they liked best one participant said, “Being enlightened by people that are facilitating 0-5 year care now. ” Another participant said, “the discussion was very productive and they enjoyed the whole process because they truly care about children.”

Some topics discussed include: creating a vision, strategic review, and what are our values? Below is a word cloud of all of the values the group shares. The next meeting is scheduled in December.

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Stay Healthy Steps…

Friday, October 30th, 2009

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Everyone needs to do their best to help fight the flu. Prevention efforts include:

Take these everyday steps to protect your health:

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

Stay home if you are sick until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100°F or 37.8°C) or signs of a fever (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine, such as Tylenol®). Read detailed information about how long to stay away from others.