We want to make sure that all of our children are ready for school—socially, emotionally and intellectually. From the time they’re babies, young children need a stimulating environment that allows them to explore and discover. They need a responsive, nurturing caregiver and positive interactions with others.
Early Learning Communities are enriching the learning experiences of young children by strengthening the skills of early childhood caregivers and educators. Early Learning Communities are focused on the neighborhoods around Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Academy and Burton School.
There are several different approaches to strengthen early learning:
- Professional development and training for educators and caregivers
- Play & Learn Groups
- One-on-one coaching for in-home caregivers to help them improve their skills and learning environment
The Early Learning Communities project is a community partnership led by Grand Rapids Public Schools, First Steps, and the Great Start Collaborative. Other partners include: Arbor Circle, Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative, Grand Rapids Public Library, Kent District Library, Kent Intermediate School District, Kent Regional 4C, Kent School Services Network, PNC Grow Up Great, Stranahan Foundation, Keller Foundation, Sebastian Foundation, and several local churches.
The Early Learning Communities project has made measurable impact on the children, parents and providers it serves, as evidenced in the Annual Value and Impact Report, released in 2012.
To learn more about Early Learning Communities from an investment perspective, read and/or download Early Learning Communities, An Innovative Approach to Learning That Works.
Early Learning Communities Site Coordinators are Barb Todd and Marti Coto-Hernandez. They can be reached at 616-819-2808.
Funding for the Early Learning Communities project is provided in part by PNC Grow up Great, ReImagine Early Years (ECIC) and the Western Great Start Regional Child Care Resource Center.