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 First Steps, Grand Rapids Public Schools and the Great Start Collaborative. Other partners include: Arbor Circle, Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative, Grand Rapids Public Library, Great Start Western Regional Child Care Resource Center, Head Start for Kent County, Kent District Library, Kent Intermediate School District, Kent Regional 4C, Kent School Services Network, PNC Grow Up Great 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, please call Site Coordinators Barb Todd or Marti Coto-Hernandez 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.