Early Learning Programs
High-quality early learning experiences help children develop their thinking, social, and emotional skills. These programs include play and learn groups, support for caregivers, and connections to early intervention services.
Play and Learn Communities guide parents and/or caregivers with young children through group and individual play activities that build an understanding of child development. Ready by Five Play and Learn providers include:
- Little Learners playgroups are for caregivers and parents of children ages 0-5. Groups are offered through partnerships with child care providers (family, relatives, licensed homes), schools, and community-based settings (housing complexes, churches, community centers). Little Learners integrates child development strategies along with literacy enhancements into a play-based context that nurtures a child’s cognitive, language, literacy, social and emotional development--brought to you by Vibrant Futures.
- Therapeutic Play and Learn Groups are inclusive playgroups offering activities that are tailored to nurture the development of all children – including children ages 0-5 with a developmental disability. Groups are facilitated by trained pediatric therapists from across a variety of disciplines that ensure caregivers and parents are equipped with the knowledge and skills to better understand how to support their child’s growth at home. This is a program of the Comprehensive Therapy Center.
- Play and Learn GRCC are collaborative, community-based playgroups that strengthen the skills of early childhood caregivers using household materials and daily routines to provide activities to support their child’s developmental milestones in language, literacy, and STEM. There is a strong focus on emotional and physical health as children are growing and rapidly developing in these areas at this age. These play-to-learn groups are run by Grand Rapids Community College.
- Bright Beginnings offers playgroups throughout Kent County, primarily in schools or early childhood centers, to foster social connections and build community among families in three primary areas: parent-child interaction, development-centered parenting, and family wellbeing. Playgroups offer an organized setting for families to interact with one another, share common experiences, explore parenting issues, learn about child development, and best of all, learn through play. Bright Beginnings is a program of Kent ISD.
Early Literacy and Learning programs focus on improving language, listening, and communication skills in young children.
- Reach Out and Read gives young children a foundation for learning by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together. This is a national program brought to you locally by Ready for School, the Reach Out and Read West Michigan affiliate.
- Family Futures Learning Kits are delivered to three-and-four-year-old children in Kent County who meet household income eligibility requirements. Kits include learning materials for activities as well as guidance for caretakers on how each activity can nurture the development of motor skills as well as emotional development.