Thursday, March 16, 2017

Three Year Old Preschool Options in Jackson County

There are two options for quality three year old preschool in Jackson County: Head Start and tuition programs. Only 4 year old children are eligible for the Great Start Readiness Program.

Head Start
  • Serves children with a family income at or below 100% of the federal poverty level. For a family of four this is $24,600 a year.
  •  Free preschool program funded by the federal government for 3 and 4 year olds.
  •  Children of all abilities can participate
  • Teachers are certified in Early Childhood Education
  • 2 or 3 teachers for every 15-18 students
  •  Research based curriculum that include health, safety, literacy and social development
  • Offers a mix of full and part day programs
  • Limited transportation is available
  •  Meals and snacks are provided in all programs
  •  Parent involvement is encouraged and supported through classroom volunteering, parent meetings and activities
  • Health, dental and mental health services
  • Family assessment and goal setting

Tuition
  • No income guidelines
  • Tuition is paid directly to the program
  • Enroll immediately with the program of your choice
  • Curriculum varies by preschool
  • Mix of full and part day programs
  • Tuition preschools can be found on greatstarttoquality.org

To apply for Head Start, contact Community Action Agency at 517-784-4800. To locate a tuition program, visit greatstarttoquality.org to search for a preschool near your home or workplace and contact the preschool directly to enroll.

If you have any questions about the preschool enrollment process, please contact us at jcisd.gsrp@jcisd.org or 517-768-5130. Multiple staff have the ability to check the GSRP email and preschool hotline messages and will respond to your question as soon as possible.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Four Year Old Preschool Options in Jackson County

There are three options for quality four year old preschool in Jackson County: Head Start, Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP), and tuition programs.

Head Start
  • Serves children with a family income at or below 100% of the federal poverty level. For a family of four this is $24,600 a year.
  •  Free preschool program funded by the federal government for 3 and 4 year olds.
  •  Children of all abilities can participate
  • Teachers are certified in Early Childhood Education
  • 2 or 3 teachers for every 15-18 students
  •  Research based curriculum that include health, safety, literacy and social development
  • Offers a mix of full and part day programs
  • Limited transportation is available
  •  Meals and snacks are provided in all programs
  •  Parent involvement is encouraged and supported through classroom volunteering, parent meetings and activities
  • Health, dental and mental health services
  • Family assessment and goal setting
GSRP
  • Serves children at or below 250% of the federal poverty level. For a family of four this is $61,500 a year.
  • Spots may be available to families at or above 250% of the federal poverty level for a sliding fee scale tuition rate.
  • Free preschool program funded by the state of Michigan for 4 year olds
  • Children of all abilities can participate
  • Teachers are certified in Early Childhood Education
  •  2 or 3 teachers for every 15-18 students
  • Research based curriculum that includes health, safety, literacy and social development
  • Offers a mix of full and part day programs
  • Child care to extend the day is available at some locations
  • Transportation is available for some locations
  • Meals and snacks are provided depending on the length of the program
  • Parent involvement is encouraged and supported through classroom volunteering, parent meetings and activities
  • Dental and developmental screenings
Tuition
  • No income guidelines
  • Tuition is paid directly to the program
  • Enroll immediately with the program of your choice
  • Curriculum varies by preschool
  • Mix of full and part day programs
  • Tuition preschools can be found on greatstarttoquality.org

To apply for Head Start or GSRP, complete an interest form at greatstartjackson.org or visit any GSRP site to complete a paper interest form.  If your child qualifies, you will begin receiving robo calls in April to keep you updated on where you are in the enrollment process. To find a tuition program, visit greatstarttoquality.org to search for a preschool near your home or workplace and contact the preschool directly to enroll.

If you have any questions about the preschool enrollment process, please contact us at jcisd.gsrp@jcisd.org or 517-768-5130. Multiple staff have the ability to check the GSRP email and preschool hotline messages and will respond to your question as soon as possible.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Shoe Tying : Tips and Tricks

One of the hardest tasks for me to master as a child (next to riding my bike without training wheels) was tying my shoes.  It seems at that time, it was a requirement to enter kindergarten, so I remember feeling pressured.  That pressure lead to stress and frustration, and I ended up in a tantrum of tears. Several family members offered suggestions on how to learn, but it was the "bunny ear method" that finally helped me.





When my children began inching toward that same time in their life, I knew that I was about to experience the same torture that I went through as a child.  I started thinking that keeping them in Velcro and slip-on shoes didn't seem like a bad idea.  But, at their kindergarten round-up, I received a bag of goodies to take home with my now "big-kid" which included a guide to tying shoes.  Oh the frustration...and reality!




Needless to say, both of my kiddos did spend the first few months of kindergarten in easy-peasy shoes.  There were tears while learning, both from them and myself.  It was frustrating, but after a few different family members offered their techniques - they learned!


If you are currently struggling or feel like your time is coming, here's some advice.



  1. Don't start too early.  Ages 4-5 is a great time to start!
  2. Get some really cool shoes that your child wants to wear.
  3. Employ the advice of many different family members and friends.
  4. Know when your child needs a break from learning.
  5. Know when YOU need a break.
  6. Let your child know you believe in them, you are not disappointed in them, and that you are there to support them when they are ready to try again.  When a child feels in control, they feel strong in the world!
One resource that wasn't available to my parents as they were teaching me was YouTube.  There you will find many videos displaying different techniques.  Check out this fantastic video to help get you started.








Have fun and happy tying!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Jackson Area Early Childhood Conference 2017

We are so excited to attend the Jackson Area Early Childhood Conference on Saturday, March 25th!  Not only does the event offer those employed in early childhood local opportunities for training hours and continuing education but what a great resource for parents!!  

Break out sessions include topics like Pinterest for early childhood, working with challenging children, caretakers guide to stress management, yoga adventure, successful approaches to parenting and teaching boys who are wired to move and so much more!

Great Start Families was able to sponsor 4 parents attendance and we are looking forward to sharing what we learned in our circles with friends and family, at playgroup, church and just about anywhere!

Click here for more information about the Jackson Area Early Childhood Conference.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Free Online Workshop for Parents



Michigan State University Extension is now enrolling for their next Building Early Emotional Skills (BEES) online class beginning March 6th, 2017.

This is an amazing opportunity for parents/caregivers of children ages 0-3!  Over the course of eight weeks, FREE classes will be offered covering topics such as handling stress and anger in children, discussing emotions, dealing with temper tantrums, and much more.  Once enrolled, participants can log in at anytime - there is NO set day/time for classes.

Better still, a weekly chat forum will be available for group support and discussion.

Certificates indicating training hours will be available upon request.  Don't miss it!  Enroll today.



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Discussing Feelings with Your Child


Wouldn't it be great if children were born knowing the names of the feelings they experience and what to do with them?  For me as a parent, helping my kids name the emotions they are feeling and teaching them to express them in an appropriate way, has always been one of the hardest tasks of parenting.  Oftentimes, their frustration leads to my frustration, and before I know it, both of us are in time-out!  

Well thankfully, there are a multitude of books written just for children that explore these tricky emotions, which makes your job that much easier.  Here are a few of my children's favorites that I enjoyed reading to them again and again. In fact, all of the books written by these authors are fantastic, with colorful, expressive illustrations that your children will love. 
I think you will love them too.
  





 For an even more lengthy list, categorized by age group, check this out!

Happy Reading!