Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Supporting Diversity through Children's Books



Have you ever thought about the color of Band-Aids? 


At a recent meeting that I attended, this was brought to my attention and I realized that I never once in my entire life had to think about the color of a Band-Aid matching my skin.  Also, I never had to question why my baby dolls didn't look like me - they always did. 

After this meeting I went away deep in thought.  How can I help my children understand diversity?  I'm not talking skin color 
alone, but also the diverse cultures, languages, developmental abilities, AND ethnicities that embrace our country. I want my children to understand the Band-Aid concept and the deeper meaning within it.


I have found in my parenting years that books provide a great way to explore tricky topics.   It can be hard to bring up certain subjects while at the same time keeping your child's attention.  I have found that with books, I can still get my point across and they are entertained!

The great thing about books is that while the words support literacy, build vocabulary, and introduce new ideas; the stories and illustrations within can heighten a child's self esteem about their own cultural background and teach other children to understand and respect the unique diversity that is entwined in our country and across the entire world.


When searching for books that explore diversity, keep an eye out for a few things within the story line by looking at the characters, their roles, relationships, and lifestyles.  Are they depicted in a positive light, without stereotypes? Check out the books listed - all great examples!







Tuesday, September 4, 2018

September is Safe Sleep Month!



SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is the sudden, unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year of age that doesn't have a known cause even after a complete investigation.  SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age.  

It is tempting to bring baby to bed with you - especially when breastfeeding, but the fact is that a baby dies every three days in Michigan and these deaths are 100% preventable. Of course parents want to avoid this from happening to their babies, but with so much advice out there, how do we know which practices are best?  According to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Safe to Sleep Public Education Campaign, the tips below offer the safest advice for both nap and night-time routines: 



  • Place your baby on their back, in a crib, bassinet or pack-n-play for every sleep time.
  • Use a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet.
  • Keep baby’s sleep space clutter free – no pillows, blankets or toys.
  • Avoid covering baby’s head or overheating.  Instead of a blanket, consider using a sleep sack, wearable blanket or footed sleeper to keep baby warm.
  • Remind everyone who cares for your baby, including babysitters and family members, how to keep baby safe while sleeping.





The following video, Safe Sleep: What Every Parent Needs to Know, with Introduction by Sue Snyder, first lady of Michigan, gives a overview of 3 different families who've lost young children to unsafe sleep environments. Advice from medical professionals is also examined on ways to keep your child safe.


I have a baby shower coming up for a friend.  What are good gift ideas that are safe for baby?  A sleep sack is a great idea!  It is the preferred sleepwear for an infant under one and is recommended in place of covering the infant with a blanket.  Fitted sheets, bassinets, cribs, portable cribs, or firm mattresses to fit cribs or bassinets also make great gifts for the new family!

Monday, August 27, 2018

We Need You!!


Since 2006, the Great Start Collaborative of Jackson County has been working to ensure children within our community are born healthy, ready to succeed when entering kindergarten, and are reading proficiently by the end of third grade.
Do you want to help make a difference in our children's lives and future outlook?  Do you have ideas for improving early childhood outcomes?  Then the Great Start Collaborative needs you!  The more voices we have, the stronger our impact in Jackson County will be.  Please consider joining in on one of our monthly meetings - we welcome you!

Great Start Family Support 

Made up of parents, community service agency members, and educators, this group meets to develop a plan that ensures parents have access to resources, trainings and all other information needed to provide for the needs of their children.

Meets monthly on the 2nd Thursday 
Next Meeting: September 13th
1:00-2:00 PM
Jackson County Health Department
Room 205

Great Start School Readiness

It takes a community to ensure children are ready to enter school.  This group, made up of teachers, parents, community and social service agency members, meets to discuss social-emotional, physical, and academic topics of school readiness.  Input and guidance regarding community services designed to improve readiness in all areas is encouraged!



Meets monthly on the 3rd Wednesday
Next Meeting: September 19th
2:00-3:00 PM
Family Service & Children's Aid
330 W Michigan Avenue





Please visit our website for up-to-date information, including future meeting times and locations.  


Thursday, August 16, 2018

Responsibility and Age-Appropriate Chores


 It is hard to believe that another summer has nearly passed and the kids are gearing up for a fresh year of school.  Although I enjoy the long days and late wake-up calls of summer, it's nice to get everyone back into a routine.  
The beginning of the school year usually means that I take a long, hard look at the chore list at our house.  I think about each of my children's growth over the past year and add some new responsibilities to their plate.  What once may have been taking dirty dishes from the table after dinner and placing them in the sink, can now evolve to rinsing them and loading them in the dishwasher.  Once they remembered to put their lunches into their backpacks in the morning, but now can pack their own lunches the night before.  
I do admit that it is hard to actually allow my children these responsibilities. I often want to run in and "do it better." But over the years I've learned to take a step back, allow them to make mistakes, give a bit of guidance on how to improve (while still praising the attempt), and watching as they improve independently.  Yes, there are days when their chores aren't done perfectly, that's for sure!  But, we all have our days, right?!

If you are looking for age-appropriate ways to increase responsibility and encourage self-sufficiency in your child, here are a few tips to follow:
  • Make sure that tasks are age-appropriate.  A preschooler can't pick up the whole house, but can definitely pick up his/her toys in the bedroom and can make their bed in the morning (not perfectly, but remember, this will improve!). 
  • Teach your child to dress themselves.  They may need help with tricky parts like buttons and shoelaces, but know that these skills do come with time.  
  • Don't give in to whining.  As long as you know that the task is age-appropriate, don't jump in to help.  Try saying, "As soon as you put your toys in the bin, we will go to the library. Let me know when you're done."
  • Teach your child to ask for help.  Mastering new skills does take time, and there is a difference between whining (saying I can't do it) and asking for an adult to help.  Guide them through the new skills and watch as they quickly learn to do work independently.  
  • Thank them for their work and give big hugs!


For more, read 10 Great Ways to Teach Children Responsibility, courtesy of The Parent-Institute.com

Now Enrolling for GSRP Preschool!!!



We still have a few spots available for your child in our Great Start Readiness Preschool Program (GSRP).  If your child is four, and you have not decided on a preschool yet, contact us right away!  GSRP programs are free to families who qualify and are located throughout Jackson County.  Please visit our Preschool Partnership page to view the income eligibility chart and the 2018-2019 Jackson Quality Preschool Interest Form.  Fill out the form to apply or call (517) 768-5130 to apply over the phone.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Summer Pop-Up for Reading Events


The five Pop-Up for Reading events that took place this past June and July were a big hit!  Each location offered a different theme for families- with new storytime books, crafts, STEM activities, and more.  In addition to the fun activities, families were able to take home a copy of the read-aloud and each child was able to go home with an additional book for free.

Families were provided with feedback forms to fill out which included information on favorite activities and an area to add suggestions for improving events next year.  Favorites this year included the bubble art activity (Bennett Elementary), creating the balloon car (Townsend Elementary), building bridges at Francis Street Primary, making goo at East Jackson Memorial, and the Rainbow Fish craft at Springport Elementary. 

The majority of families stated that they heard about the events through social media - good to know!  Also, families attended the different Pop-Up for Reading events throughout the county, not just the closest location or where the children attend school.  This is fantastic information as we were not only trying to reach as many families as possible, but encouraging families to attend all events!

Unanimously, families responded that this event was fun, interactive, and that they would definitely attend again if offered next year.   Comments such as, "You're awesome!" and "Love it! Keep it coming!" are just a few of the positive messages that we will take with us as we begin thinking about next year's activities. 


 Thank you to all who attended! 



Monday, August 6, 2018

August Playgroup Fun!

For August, we are making dragonflies at playgroup, using recycled lids from gogo squeeze applesauce pouches.  

Thank you to all of the families that saved lids for me to create these adorable crafts!  

The beading is great for enhancing fine motor skills and they look super cute hanging up on plants, in windows, 
or wherever you needs some whimsy.

Join us at a Playgroup this month 
to create your own beaded dragonfly!

Visit us on our Facebook page: 
for dates, times, and locations.

First, hot glue two caps together

Next, hot glue a pipe cleaner inside of one of the cap openings
Then, glue a large button to the front of the other cap
I had enough caps to prep over 100 dragonflies for families to bead!!
Lace a half of a pipe cleaner through the Botton holes and string them back up
through the back of the button to make the eyes and antennas.  
Our dragonflies are adorable!!!

I originally found this craft posted at: http://viewsfromastepstool.com/dragonfly-kids-craft/ 



Tuesday, July 3, 2018

July Pop-Up for Reading events!

The kiddos had so much fun at the June Pop-Up for Reading events!!  We started with a read aloud story the littles enjoyed and the parents learned techniques to make the reading you share with your child more insightful and how to support the essential reading skills as the kids grow.

Next we moved on to activities and crafts that were based on the book we read.  Adults were asked to work with their kiddos to complete each craft.  As they worked together you could see the joy on everyone's face and how much they enjoyed just being close. The crafts also support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills and were downright fun too!  Who doesn't love making a balloon car and wonderful bubble art?

Each child then picked out a book and each family was sent home with their very own copy of the book we read out loud.

Learning and supporting your child's literacy skills can be a lot of fun and what a terrific way stop the summer slid and enjoy reading!  Please bring friends and join us for the July Pop-Up for Reading events!


July 17th at the new Francis Street Primary from 10:00 am - 11:30 am.

July 24th at East Jackson Memorial from 10:00 am - 11:30 am.

July 31st at Springport Elementary from 9:30 am - 11:00 am.

See you there!!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Phone Apps for New Parents

Would you enjoy connecting with other parents?  Would you like important developmental information at your fingertips?  How about tips on nighttime feedings, healthy growth, when to call the doctor, etc.?  Did you know there are several apps that you can download that will give you all of this, and more?




Here are four to get you started, all of which are available for FREE on iTunes and Google Play.

Peanut - This app allows you to connect with other parents in your area, and also has a community discussion feature called "Peanut Pages" where you can ask questions and gather feedback from other parents who have been in similar situations. 

Today's Parent My Family - Simply plug in your child's age to get personalized content.  This app helps you track naps, assist with breastfeeding and bottle feeding, and even has a storybook feature to help you capture amazing moments you won't want to forget.  Another exciting feature are the how-to recipe and craft videos.

Glow Baby - All aspects of your baby's first year is covered in this app.  Developmental milestones, sleep schedules, when to feed your baby what, and more are all included.  Parenting tips are also delivered daily.

WebMD Baby - Should I call the doctor?  Why was my baby crying all night - could it be an earache, a tooth coming in, or something else?  Sound familiar?  This app provides doctor approved medical information from birth to two years.  It includes emergency symptoms and weekly content specific to your child's age and development. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

FREE Summer S.T.E.A.M. Programs


The Girls Scouts Heart of Michigan is hosting FREE summer S.T.E.A.M. (Science-Technology-Engineering-Art-Math) programs this summer.  These programs are open to all girls in Jackson County entering kindergarten through 6th grade in the fall of 2018.  Girls DO NOT need to be a Girl Scout to attend!


Join us at the following locations, (No programs July 2nd-July 6th):

Jackson District Library Carnegie Branch Auditorium — Mondays, 1:30-2:15pm
Ridgewood Vista Apartments — Wednesdays, Noon-1;00pm
Warner Elementary School — Thursdays, 11:00am-Noon
Ashton Ridge Apartments Clubhouse — Thursdays, 1:00-2:00pm



Please RSVP to Laurie Skrzynski at (517) 784-8543 or LSkrzynski@gshom.org


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Little Free Libraries coming to a neighborhood near you!

The Great Start Collaborative of Jackson County was recently awarded a grant through Consumers Energy to support literacy in our community.  We are excited to include Little Free Libraries in the work to support and help prepare children and families be prepared for kindergarten and school success beyond!

Reading out loud with young children as early as infancy is a wonderful activity that keeps us close and can be continued for years and generations to come.  Research shows reading to a child creates important brain stimulation and engages areas of the brain and help babies form connections and mental imagery.  Children start to learn communication and concepts of numbers, letters, colors and shapes and while having fun they build listening, memory and vocabulary skills.

Great Start Families had a wonderfully successful book drive in May to support the libraries and other literacy events on the way.  To learn more about where families would like to see a Little Free Library we have been working with parents in our play groups and MOPS and we have connected with the Jackson Mayor to learn and talk more about the Little Free Libraries he had worked on.

Locations that are set to receive one of the grant funded libraries are Family Services and Children's Aid, Department of Health and Human Services, The Jackson County Health Department and the Falling Waters walking path.

If you have an idea about a good location for a Little Free Library, please comment below and share your idea.  Any location within Jackson County is welcome and rural community locations where the libraries can be accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week are terrific!


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Growing Families

Having a new baby is an exciting time for the entire family.  Children awaiting the birth of their new baby brother or sister will watch in wonder as your belly grows, find happiness "talking" to their new sibling through your belly, giving your belly kisses, and feeling baby move.  Seeing and holding the new baby for the first time is also exciting for all involved - especially for the older children who finally get to meet their new sibling.
After a few weeks, though, you may quickly notice the happy feelings in your older children fade and replaced with resentment.  The new baby cries, wakes up in the middle of the night, and demands your attention.  Mom and dad are now being shared, and that can feel unfair to other children in the home.  You may find older siblings upset, acting out, and clingy.  How can you help?


1.  Listen.  Listening to your child is one of the best ways to reconnect and ease the stress associated with this new situation.  Try not to problem solve.  Just be open to all that they want to communicate.  Even when they are mad, validate their anger - say, "I can tell you are angry!" This will make them feel open to talking about their feelings.  Listening shows empathy and understanding, and this will make your child feel loved and safe.

2.  Special Time.  Yes, you are busy with a new baby in the house!  Special time doesn't mean planning a trip to Chuck E. Cheese or any other extravaganza.  Simply spend 10-15 minutes a day giving undivided attention to each of the older children in your life.  You can read books, cuddle on the couch and talk, or get on the floor and play.  Let them be the guide!  

3. Hug.  Everyone loves a hug! Anytime you hug, squeeze, pat, or hold hands with your child, you are displaying your love!

4.  Assign Tasks.  If you child is old enough, give them the role of helper with the new baby.  They can pack the diaper bag, grab a burp cloth when you need it, pick out an outfit for baby to wear, or simply sit with baby.  Thank your child for his/her help - no matter how small the task was or even if they goofed!  

5. Read Books.  There are many great options for parents to read children before and after the new baby arrives. Visit here for a great list provided by CS Mott Children's Hospital. You will also find other great tips for welcoming a new baby into your home!  


Monday, April 30, 2018

Supporting Resilience in Children

We all know that life is full of both ups and downs.  There are days we feel extremely happy and days we feel sad.  Some days our friends and family are getting along and other days not so much. Some days we feel confident and other days worried.  We all have emotions, and though we want to save our children from the bad ones, they need these experiences in order to grow into healthy, resilient adults.  
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, resilience is defined as having an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.  Thinking about this definition, I understand that much of childhood is spent learning resilience and how important resilience is for our entire life - our social/work lives and our emotional well-being.  Through playing with other children, learning to share, and identifying feelings, children are learning resilience on a daily basis.  
Families also play a big role in forming their child's resilience and ability to cope with the world at large.  Learning from what they see, children watch parents/caregivers tackle stress and negative feelings.  By coping with setbacks in a calm way, children learn to handle problems of their own in a calm manner as well.  
In addition, by showing children unconditional love, understanding and acceptance, children learn that they are safe, secure and supported, not matter what feelings crop up in their lives.  It is through these secure relationships, that we help children understand different emotions and how to regulate them when they arise.  

Tracy Trautner, from Michigan State University Extension, recently wrote an article on the subject, which includes several suggestions for building caring relationships with children and the importance of resilience-building.   

As much as we want to build positive resilience in children, prolonged stress has the opposite effect.  If you are interested in how you can empower children to manage the stressors in their lives, consider attending the following free workshop:



The Resilience Toolbox
May 10th, 2018
6:30-8:00 p.m.

Washington Street Education Center
500 Washington Street
Chelsea, MI 48118
open to the public

Monday, April 23, 2018

Supporting Early Math Skills

When my children began school and I realized that math was being taught in a completely different way than when I was a child, I was frustrated.  Math was never my strong suite, so I always felt nervous when one of my children came home needing help with a math assignment.  Seeing as math was being taught in a new way, I also wondered if my old school ways would confuse my kids in their learning.  

Having a quick talk with my child's teacher helped put me on the same page, but I also found that one of the best ways I could support my children was to have a good attitude about math from the start.  I do privately complain (not perfect by any means), but when I am within earshot of my children, I try my best to keep a positive attitude about math.   I know they will mimic my actions and behaviors, so if they overhear me complaining about math being taught in a way I cannot understand, they will feel the same frustration and complain about doing it altogether.  If I am positive, they will be too, and I want to help keep them motivated and encouraged even when they feel challenged!

Find some fun activities to share with your child that focus on math.  This not only allows another method of teaching (which helps us parents out), but also hones in on the fun aspect of the subject - which will encourage learning.  There are several opportunities both locally and within a short driving distance that focus on math - and science - that I've listed below, as well as a few websites to get you started on ideas to try at home. 



What is S.T.E.A.M. ?  Locally, the Jackson District Library offers a S.T.E.A.M. & Stories program meant for children ages 0-5 and Super S.T.E.M. Stations daily across the county.   For a day trip, visit Impressions 5 in Lansing, MI.  

Pick up a pair of dice and check out this website full of game ideas to play with your child.  All are super fun, easy, portable, and highly educational.  

NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children)


Have fun!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Great Start Collaborative Monthly Meetings!

Since 2006, the Great Start Collaborative of Jackson County, has been working to ensure children
within our community are born healthy, ready to succeed when entering kindergarten, and are reading proficiently by the end of third grade.

Do you want to help make a difference in our children's lives and future outlook?  Do you have ideas for improving early childhood outcomes?  Then the Great Start Collaborative of Jackson County needs you!  The more voices we have, the stronger our impact in Jackson County will be.  We have several committees that meet monthly - with descriptions listed below.  


Great Start School Readiness - It takes a community to ensure children are ready to enter school.  This group, made up of teachers, parents, volunteer and social service agency members, meets to discuss social-emotional, physical, and academic topics of school readiness.  Input and guidance regarding community services designed to improve readiness in all areas in encouraged!  

Meets monthly on the 3rd Wednesday
Next meeting:  May 16th, 2:00-3:00 PM

Great Start Family Support - Made up of parents, community service agency members, and educators, this group meets to develop a plan that ensures parents have access to resources, training's, and all other information needed to provide for the needs of their children.

Meets monthly on the 2nd Thursday
Next meeting: May 10th, 1:00-2:00 PM


Please visit our calendar for more the most accurate location information and future meeting dates!  Hope to see you!





Wednesday, April 11, 2018

STEM activities at playgroups

Thank you to the Jackson District Library! 

They are providing STEM activities to our little ones at playgroups!  The first series is all about exploring how our bodies work.  

Check out these fun activities during an upcoming playgroup!

My Body:
Monday, April 9 - 10 am - Brooklyn
Thursday, April 12 - 10 am - Parma
Monday, April 16 - 10 am - JDL East
Friday, April 20 - 10 am - Baker College
Friday, May 11 - 10 am - JDL Carnegie

Construction and Building:
Monday, May 23 - 10 am - Brooklyn
Thursday, May 26 - 10 am - Parma
Friday, May 4 - 1 pm - Baker College
Monday, May 7 - 10 am - JDL East

Visit the Jackson Playgroups Facebook page for all of the dates, times, and locations for 2018:


Here is a little one enjoying some of the STEM activities on My Body:



Monthly Meetups for Breastfeeding Mothers

Breastfeeding is a simple and natural process, but you may need support and information on how to get started and for overcoming any difficulties that may occur. Together with other women who have had experience breastfeeding their babies, the La Leche League of Jackson is here to help you! 

At the La Leche League monthly meetings, you will network with other mothers and learn about topics such as: correct positioning of the baby at the breast, working and breastfeeding, and avoiding problems.  During meetings mothers share their questions, concerns, advice, and joys.  

Meetings and any help received from La Leche League leaders are free of charge, and babies are always welcome.  Mark your calendars for these upcoming classes!

The Advantages of Breastfeeding
Monday, May 14, 2018   7:00 pm

The Birth of Your Baby and Baby's First Weeks  
Monday, June 11, 2018 7:00 pm

The Art of Breastfeeding and Avoiding Difficulties
Monday, July 9, 2018 7:00 pm

Breastfeeding Beyond
Monday, August 13, 2018 7:00 pm


All meetings are held at First Presbyterian Church, 743 W. Michigan Avenue, Jackson 49201

Please park in the lot behind the church and enter the door at the bottom of the driveway.  Follow the signs up the stairs.  Meetings are held in the Westminster Room.  

If you have a breastfeeding question, call any of the following La Leche League Leader(s):

Jessica 795-0129
Katie 812-3280
Melissa 740-7797
Nancy 787-2814

Monday, April 9, 2018

Great Start Families Book Drive!!



Keep Jackson kiddos reading this summer!!!

Make sure this years Spring Cleaning includes the kids bookshelves!  Great Start Families is getting ready to sponsor a Book Drive to benefit Pop Up Reading events this summer and numerous Little Free Libraries and we need your help!

Help us keep books free and easily accessible for every child to enjoy. Please contact Jennifer Ganzel at (517) 745-9544 to donate new or gently used children's books.    

 You can also drop books off at:

Jackson County Intermediate School District (JCISD)
Parking Lot A Main Entrance
6700 Browns Lake Road
Jackson, MI 49201

Stay tuned for more book drop off sites
 or call/text Jennifer at 
517-745-9544 today!  


Monday, March 26, 2018

Does Your Child Need Eyeglasses?

Routine eye exams are extremely important for detecting vision problems in young children.  As children reach school-age, they will begin to face increasing demands on visual abilities.  The size of print in books will become smaller and the amount of time spent reading will increase significantly.  Vision changes can occur in children without your child even noticing them.  This is why yearly exams are so important.  The earlier a vision problem is detected and treated, the better. 

Did your child just have his yearly well-child visit and you found out it's time for eyeglasses?  Did you recently find out that your child failed his school eye exam?  Are you worried about the cost involved?  If you have Healthy Kids, MIChild, or traditional Medicaid - you can get your child the eye exam and glasses they need.  If your child accidentally breaks or loses their glasses, a replacement pair is also covered once per year. 

For information of Vision Providers that accept Medicaid, or for more general information of vision coverage, please call your individual plan (look on the back of your card for the phone number), visit here, or call MDHHS at 517-780-7400 to speak to your case worker. 




Tuesday, March 13, 2018

32p Early Childhood Program Grant Applications Now Being Accepted!


The Great Start Collaborative of Jackson County is now accepting applications for the 2018-2019 grant funding year.  Do you have a program that serves children in Jackson County and aligns with the four early childhood outcomes of the Great Start Collaborative?  If so, your program may qualify!  Completing the Letter of Intent is the first step in the application process, with a submission deadline of Friday, June 8th at 12:00 P.M.  Upon submission of the Letter of Intent you will receive an email requesting a general budget of how the Great Start Collaborative funding will support your program.  Complete applications (Letter of Intent and program budget) will be accepted through Friday, June 22nd at 12:00 P.M.

The four Early Childhood Outcomes of the Great Start Collaborative:

  1. Children are born healthy.
  2. Children are healthy, thriving, and developmentally on track from birth to third grade.
  3. Children are developmentally ready to succeed in school at time of school entry.
  4. Children are prepared to succeed in fourth grade and beyond by reading proficiently by the end of third grade. 
Children with the greatest need of not achieving these outcomes must be served first, and programs serving these children are given highest priority.  Programs must also serve children or parents of children ages 0-8 , but cannot solely target 4 year olds.  In addition, programs must collect demographic information on each child served/impacted by the program.

Please visit our website to find out more information and to start the application process by completing the Letter of Intent.  Best of luck to those who apply!


Monday, March 12, 2018

Friday, March 16th Great Start Families Community Fair!

Join Great Start Families for a Community Fair this Friday, March 16th from 2:30pm - 6:30pm at Baker College on Springport Road in Jackson.

The focus of this fair is Summer fun for kids, family literacy and smooth transitions to preschool and kindergarten.

Preregister for the event and be entered to win Meijer gift cards!!  See you there!




Thursday, March 8, 2018

What do I need to bring to the preschool fair?


The Head Start and Great Start Readiness Programs are having a preschool fair Friday, March 16th from 2:30-6:30 P.M. at Baker College 2800 Springport Road. If you have already applied using the online interest form, you can complete step 2 of the enrollment process at the preschool fair.

If you are ready to complete step 2 please bring the following:

  • Your child's birth certificate (affidavit of parentage or other hospital documentation with child's name and date of birth can be substituted for the birth certificate.)
  • Your family income information for 12 months. The easiest method is your most recent 1040 tax form. Other income documentation can be used such as w-2s, unemployment, child support, and pay stubs for the last 12 months.

If you are unable to attend the preschool fair there will be additional opportunities to complete income verification throughout the spring and summer. If you have any questions, please leave a message on the preschool hotline 517-768-5130.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Free Transportation to Medical Appointments

Did you know that you might be able to get free rides for yourself or your child's medical appointments?  Recipients through Medicaid are eligible for transportation through their managed care plan.  Most medical plans include rides to and from several varieties of appointments, including: mental health, vision, pharmacy, classes (child birthing and health education), labs, and  x-rays.


Medicaid Transportation Lines:


  • Aetna Better Health Plan: (800) 947-2133
  • Blue Cross Complete: (888) 803-4947
  • McLaren: (888) 327-0671
  • Meridian: (800) 821-9369
  • Molina: (888) 898-7969
  • UnitedHealthCare: (877) 892-3995
  • Medicaid only: Call the phone number provided on the back of your member card. 


Before you call make sure you have the following information on hand:
  • Member ID
  • Your date of birth and phone number
  • Address, phone number of doctor's office, doctor's name, and appointment time. 




Please note:  Some plans include car seats and others do not.  Mileage reimbursement is also available. Please visit here to read all of the details on your own individual plan. Most plans require you to call at least three days before your appointment to schedule a ride.  


Thursday, February 22, 2018

2018-2019 Jackson County Preschool Interest Form Now Available

The preschool interest form for the 2018-2019 school year is now available. Parents should complete the form for their child if they would like to enroll in Jackson County Head Start, Early Head Start, or Great Start Readiness Programs. Interest forms can be completed here.

Income eligibility is based on family size.

# of Family MembersIncome at or Below
2$41,150
3$51,950
4$62,750
5$73,550
6$84,350
7$95,150
8$105,950

Some spaces may be available for over income families once all of the income eligible children have been enrolled.