Great Start Communications Bulletin (9/6/16)


Parent-Led Strategies Webinar
In order to support the creation of parent-led strategies in this year’s Section 32p application, the TA team held a live webinar to review the purpose of the GSPC and the ABLe Family Engagement Continuum and gave some examples of strategies created from the goals and objectives in two existing applications. If you were unable to attend the webinar live, it is available here and on Great Start Network. The PowerPoint that was used in the webinar is also available here.

Training and Technical Assistance Offerings for FY17
Last week, the TA team recorded a webinar, sharing the scheduled TA opportunities that will be available during the 2017 fiscal year. If you were unable to participate live, the link is available here and on Great Start Network. We have also compiled a list of all of all of the training opportunities and meetings including the scheduled dates for you to be able to save the dates and budget accordingly. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions! We are looking forward to another great year working together.

Creating and Completing the Section 32p Application for FY17
Rachel Mellema, the Great Start Specialist at the Office of Great Start and Holly Wingard from the Investment Corporation recorded a webinar recently that walks you through creating the FY17 application in the new GSN site, which you can access at: Please remember that the Section 32p application for FY17 is due in MEGS+ by no later than September 15, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. If you need assistance, please contact the Great Start TA Helpline at or Rachel Mellema at


Traverse Bay 5toONE Model Webinar
Join the Traverse Bay Great Start team on September 28 from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. as they share their innovative 5toONE model. The 5toONE model is their locally driven approach for addressing persistent challenges facing young children birth to 5 by creating a sustainable 5-county system of resources that both provides support and inspiration to all families and addresses the acute needs of families most in need of help.

5toONE addresses the 5 early childhood system components, builds the 5 strengths identified in the Strengthening Families Framework in all families, and supports the four Office of Great Start outcomes. There are 3 project goals: (1) Reduce the incidence of child abuse and neglect; (2) Increase families’ access to quality childcare; and (3) Improve children’s kindergarten readiness. Join this webinar and learn how, by using a design thinking process and extensive parent/family input, Traverse Bay is developing 5toONE neighborhood centers partnering with community entities across their five-county region.


Toddlers Recognize Written Words as Meaningful Symbols
A report published in the journal Child Development revealed that toddlers are able to recognize written words as symbols at an earlier age than experts had previously thought, which marks an important step on the path to reading readiness. In the words of Temple University Psychology Professor Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, who specializes in literacy development, recognizing that writing is “something that stands for something else, it actually is a vehicle for language – that’s pretty powerful stuff.”


September is Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month
Nearly every other day in Michigan a baby dies due to unsafe sleep. To raise awareness of these deaths and how to prevent them, Governor Snyder has declared September as Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month in Michigan. There are resources, including an updated communications toolkit, to assist you in promoting infant safe sleep practices in your community. Please visit their website for additional information.

Care Coordination: Empowering Families Training for Families of Children with Epilepsy
The Pediatric Epilepsy Telemedicine Program, in partnership with Michigan Family to Family and Children’s Special Health Care Services, is offering a Care Coordination: Empowering Families learning opportunity in East Lansing, Michigan on September 28, 2016. Please share this email and/or attached flyer with any interested families.

This learning opportunity is for parents of children with epilepsy (seizure disorder) OR other special health care needs. The purpose of this one day training is to help parents learn:

  • How to identify a medical home
  • Techniques to organize information and find reliable resources
  • How to navigate health care and insurance systems
  • Skills to increase communication and coordination between multiple providers
  • How to plan early for the transition to adult care
  • Ideas for coping with stress and finding peer support
  • Ways to advocate for improved care

This training is open to any Mid-Michigan parent (biological, step, foster, adoptive, or kinship) or legal guardian of a child (birth- 18 years) who has epilepsy or other special health care needs. Priority will be given to those closest to the training. Participants who attend the full day and complete the evaluation receive a $150 gift card to offset time and childcare costs. Mileage will be reimbursed and lunch will be provided. Parents must pre-register to attend and childcare is not available on site. If you have questions, please feel free to call Kristen Hawkins at 517.324.7396.


Social-Emotional Health is Important for the Total Wellbeing of Children
As we all know, social-emotional wellness is key to the development of young children. Infants and toddlers develop their social-emotional well-being gradually through their interactions with family, caregivers, and others. Social and Emotional behaviors and attitudes learned in the early years have an impact throughout the entire life cycle. For tips on how to support the social and emotional development of infants and toddlers, see Zero To Three’s lists of strategies on their Developing Social-Emotional Skills page.

Toddlers and Challenging Behavior: Why They Do It and How to Respond
The year between age 2 and age 3 is an exciting one. Toddlers are realizing that they are separate individuals from their parents and caregivers. This means that they are driven to assert themselves, to communicate their likes and dislikes, and to act independently (as much as they can). Toddlers are also developing the language skills that help them express their ideas, wants, and needs.

At the same time, toddlers do not understand logic and still have a hard time with waiting and self-control. In a nutshell: Two-year-olds want what they want when they want it. This is why parents and caregivers hear things like “no” and “me do it” and “no diaper change!” more than ever before.

ZERO TO THREE has recently released an article that explores the meaning behind challenging behaviors and how parents and caregivers can set age-appropriate limits for their toddlers.

Intergenerational Patterns of Child Maltreatment
Research is now showing that the majority of children who experience maltreatment do not become adults who abuse or neglect their own children. The Child Welfare Information Gateway’s review of nearly three decades of research on the topic reveals that intergenerational patterns of child abuse and neglect are far more complex and nuanced than originally understood. This issue brief explores what is currently known about intergenerational patterns of maltreatment, the limits of our current knowledge, implications of what we know and what we do not know (including promising prevention strategies) and areas for further research.


“The Good News about Educational Inequality”
When inequality is the topic, it can seem as if all the news is bad. Income inequality continues to rise. Economic segregation is growing. Racial gaps in education, employment and health endure. Our society is not particularly fair. But here is some good news about educational inequality: The enormous gap in academic performance between high- and low-income children has begun to narrow. Children entering kindergarten today are more equally prepared than they were in the late 1990s.

The New York Times recently published an article highlighting information that has been collected over the last two decades by the National Center for Education Statistics highlighting these findings. In the fall of 1998 and again in 2010, the N.C.E.S. sent early childhood assessors to roughly 1,000 public and private kindergartens across the United States. They sat down one-on-one with 15 to 25 children in each school to measure their reading and math skills. They asked children to identify shapes and colors, to count, to identify letters and to sound out words. They also surveyed parents to learn about the children’s experiences before entering kindergarten.

Race, Poverty and Policy: Creating an Equitable Michigan
The Michigan League for Public Policy will be holding their annual public policy forum, on Monday, October 10 from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Lansing, Michigan featuring keynote speaker Rinku Sen, President and Executive Director of Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation. Race Forward brings systemic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity through research, media and practice.

Following the keynote address, participants are invited to attend one of five breakout sessions.

A) Solutions for Cities in Crisis
B) Government’s Role in Achieving Race Equity
C) The Next Move: Taking Equitable Action for Change
D) From Watchdog to Dog-Whistle: Media’s Role in Reporting on Race
E) The Business Case for Race Equity

There is no charge to attend the forum but reservations are requested by Friday, September 30. To reserve a spot, please register online.