Great Start Communications Bulletin (2.27.2017)


Register for the Parent Liaison Strengthening Families / Parent Café Training
All Parent Liaisons who will be conducting the Strengthening Families Assessment during FY18 are invited to participate in this interactive, all day event that will teach Liaisons how to introduce Strengthening Families to their GSPC members and effectively facilitate parent cafés. This training will provide participants with step by step directions, training materials, an opportunity to practice, and the knowledge and confidence to conduct a training.  Please note that this training will assume that participants have a basic understanding of the Strengthening Families framework and the Protective Factors.  If you did not participate in the Strengthening Families training held in November (or at another time), we ask that you complete at least the overview module of the on-line training, available here.

This training will take place on April 25 in Shepherd, MI., and we invite you to register today for this wonderful learning opportunity!

Adaptive Schools Registration is Open!
The Early Childhood Investment Corporation is pleased to again offer the four-day Adaptive Schools Foundation Training for building strong and effective groups. The training will be held on May 24-25 and August 22-23at the Genesee Career Institute, G5081 Torrey Rd, in Flint. This four-day Foundation Seminar will train participants in techniques to build strong and effective groups, resulting in dynamic and energized meetings.  Participants will increase their effectiveness as staff and facilitators of Great Start Collaboratives, Great Start Parent Coalitions, and Great Start to Quality Resource Centers as well as learn practical tools for engaging members and partners.

Training Outcomes Include:

  • Increased flexibility and confidence as a group facilitator.
  • New meeting structures that promote successful decision making.
  • Tools to help enhance group productivity, increasing group member satisfaction & member engagement.
  • Ways of talking that increase shared understanding and meaning among group members.
  • Ways to value and use dissention, argument and conflict.
  • Strategies for keeping group members on track, on topic, energized and resourceful.
  • Techniques and insights for ensuring the group are welcoming to diverse perspectives.

Please register for the training here. Priority will be given to new Collaborative and Coalition staff, as well as GSQ staff who have not yet taken this training. The registration deadline is April 21.


Trusted Advisors Webinar 
The Trusted Advisors Grant Application is in the final stages of approval and will be available soon!  Once it has been released, we will email the application, the link to a recorded webinar that will walk you through the application and supporting documents to all Parent Liaisons and GSC Directors.  If you have specific questions about the application, please contact Desiree Hughes at MDE-OGS at .

Seeking Feedback on MICC (Early On) Fiscal Report and Recommendations
The Michigan Department of Education, Office of Great Start/Early Childhood Development and Family Education/Early On®, is requesting partners and stakeholders to provide feedback on the Michigan Interagency Coordinating Council (MICC) Fiscal Ad Hoc Report and Recommendations, adopted at the November 2016 MICC meeting. The MICC is charged with advising and assisting the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) in the development and implementation of the statewide system of early intervention services, Early On Michigan, under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Prior to action on the recommendations, MDE wishes to ensure:

  • broad awareness and understanding of the report;
  • opportunity for partner and stakeholder feedback on the recommendations; and,
  • opportunity for partner and stakeholder engagement in any action related to the recommendations.

To that end, MDE is sharing the Fiscal Ad Hoc Report and Recommendations and welcomes comments through March 15, 2017. Comments may be submitted via SurveyMonkey and also through the MICC website.


What’s Happening in the Network
Periodically, we feature local Great Start Collaboratives and Parent Coalitions in the bulletin under the heading “What’s Happening in the Network”. Did you know that the summaries from these features are saved on the Great Start Network? Just go to the Collaboratives and Coalitions tab, click on “Documents” on the left hand side, and find the What’s Happening in the Network folder. If your GSC or GSPC have a success to share with your peers, please contact Alissa Parks.


Home Visiting Online Webinars and Trainings
Achieve OnDemand now offers live, online webinars and self-paced trainings designed specifically for home visitors and supervisors. Visit ourwebsite to see what is available. Or, email with any questions.


New Family Leadership Toolkit
Ripples of Transformation: Families Leading Change in Early Childhood Systems is a toolkit that is organized around the concept of family engagement as a continuing stream of opportunities for families. Like steps along a journey to leadership, the family engagement toolkit is divided into three main sections:

  • Engaging with their children: Families enhance their role as the child’s “first teacher” through learning about their child’s development, building a network and getting support for basic needs and parenting challenges
  • Shaping programs and services: Families partner with organizations to inform decisions, participate in planning and delivery of services and develop their leadership
  • Influencing policies and systems: Families use their voices and experiences to advocate for improved, family-centered, equity-driven programs, systems and policies

Each section provides the reader with examples of the leadership journey from parents and caregivers, strategies representing innovations and best practices, resources to prepare your program to effectively engage families and stories from families and organizations in diverse communities.

Download the toolkit Ripples of Transformation here.


MiAEYC Early Childhood Conference
Many early childhood professionals from around the state will be sharing their knowledge at this year’s MiAEYC Early Childhood Conference, April 20-22 in Grand Rapids. Click here to see the Preliminary Program.

Fatherhood and Preschool Children
Engaging fathers of preschool children in parenting-interventions can have improved outcomes for both parents and children according to a randomized control trial published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.

New Early Learning Resources

  • Business-Roundtable published a new resource, “Why Reading Matters and What to Do About It: A CEO Action Plan to Support Improved U.S. Literacy Rates” that offers both a state policy blueprint for ensuring reading proficiency and nine ways for CEOs to promote reading.
  • USA Today published an op-ed from political opposites, George Miller and Rick Santorum, on the importance of coming together over early childhood education.

Math All Around Me
The word “math” often conjures visions of calculators, multiplication sheets, counting on fingers, and measuring angles.  For many, math is a necessary thing to be endured, not enjoyed. So it is not uncommon for looks of bewilderment to arise when infant/toddler caregivers are asked to include math elements in their daily programming.

Thankfully, the Math All Around Me (MAAM) initiative launched in 2014 by the Erikson Early Math Collaborative and the Ounce of Prevention Fund. MAAM’s primary objective is to better understand the “precursor concepts” of math, which will lead to stronger mathematical thinking later in life, in children younger than three. With the launch of its second phase, MAAM is now focusing on supporting how caregivers think about math and its relation to infants and toddlers. Following phase two, MAAM plans on developing materials that can be shared with providers.

To learn more about MAAM and the research that that is being conducted around math with infants and toddlers, please click here.

When Parents of School Children Go to Prison
More and more school districts are looking for ways to keep children of incarcerated parents from falling behind in class or winding up in the discipline pipeline. This includes training staff about their specific challenges and developing a more welcoming school culture.

Some schools are facilitating mentoring and after-school programs, often in partnership with social service agencies and community organizations. In some states, teachers even conduct conferences over the phone with parents in correctional facilities. Read more here.

Uses and Misuses of Kindergarten Readiness Assessment Results
As early learning programs expand, states and schools are increasingly using kindergarten readiness assessments (KRAs) to measure the developmental progress of children as they enter kindergarten. These assessments can provide valuable information to educators and policy makers, but the results of these assessments have sometimes been used inappropriately. Read more here.


Two New Briefs from a Parent’s Perspective
The National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds recently released two issue briefs developed through conversations with the Birth Parent National Network, which promotes and supports the voices of parents in reforming policies and practices that affect children and families. Keeping Families Together and Strong through Prevention and Early Intervention Strategies andUsing the Protective Factors to Understand Substance Abuse and Recovery both reflect insights and recommendations from parents who have been involved with the child welfare system or experienced challenges that put them at risk for system involvement.

Poverty Guidelines Updated
The US Department of Health and Human Services released updated guidelines for the poverty measure to account for changes in the Consumer Price Index.

Family Supportive Housing
The Administration for Children and Families and the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) published the “Early Childhood Self-Assessment Tool for Family Supportive Housing”, a new tool to complement the “Early Childhood Self-Assessment Tool for Family Shelters.”

Immigration Resources
The Center for Law and Social Policy shared resources from the US Department of Education and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to support young children in immigrant families.


New Publication: Building our Future: Supporting Community-Based Early Childhood Initiatives
Early experiences set the foundation for life-long health, yet the well-being of many U.S. children is poor. Child Trends, with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the George Kaiser Family Foundation, brought together practitioners, policymakers, business leaders, researchers, and philanthropists to figure out what makes for a successful community-based early childhood initiative aimed at improving that well-being.Here’s what they heard.


Building Early Emotional Skills Online Class
Michigan State University Extension is now enrolling for their next Building Early Emotional Skills (BEES) online class beginning on March 6, 2017. Your help is needed sharing this information with families across the state!

This unique eight-week course for parents of children ages 0-3 is offered entirely on-line in a self-paced format. Participants access weekly lessons on topics such as handling children’s stress and anger, teaching children about emotions, dealing with tantrums, biting and more. Participants can log in and access the class at a convenient time for them, there is not a set “class day and time” when they must

participate. A weekly chat forum provides group support and interaction. Participants must be able to access the internet via a computer or tablet on weekly basis. There is no cost for this program. Certificates indicating training hours are available upon request for foster parents and child care providers (who have children 0-3 in their custody at this time).

Here you will find the PDF file for your convenience in marketing this class and by right clicking on the image here you can save this as a picture. The JPG file is smaller for sharing online or via social media. The PDF file is suitable for printing. If you are marketing online, you are welcome to include the following link for registration –

BUILD Initiative: Health, Mental Health, and Nutrition Resources
The first five years of life are characterized by rapid physical and mental growth and development. They are critical in setting the path for a child’s future. And for that future to be bright, young children are dependent upon others to provide healthy environments.

The BUILD Initiative strives to help children reach the required benchmarks. From birth to age five, children require significant preventive and developmental health services. For healthy development, children need access to comprehensive, preventive primary health care. Children also require early identification and response to health-threatening conditions. Just as important are attention to social, emotional, behavioral, and physical development, and practices that fuel healthy development. To continue reading, click here.