Great Start Communications Bulletin (5.8.2017)


August Statewide Gathering 
On August 8 in Mt Pleasant, there will be an all-day statewide gathering for Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition staff. It will be held at Courtyard Mt. Pleasant at Central Michigan University.  Rooms can be booked here at the discounted rate of $105. This rate is good until July 13.

As in previous years, this meeting will provide opportunity to learn and connect with peers as well as dialogue with staff from the Office of Great Start and the Early Childhood Investment Corporation about the fiscal year 2018 32p application and training and technical assistance. At this point in planning, we anticipate offering two rounds of workshops in the morning, with statewide information being discussed in the afternoon.

The Office of Great Start is requiring all Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition staff to attend this meeting and Early Childhood contacts are also welcome. Registration for the convening is now open. Please register by July 14th through this link.

We are seeking proposals for workshops for the morning peer-to-peer workshop sessions. There are many great things happening across the state and we hope to feature as many as possible within the six, 1.5 hour, workshop slots. We strongly encourage your team to submit a proposal for one of these slots and collaborative proposals across GSCs/GSPCs are welcomed! Once proposals are received, we may also link GSCs/GSPCs together based on common topic areas. Workshop proposals are due no later than May 19. Please find the proposal form and suggested topics here and contact us through the Great Start Helpline with questions!

Orientation Training
Our next in-person Orientation training will be held on Wednesday, July 19 in Lansing and registration is open. Networking and sign in will begin at 8:30 a.m., the training will start promptly at 9 a.m. and conclude at 3:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided.

Great Start Orientation sessions are available for new Collaborative Directors and Parent Liaisons, and offer a comprehensive overview of the Great Start Initiative, system building, the purpose of the Great Start Collaboratives and Coalitions, an introduction to important documents and requirements, key roles, objectives and partnerships, resources available through training and technical assistance, and time to interact with other Great Start staff and Consultants and meet Rachel Mellema from the Office of Great Start. 100% of past participants say they would recommend this training to others and that they were glad that they attended as a team. This will be the final offering of Orientation this fiscal year.

Parents Partnering for Change Training
Registration is now closed and Michele Chenier will be communicating with everyone who registered, confirming eligibility, and if necessary, starting a wait list. You can expect these confirmation emails right away, please contact her with any questions.


Discussion Boards
If you haven’t looked lately, please check out the discussion boards on the bottom right of the Collaborative/Coalition page on the Great Start Network site. Several of your colleagues have posted questions and are looking for examples and resources. You can also set up alerts to be notified when new items are posted. Contact the Great Start Helpline if you need support for setting up alerts!

Local GSC Page
Has your phone number or office extension changed, or do you need to update any of your contact information?  Please inform ECIC of these changes. Several of you have sent in new pictures, thank you, these are placed next to your name on your local page, so keep these coming! Keeping your information current helps ECIC and your peers to connect with you.

Kindergarten Readiness Materials
Thank you to the eight Collaboratives that shared their Kindergarten Readiness materials. Check these out under “Documents” on the left-hand side of the Collaborative/Coalition page and click on the folder called “Kindergarten Readiness Materials – GSC/GSPC Examples.” There is a lot of GREAT work happening in the Network. If you’d like to share your successes with others, please contact Alissa Parks.


Reducing Pre-Term Births
Nearly one in ten babies in the U.S. is born prematurely-and at great risk: over a third of infant deaths are related to prematurity. The key to reducing the risk is early intervention during pregnancy. That’s why Anthem Foundation and the March of Dimes teamed up to scale up a variety of proven interventions, from group prenatal care and smoking cessation programs, to outreach aimed at reducing early elective deliveries. This new report details the collaboration and results from the various programs, including preterm birth rates two points below the national rate.

How Prison Disproportionately Hurts the Health of Minority Children
Research shows that the incarceration of a parent can lead to negative health outcomes for children. However, these negative outcomes are particularly disparate in the United States which has a higher rate of incarceration than any other country. According to researchers, “[t]he emerging literature on the family and community effects of mass incarceration points to negative health impacts on the female partners and children of incarcerated men, and raises concerns that excessive incarceration could harm entire communities and thus might partly underlie health disparities both in the U.S.A. and between the U.S.A. and other developed countries.” Read more here.


Early Childhood Trauma: Strategies for Early Care and Education Programs
Nearly 35 million children in the United States have been exposed to some kind of trauma, such as an accidental injury, neglect, or abuse. Young children are at especially high risk of exposure compared with older children. Since early trauma can be hard to identify and address, the adults who care for young kids must be supported and trained in recognizing warning signs and responding appropriately. A new report from Child Trends and the National Center for Children in Poverty explores the effects of trauma on young children and presents strategies for professionals who work with these children. The report also offers recommendations for policymakers who want to promote trauma-informed care for this vulnerable group.

Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools and Child Care
The Environmental Protection Agency is doing a webinar series on a case study they’ve done related to lead in drinking water for child care facilities and schools. The dates for the webinars are 2-3 p.m. on June 21,September 20 and December 13, 2017. The details related to the webinar series and how to register can be found in this flyer.

Pre-Kindergarten Effects
Brookings published a report, Puzzling it out: The current state of scientific knowledge on pre-kindergarten effects-A consensus statement, which looks across research and practice to determine what we know about preschool programs and their effects. A task force of researchers lay out six consensus statements including “Children’s early learning trajectories depend on the quality of their learning experiences not only before and during their pre-k year, but also following the pre-k year.”


Can Love Close the Achievement Gap? Boston Basics Evidence Based Parenting Principles for Children Under the Age of 3
Seat-belt use in the United States rose from 14 percent in 1985 to 84 percent in 2011 thanks, in large part, to a massive ad campaign promoting the practice. Even now, with “buckle up” warnings far less prominent, seat-belt use continues to rise. Ronald Ferguson wants to see a similar trend with the use of five evidence-based parenting principles dubbed the Boston Basics: maximize love, manage stress; talk, sing, and point; count, group, and compare; explore through movement and play; and read and discuss stories. Ferguson is the director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University and the lead creator of the Basics, which experts agree are most important for children from the time they are born to when they turn 3. Read more in this article from The Atlantic.


Social-Emotional Skills in Early Childhood Support Workforce Success
Ready Nation released a report on the importance of social emotional skills in early childhood for long-term career success. Read the report here.


Five Ways the Arts are Good for Kids
Young children love to draw, paint, sing, and dance, and these activities play an important role in their early development. The benefits of arts participation persist into adolescence and beyond. Child Trends has released information on five reasons (include hyperlink to website) why the arts are important for children as well as a video.

Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?
How should parents decide whether they should enroll their child in kindergarten when he is first eligible or hold him back for a year? In this article, the authors draw upon their combined experience-Schanzenbach as an education researcher and Larson as a preschool director-to provide some practical, evidence-based advice. Notably, we find that Larson’s take on the issue, formed by 14 years of experience with preschoolers and their parents, accords perfectly with Schanzenbach’s conclusions based on academic studies: redshirting is generally not worth it.