Great Start Communications Bulletin (May 31)


Technical Assistance and Training

Great Start Orientation – August 3

The final Great Start Orientation for FY16 will be held on August 3rd  in Lansing from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  The agenda includes an overview of the Great Start Initiative, Early Childhood System Building, Purpose of Collaboratives and Coalitions, review of Key Documents, Clarify Roles, and how to access tools and technical assistance. We encourage you to attend as a team if at all possible (Director and Parent Liaison). To participate, please register here.

If you have any questions about orientation or need support as you begin your new role, please contact the TA Helpline at We look forward to seeing you there! 

August Statewide Convening – Share your Great Ideas!

We are looking forward to seeing everyone on August 16th from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Lansing Community College West for our next statewide gathering. We are in the process of finalizing the agenda, but expect the morning will include the Office of Great Start sharing information about the Section 32p grant application and responding to questions. The afternoon will consist of 3-4 breakout sessions featuring several examples from Great Start Collaboratives and Great Start Parent Coalitions across the state. It promises to be a great day of learning!

As part of the lunch period, in response to many requests, we’d like to support peer learning by having several examples from GSCs and GSPCs at tables/booths. We have room for up to 30 GSCs/GSPCs to share one of their activities from FY16 that might be an idea that others would like to learn about and/or replicate. This is not intended to be labor intensive for those sharing, it will be more of a fun way to share ideas between GSC/GSPC peers. GSCs/GSPCs could bring items to hand out or show in person (e.g. visuals, etc.) that would fit on 3 feet of a rectangular table. During a light lunch, participants will be able to mingle to the different tables and engage in conversation about the strategy/activity. We are hoping to get a good mix of examples from both GSCs and GSPCs and will need at least 20 GSCs/GSPCs willing to share in order hold this lunch session. Please respond to this brief survey by June 30 if you would like to share! Also, if you have any questions about these booths or the overall event, please contact the Great Start Helpline. Registration for the August gathering will open on June 13. 

Parents Partnering for Change Training

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation in partnership with the Parent Leadership in State Government Initiative is pleased to offer the Parents Partnering for Change Leadership Training, offered specifically for Great Start Parent Liaisons.

This training supports the Investment Corporation’s efforts to increase the ability of Parent Liaisons to engage and support parents as they bring a customer perspective to the Great Start Collaboratives’ work, resulting in more impactful and informed decision making. Topics covered during this training include: increasing leadership skills, effective meeting strategies, how to successfully handle conflict, explore diversity and cultural assumptions, understanding and respecting the values of others, building rapport, and working with different communication styles.

This training is a two day commitment, July 13 -14, 2016, and will be held in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Day one begins at 1 p.m. and concludes at 8 p.m. and day two begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at4 p.m. You will be compensated for your time with an honorarium ($100 per day), child care (up to $50 per day) and mileage reimbursement, hotel accommodations (if you live outside of 60 miles from the training location) and all meals during the trainings. Because of the honorarium, Parent Liaisons cannot also be paid from their local GSC funds to attend this training (it must be one or the other).

Registration is now open to new Parent Liaisons and Great Start Collaborative Parent Members. Space is limited, so please register as soon as possible. Please contact Michele Chenier with any questions or concerns

Office of Great Start

Section 32p(4) Home Visitation Grants

A webinar on completing Steps 3 and 4 of the Exploration and Planning Tool was held on May 17, 2016. A link to the recorded webinar can be found here.

If you would like to have a technical assistance call with MPHI please click here to schedule one between May 31 and June 3, 2016.

On Friday May 27, 2016 communication regarding the Section 32p(4) Home Visitation Grants was sent to ISD Superintendents, GSC Directors and Section 32p Main contacts, noting that the application materials must be submitted by Thursday, June 16 no later than 3 p.m. Information on the application can be found at A webinar regarding the Section 32p(4) Home Visitation Grants will be held on Thursday June2, 2016 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Registration for this webinar is available here.

The purpose of this webinar is to go over the application instructions, demonstrate the method for submission, and to allow applicants to ask questions related to the application and submittal process. The Michigan Office of Great Start/Early Childhood Development and Family Education staff will be available to provide technical assistance as needed during and after the webinar. The webinar will be recorded and later posted to

Early Learning

The Path for Math: The Learning Trajectories Perspective

What are the mathematical and educational building blocks of early mathematics? What role should these building blocks play in a developmentally appropriate setting? Join two of the most preeminent early math experts in the country, Dr. Douglas Clements and Dr. Julie Sarama, on June 15 at 2 p.m. for a webinar where they will describe research-based learning trajectories as the core of all aspects of the educational enterprise. These learning trajectories include three components: the mathematical goals, developmental progressions of children’s learning, and educational activities and teaching strategies (based on finding the mathematics in, and developing mathematics from, children’s everyday activity).

Children Know More than We Think 

A recent study shows that children as young as 20 months old are capable of metacognition, but, why does metacognition matter? When children understand that they don’t know everything, and when they know where to look for answers to their questions, they can start to acquire knowledge faster, without repeating the same mistakes over and over again. It means that even when engaging with a baby through play, he or she is learning about learning (Gorman 2016). Read more about it in the related Time article or read the full study.

Inclusion for Young Children with Special Needs in Child Care

The Ounce of Prevention Fund, the Inclusion SIG and the Policy and Advocacy arm of DEC is offering the first of several webinars on inclusion in high quality early childhood programs and services on June 1, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. This webinar will address the opportunities that the new CCDF Reauthorization provides to improve inclusion of children with special needs in child care, and practical tools and resources to increase collaboration among Part C and Part 619 coordinators and child care administrators to develop and implement these policies and practices.

Seize the Summer Campaign

While school will soon be out, it is not the time for learning to stop! For school age children, summer can easily turn into a dangerous slide that erodes knowledge built over the school year or summer can be a time to make gains in knowledge, stimulate imaginations and build enthusiasm for learning by reading and reading aloud.

This year’s Seize the Summer campaign materials are now available in English and Spanish in their Partner Toolkit which includes two new posters, a parent handout and a bookmark that you can use to help remind parents to read aloud every day and to take advantage of the summer programs offered at their local public library.

Read Aloud is also a partner with the Collaborative Summer Learning Program (CSLP) in promoting summer learning programs at libraries across the nation.  Feel free to share the parent handout developed with CSLP with the parents in your community before the end of the school year.  Libraries offer great summer programs for all ages!

Free Bilingual Digital Storybooks Available

On April 1, five free Sesame digital storybooks became available at and are also being promoted on The storybooks are bilingual, contain three different reading levels to choose from, and provide children with over 30 new vocabulary words. To support this new initiative, as part of Grow Up Great, PNC Bank branches have been supplied with “Reading Adventures” Passports that families can take home to access the storybooks. Children can check-off each story they read using the stickers included in the passports. Be sure to share this exciting news with your networks.

Parent Education

Building Partnerships: A Guide to Developing Relationships with Families
The National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement has created several new tools that support early childhood professionals in understanding how positive goal-oriented relationships with families impact effective parent, family, and community engagement and school readiness. This resource includes definitions, tools, and guides for reflective practice and supervision.

Family Engagement in Transitions: Transition to Kindergarten
The National Center on Parent, Family, and Community En­gagement has created a Research to Practice Series on the Family Engagement Outcomes of the Office of Head Start (OHS) Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework. This resource addresses the “Family Engagement in Transitions” Outcome: “Parents and families support and advocate for their child’s learning and development as they transition to new learning environ­ments,” and focuses on the transition to kindergarten. Aligned with Head Start Performance Standards, this re­source presents a selected summary of research, promising practices, and program strategies intended to be useful for the Head Start (HS) and Early Head Start (EHS) community.

Family Support and Basic Needs

Supporting Children with Autism in the Transition from School to Summer

The school year is wrapping up, the sun is shining and everyone is ready for summer! However, many individuals with autism do best with a routine and struggle with change. As a result, the transition from school and a routine of school-based programs and services to a new summer schedule can be difficult. To support families in having positive transitions, Autism Speaks has created a list of quick tips to consider:

  • Prepare your child. As school and programs come to an end, make sure your child is prepared in advance. Be very clear about what changes will be happening in the weeks and days leading up to the start of summer. Use visual aids and pictures to help with the preparation.
  • Start a countdown. Highlight the first day of summer break on your family calendar and make it a point to show the calendar to your child each day. Use a fun activity to figure out how many days are left until summer kicks off!
  • Focus on the fun! Continue to let your child know that you are excited for summer and describe the activities you know he or she will enjoy. This will give your child something to look forward to and be excited about.
  • Keep the summer schedule as fixed as possible. For many families, a big perk of summer is the more relaxed and flexible schedule. For a child with autism, however, it may be best to keep the summer routine more structured like it is during the school months.
  • As always, make sure safety is a priority! The warm weather can often lead to higher incidents of wandering. Find Autism Speaks’ wandering resources here.
  • Consider a summer program! Summer programs and activities are a great way for a child to enjoy the summer months and establish a routine. You can search for programs in your local area using the Autism Speaks Resource Guide.
  • Contact the Autism Response Team (ART). For assistance locating additional information, tools, or resources contact ART by calling 1-888 AUTISM2 (288-4762), en Español: 1-888-772-9050, or

Social and Emotional Health

In Praise of Praising Less

While both praise and encouragement appear to be positive methods of interacting with a child, there is a big difference between how praise impacts a child versus the use of encouragement. Praise conveys to a child what the adult thinks or feels, it is not reflective or objective observations only the opinion of the person giving the praise. Praise often begins with “I” statements; “I like your hair”, “I think your picture is pretty” or broad judgments like “good job”.  In contrast, encouragement does not include the adult’s opinion or judgement, encouragement is reflective and directs a child’s attention to their own abilities and endeavors.

The article, In Praise of Praising Less, offers some helpful alternatives and strategies for care givers and parents who would like to offer encouragement instead of praise. Encouragement focuses on the child’s effort and emotion so instead of saying “I like your painting” offer a specific and objective reflection of what they are doing, “You used four different colors in your picture”.  Using open ended statements and questions like “Tell me more about…” can help focus on the details of a child’s work and encourages them to talk about what they are doing, this dialogue allows the child to reflect on their work and aware of their own abilities and efforts. These strategies can help teachers and caregivers move away from the use of praise and into the practice of using encouragement to guide children.

News from the Network

What’s Happening in the Network: Focus on Midland County

Last week, GSC Director, Micki Gibbs, was featured in a webinar, where she provided an overview of Midland County’s very successful preschool scholarship project. If you were unable to participate in the webinar, the recording is available here. All of the supporting materials from this webinar are also posted on Great Start Network in the “Resources” link. Thank you for sharing your great work, Micki!!

If you have projects and strategies that you would like to share, please contact Alissa Parks at – we would love to share your great work.

Strengthening Families

“Making the Most of Everyday Moments” to Build Protective Factors

The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) will be holding their monthly Strengthening Families networking webinar onThursday, June 9, from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. This month they will be featuring parent leaders that serve on the Alliance National Parent Partnership Council (ANPPC) who will be sharing information about their work to gather concrete examples of ways that parents are building protective factors with their families by making the most of everyday moments. In addition, CSSP and the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds will be providing a brief update about other ongoing work and opportunities.

Quick Links
Great Start Network Staff Information Change Notice

Great Start Network

Kids Count
Kids Count 2015 Data Book

Release Materials Updated 1/10/14

Tool Kits & Resources
CHAP Toolkit

Hiring Toolkit

Great Start Data Set

Right Start in Michigan

Publications and Resources
Quality in Family, Friend, and Neighbor Child Care Settings

Review of Quality in Home-Based Child Care