This article is brought to you by Kent ISD Great Start to Quality.

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Great Start to Quality can Help you Find Child Care and Preschools!

Kids grow amazingly fast in their first five years.

The foundation of the brain is built by age five. “A newborn’s brain is only about one-quarter the size of an adult’s. It grows to about 80 percent of adult size by three years of age and 90 percent by age five,” according to

Know what also happens at this tender age for kids? Nearly a quarter of them will receive childcare from someone other than their parent  (

Children’s earliest experiences in child care and at home literally affect brain development and predict future successes. So it’s really, really important that these little people get the best care possible from child care providers makes it easy for parents to find quality child care and preschool, helping them get the best for their child and the most for their money.


Searching for Childcare and Preschools is Easy with Great Start

The easy-to-use website, Great Start to Quality, gives parents many ways to search for child care across Michigan. For example, you can search by zip code or special need.

Great Start helps families find and compare early childhood programs and providers by displaying ratings for child care and preschool providers based on state quality standards for care, safety, professionalism and early learning. Download the list of questions to ask from the Toolbox for parents.

Once parents create their list of child care providers, they should schedule a visit.

The most important thing to look for on your visit is the relationship between children and the caregivers/teachers!

Tips for Finding the Right Child Care for Your Family

Children need to feel safe, protected, and cherished. Here’s a list of what you see in a quality program:

  • Warm responsive caregivers- using soothing tone of voice, gets down on children’s level, supports children’s interests
  • Plenty of outdoor playtime incorporated in daily schedule
  • Healthy foods available – If food is not served, are parents encouraged to bring healthy foods from home?
  • Availability of natural materials such as leaves and shells to explore both indoors and out
  • Adequate supervision of children by caregivers and visibility from all areas inside and on playground/outdoors, even while they sleep
  • Flexible yet consistent and predictable daily schedule
  • Multiple methods of parent communication and encouragement/welcomed parent involvement (ex: formal and informal communication- daily sheets, parent teacher conferences, but also openness for parents to visit anytime, and volunteer)
  • No use of screens or technology by the children or caregivers during care hours
  • Children’s emotional and physical needs are met and seem overall content and happy. Many types of toys and books to capture the child’s imagination and expand their skills.
  • At or below state required ratios:
    1. for children under age 2-1/2 years old 4 children to 1 adult provider,
    2. for 2-1/2 to 3 year olds, it’s 8 to 1, then
    3. 3 year olds have a 10 to 1 ratio and
    4. 4 year olds is 12 to 1.


Call us if you have questions, 1-877-615-7328, your local Great Start to Quality Resource Center will answer.


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By | 2017-05-12T14:42:02+00:00 May 26th, 2016|Categories: General, Parenting Resources|2 Comments

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  1. Annika Larson May 4, 2017 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    Right now my husband and I are looking to place our twin daughters in a preschool where they will be able to thrive. We want to ensure that they will receive adequate attention and education. As you mentioned, it’s good to look for an environment that doesn’t use screen or technology. We’ll be sure to look for that.

  2. Jalu Sakti October 27, 2016 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    I like how you suggested to make sure you find a preschool that has enough outdoor play time. It seems like that would be such a small factor, but it really is such an important thing for kids to have! Kids need to be outside exploring at that age — they learn more by experiencing things for themselves, anyway. My son is turning 4 this year, so we are looking to get him into a good preschool in our area. I will definitely check for outdoor play time in my search!

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