While all of early childhood requires a mix of approaches that help children within the context of family and community, this is particularly true when working with infants and toddlers. On our staff we have people who have worked directly with infants, toddlers, and their families to provide care and services like Early On, home visitation, and high quality child care options.
Infant and Toddler Quality Improvement Consultation Project
The Investment Corporation is co-leading a project with the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Great Start to assess the provision of quality improvement consultation for early learning programs serving infants and toddlers and create a plan to address the findings of the assessment. The plan will include a review of both national and state best practices. Implementation of the findings from the assessment are expected to begin in 2014.
Quality Improvement Supports
The Early Childhood Investment Corporation through Great Start to Quality, Michigan’s quality rating and improvement system, and the statewide network of Great Start to Quality Resource Centers supports center-based and home-based programs and providers with professional development, resources and consultation. The supports are specifically designed to improve quality for programs and providers with infants and toddlers.
Training and Technical Assistance for Great Start to Quality Resource Centers
Ten Great Start to Quality Resource Centers are located in eleven regions throughout Michigan to help support providers and educators improve the quality of their programs and care. Available assistance includes: coaching and consultation for developing quality improvement plans, financial assistance for improving the child care or preschool setting, information about professional development and training opportunities, Lending library of books, CDs, puzzles, and other learning materials and Learning kits. The Investment Corporation provides an annual planned program of technical assistance to Resource Center Directors, Quality Improvement Consultants and Quality Improvement Specialist across Michigan. The planned program includes training, coaching, consultation, a weekly bulletin of information and resources, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. The Investment Corporation also hosts a technical assistance consultation phone line and email box to respond to day-to-day questions and provide immediate consultation on emerging issues.
Technical Assistance and Training for Great Start Collaboratives
Great Start Collaboratives are unique to Michigan and have been operating in Michigan since 2005. Each intermediate school district (ISD) or consortium of ISDs that receives funding must convene a local Great Start Collaborative and a Great Start Parent Coalition to ensure the coordination and expansion of local early childhood infrastructure and programs that allow every child in the community to achieve Michigan’s early childhood outcomes. The Investment Corporation provides an annual planned program of technical assistance to Great Start Collaborative Directors. The planned program includes training, coaching, consultation, a weekly bulletin of information and resources, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. The Investment Corporation also hosts a technical assistance consultation phone line and email box to respond to day-to-day questions and provide immediate consultation on emerging issues.
Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Initiative (MIECHV)
Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting supports pregnant women and families and helps parents of children from birth to age 5 tap the resources and develop the skills they need to raise children who are physically, socially and emotionally healthy and ready to learn.
In Michigan eleven at-risk communities were identified through needs assessments: Berrien, Calhoun, Genesee, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Oakland, St. Clair, Saginaw, and Wayne.
The Investment Corporation provides technical assistance, coaching and consultation to the eleven communities to develop and implement a plan that addresses the necessary provisions for parent participation and the incorporation of required partners for their Local Leadership Groups. The technical assistance for the Local Leadership Group includes the expansion of understanding the importance of authentic parent engagement, the development of policies and procedures that support parent engagement, and the convening of a learning community for the parent representatives serving on Local Leadership Groups.
The Investment Corporation also provides facilitation, coaching and consultation to the Local Leadership Groups related to the following projects: Continuous quality Improvement (CQI), developing a continuum of models and sustainability planning.
Great Start to Quality
The Early Childhood Investment Corporation implements Great Start to Quality. Great Start to Quality is Michigan’s quality rating and improvement system. It initially launched in the fall of 2011 and a new version (Version 2.0) launched in June 2013. Version 2.0 incorporated changes that recognized Michigan’s early learning and care program diversity relative to quality, areas of strength, and additional monitoring and accountability. Michigan’s state-of-the art, tiered quality rating and improvement system has been designed to increase the quality of early learning and care provided in all licensed and registered child care and preschool programs and includes unlicensed, subsidized providers within the quality improvement portion of the system. Great Start to Quality provides a reliable, valid, easy-to-understand measure of quality for licensed and registered early learning and care programs.
GreatStartToQuality.org is Michigan’s online searchable database for licensed child care and preschool. Families can search by selected criteria to find programs that best fit their needs. It also houses a professional development registry for center-based staff and home-based providers.
The Early Childhood Investment Corporation designed an online platform to support implementation of Great Start to Quality. The Great Start to Quality STARS platform is where licensed child care and preschool programs complete their self-assessment using the Great Start to Quality Program Standards criteria, utilize resources, and create quality improvement plans.
Assessment Specialists and Approved Raters are responsible for the administration of the Program Quality Assessment (PQA)® for Great Start to Quality. The Investment Corporation is facilitating biennial peer learning opportunities in 2014 for these individuals. The convenings are designed to increase shared understanding of the PQA, particularly the indicators form Tool Form A, and to ensure that Great Start to Quality program ratings are valid and reliable.