The Early Childhood Investment Corporation has pioneered the development of innovative, community-wide systems to improve the quality of early childhood support and care. Most noteworthy is our contribution to the creation of an ongoing technical assistance support for the state-wide network of Great Start Collaboratives and Parent Coalitions. Members of our team know how to help local stakeholders develop the clarity of vision, mission and strategy that is essential to creating effective and efficient early care and education systems.
Developing and Advancing Innovative Early Childhood Policies and Programs
The BUILD Initiative works with early childhood leaders within states and nationally to better prepare young children to thrive and succeed. Michigan has been a member of the BUILD learning community since 2006. The Investment Corporation is a state lead organization for BUILD with the Michigan Department of Education – Office of Great Start.
The Alliance for Early Success works with states across the country to advance state policies in health, family support and learning. Alliance support includes: funding, technical assistance from national experts, and convenings to promote partnerships and the exchange of good ideas. The Center for Michigan, Michigan’s Children and the Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC) are partners in an Alliance grant to Michigan.
ZERO TO THREE is a national, nonprofit organization that provides parents, professionals and policymakers the knowledge and know-how to nurture early development. Through an RFP process five states were selected in December 2013 to receive technical assistance throughout 2014 focused on how to develop and move an infant-toddler policy agenda. The Investment Corporation is a member of Michigan’s policy action team.
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.
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.
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.
Support for Unlicensed, Subsidized Child Care Providers
Within Great Start to Quality there are three tiers of quality for unlicensed, subsidized providers in Michigan. The Investment Corporation is in the beginning phases of a project that will test the feasibility of cohort learning groups as an approach for unlicensed, subsidized providers to improve their quality tier. Additionally, unlicensed providers who are potentially eligible to receive a child care subsidy are required to complete a seven hour orientation training prior to receiving a subsidy payment. The Investment Corporation is working with Early Childhood Associates to review, evaluate and update the training curriculum to align with federal Child Care Development Fund proposed rule changes.
Great Start - Early Learning Advisory Council
Former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm designated the Early Childhood Investment Corporation as the home for the State’s Early Childhood Advisory Council in 2009. The Great Start- Early Learning Advisory Council (GS-ELAC) has implemented an array of projects to support building an early childhood system in Michigan. Projects include:
- Development of Great Start to Quality STARS platform (see systems development past projects)
- Development of www.GreatStartToQuality.org (see systems development past projects)
- Early Childhood Partnerships Learning Community (see systems development past projects)
- Established Local Early Childhood Funds (see preschool past projects)
- Child Care Coordinated Grants (see preschool past projects)
- Commissioned white paper – Aiming for Success: Improving Outcomes and School Readiness for Young Children with Disabilities (see preschool research and reports)
- Commissioned white paper - Local Great Start Early Childhood Fund (see preschool research and reports)
- Updated Michigan’s Early Childhood Standards of Quality for Prekindergarten (see preschool research and reports)
- Updated Michigan’s Early Childhood Standards of Quality for Infant and Toddler Programs (see birth to three research and reports)
- Developed Kindergarten through Third Grade Standards (see early elementary research and reports)
- Revised and updated Michigan’s Core Knowledge and Core Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals (see systems development research and reports)
- Mapped Michigan’s Early Childhood Data Systems (see systems development research and reports)