We have members of our team with many years of experience creating, implementing, and researching and evaluating preschool programs. This includes both privately funded as well as state and federal programs like Michigan’s Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP), Head Start, and Early Head Start. Additionally, our expertise covers the creation and validation of preschool curriculum content, teacher professional development, and assessment tools to measure both child outcomes and program quality.
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.
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 preschool age children.
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.
Training and Technical Assistance 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.