October 2018


Important updates

Great Start Collaborative Quarterly Meeting December 6th

Mark your calendars now for these important action-oriented meetings. We will have light food and networking before each meeting from 12:30 - 1:00 p.m. Lunch RSVPs are needed by November 29th. See you December 6th, when we will hear from various community members about supporting families and early childhood staff through the difficult Michigan winter.

2018.2019 quarterly meeting dates

Let's Get to Work!

Great Start Parent Coalition

At this month’s Parent Coalition meeting we enjoyed a rich discussion on what would make early childhood great for all children in Kalamazoo County. Parents shared their desire for marital/relationship support, frustration finding accessible childcare, the need for social-emotional support, economic stability, nutrition education, and more.

The Parent Coalition also reviewed newly established projects for 2018-2019: developing a messaging toolkit for local churches, collaborating with area fathers on the Father Friendly Checklist and deepening our engagement with families experiencing homelessness.

Next month’s meeting we will discuss creating our own work project based on October’s discussion and review progress being made by our Strategic Teams. Please join us on November 15 at 12:00 noon or 5:30 pm at KRESA West Campus. Please RSVP by Monday, Nov. 12th. Childcare and light meal provided. All caregivers of little ones are welcome!

Zero to Three National Conference

Jen Sova and Sarah Drumm were fortunate enough to attend the annual Zero to Three Conference in beautiful Denver earlier this month. Here are some highlights they are excited to bring to our Kalamazoo County community:

Engaging Fathers Fathers gave feedback that they prefer direct and honest communication with providers and educators. They spoke of maternal gate-keeping and gave tangible ideas on how to successfully engage dads.

Racial Equity in Childcare Environments We need to build staff capacity around behavior challenges and raise awareness of bias that presents itself in discipline, resulting in exclusionary discipline practices. Additionally, we need to build more diversity within our workforce, especially in leadership. We heard from John King who discussed the responsibility we have as educators to ensure all children have access to "joy and wonder" and to advocate on behalf of children.


Community Events and Announcements

Kalamazoo Public Library

Please join us on November 7th for the Great Grown-up Spelling Bee. This is our community's fundraiser to support our Ready to Read efforts across the county. It is a fun evening of serious spelling and silly skits!

Early Childhood in the News

Myths about Childhood Trauma

We are always learning new things about childhood trauma and how to best support children and families. Check out this short article dispelling commonly held myths about childhood trauma.

Positive Parenting Infographic

Check out this wonderful new resource from Zero to Three.


Sarah Drumm, Program Coordinator, 269-250-9635

Marta Lehman, Parent Liaison, 269-250-9665

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