November 2020

SMALL Feelings Poster image

COVID-19 Updates

Unfortunately, our Kalamazoo County COVID-19 rates are on the rise. In addition to talking to our little ones about good hygiene and infection control, it is VERY important that we talk with them about the increased levels of stress everyone is under. Check out these tips from Talking Is Teaching for helping small children navigate and understand these challenging times.


2020/2021 Quarterly Meetings

Join us December 3rd at 1pm

Our December GSC Quarterly Meeting will be held via Zoom. We are delighted to have Kristie Norwood from the Reimagining Our Work Initiative joining us to discuss equity in early childhood work. An email will be sent to the address you provide when you RSVP. Save our March and June 2021 dates now.


Talking is Teaching Events and Updates

This November, Kalamazoo County Talking is Teaching is excited to present the theme: Let's Talk About Our Feelings. Parents, caregivers and little ones are invited to participate in our monthly virtual playgroup or parent skill-building session, and receive our monthly themed bundle of materials! Check out the flyer attached for dates and registration information, and peruse the calendar of upcoming themes. We hope you can join us!


Would you like your staff or team to be trained in Talking Is Teaching messaging? Contact Jen Stroven at or call 269.250.9701. Together we can help change the trajectory of early literacy development in Kalamazoo County!


Parent Café Sign-Ups

The Café is designed to be a space for parents and caregivers to discuss the challenges and victories of raising children.
The meetings will take place on Zoom and last one hour.
All participants will have a chance to win a $50 gift card!
We strive to create a safe and supportive space, so schedule some time for yourself to relax and connect with other parents and caregivers in our community!

Thursday, November 17th, 7.30 Parent Café
Thursday, November 19th, 1:30 Parent Café
Tuesday, December 1st, 7:30 Parent Café

November-December Coalition

Parent Coalition Sign-Ups

Parent Coalition Meetings are opportunities for parents and caregivers to take action on ways we can help support families in our community. Coalition meetings include opportunities for connecting with other parents & caregivers and action steps for using our influence to help shape early childhood initiatives.
The meetings will take place on Zoom and last one hour.
All participants will have a chance to win a $50 Gift Card!
If you are a parent or caregiver, we would love for you to join us!
Your voice matters.

Thursday, December 10th, 1:30 Parent Coalition
Tuesday, December 15th, 7:30 Parent Coalition


Community Resources

Quality Care For Michigan’s Kids

Child Care Relief Fund Grants
The Child Care Relief Fund helps child care providers cover costs during the COVID-19 state of emergency. The goal of the program is to help providers stay in business and make child care more affordable for Michigan Families. This round of grants will be awarded on a first come first serve basis and do not need to be repaid.
Round 6 grants: Operational funding for providers – All open providers are eligible for at least $9,000 in operational funds.
Tuition credits for families – The credits have been redesigned to be easier to administer. Apply by visiting
Payments coming for school-age children
MDE has officially released guidance that allows child care providers to bill for school age children during the school day. Thank you to all the partners who reviewed this guidance and helped make it more responsive to families’ and providers’ needs.


KPL has many fun activities planned for the community.

Click here to find out more details.


Great Start Collaborative Vision

A Great Start for every child in Kalamazoo County: safe, healthy and successful in school and life.

Great Start Collaborative Mission

The purpose of the Great Start Collaborative is to ensure a coordinated system of community resources and family supports in Kalamazoo County.


Sarah Drumm, Program Coordinator, 269-250-9635

Deirdre Bartells, Program Assistant, 269-250-9664

Ashley Drenth, Parent Liaison, 269-250-9665

Jen Stroven, Talking is Teaching Campaign Manager, 269-250-9701

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