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Munson Healthcare Pre-school Selected for Research Program

01.13.2021

Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (TBAISD) is one of four ISDs in the state to be awarded funding to participate in a pilot program that will research the efficacy and scalability of publicly funded preschool for three-year-old children.

A Munson Healthcare Early Childhood program will part of the project.

The pilot program, Strong Beginnings, is a two-year research and development initiative starting mid-January, and will provide funding to support 10 new preschool classrooms throughout state, with additional sites to be added in September 2021. Targeted to reach at-risk families of 3-year-old children, the program will engage children in a high quality preschool experience and provide dedicated family liaisons who will work to establish direct connections to community resources aimed at improving family health, stabilizing housing, strengthening parenting skills, and improving parents’ education, employment, and financial stability.

Evidence reveals that children who are provided with a high-quality preschool experience show significant positive developmental differences when compared to children from the same backgrounds who did not attend a high-quality preschool program. 

“We are thrilled about the benefits this pilot program will bring to our northern communities,” said TBAISD Early Childhood Supervisor Dr. Yvonne Donohoe. “This model is specifically designed to meet the developmental needs of three-year-olds and includes a unique supportive component for parents that is designed to strengthen the family experience to ensure children receive the appropriate support at home and through early learning before they enter kindergarten.” 

Selected through a competitive bid process, Traverse Bay Area ISD, Berrien Regional Education Service Agency (RESA), Lewis Cass ISD, and Wayne RESA were each allocated funding for the project. TBAISD will support project development in three local classrooms hosted by Benzie County Central Schools, Mancelona Public Schools, and a Munson Healthcare preschool program located at Northwestern Michigan College. 

Families are encouraged to contact site coordinators for more information about Strong Beginnings preschool programs: Kristin Witt, Mancelona Public Schools Early Childhood Program Director, 231-587-9021; Kathie Kogge, Munson Healthcare Early Childhood Coordinator, 231-342-7861; Amber Wilson, Benzie Central Early Childhood Coordinator, 231-207-1000.

The grant, administered by Clinton County Regional Education Service Agency(CCRESA) is funded by the Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and is under the direction of the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Great Start.