New Resource – Emergency Preparedness and Response Resources

The Administration for Children and Families released a rich set of resources containing activities to help families, early childhood programs, and policy makers prepare for disasters. Included are developmentally appropriate books and games to help children cope after disasters, and state templates and guides for policy makers to use in developing, enhancing or improving their state plans.

Summer Reading Programs at Your Local Library

The kids are home from school and everyone is enjoying summer but are you reading?  Great programs have been planned at your local library to keep kids engaged and teach a love of reading and literature!  Contact your local library today!

Carson City Public Library Carson City

(989) 584-3680

Crystal Community Library Crystal

(989) 235-6111

Flat River Community Library Greenville

(616) 754-6359

Home Township Library Edmore

(989) 427-5241

Sand Lake / Nelson Twp. Branch Sand Lake

(877) 243-2466

Spencer Twp. Branch Gowen

(877) 243-2466

Tamarack District Library Lakeview

(989) 352-6274

Timothy C. Hauenstein Reynolds Township Library Howard City

(231) 937-5575

White Pine Library Stanton

(989) 831-4327

Great Start of Montcalm County and Head Start 0-5 hosted the Third Annual Early Childhood Celebration

At Anderson and Girls Orchard in Stanton on August 9th.  Despite the rain we had 16 vendors, agencies and legislators to provide information and giveaways to our families.  Over 75 people attended for ice cream, petting zoo, wagon rides and more.  We had Judy Emmons, Rick Outman, Mike Huckleberry and a representative from Dave Camps office attend to talk with families about what is important to them. Everyone had a great time and look forward to next year’s Early Childhood Celebration!

All of our agencies strive to provide a great start for every child! For more information go to our websites at or

Fifth Third Ball Park Whitecaps Tour

We combined with the Ionia Group to take a tour of the Whitecaps Stadium.  Gratiot and Isabella counties also attended making for a fun day!  Each of the kids was given fun baseball activity sheets, run the bases and got to ask a lot of questions!

Parent Coalition Meeting April 16, 2012

This month we partnered with EightCAP for a Family Fun Night at our meeting in Sheridan!  Thirty-eight people attended and everyone had a great time!  We started with dinner, basic information about the parent coalition and promoted our Star Power efforts.  After that Cindy Hill described the activities that she and her co-workers organized for our families:

  • They planted seeds and then take them home and watch them grow
  • With using paint and the bottom of the pop bottle, kids came up with some cool art work
  • They had the chance to make pinwheels, to show their support for child abuse awareness month
  • They got to find some pretty cool insects in some shredded paper
  • They blew bubbles as well

If you would like more information about the Great Start Parent Coalition contact Brandy Minikey: (616) 225-6146 or or visit and like us on facebook

Our next meeting will be held on May 14th from 5:30-7:30pm at Lakeview Community Church (8980 Howard City Edmore Road, Lakeview, MI) with special speaker Jacob Rytlewski and the topic of USE-REDUCE-RECYCLE.  Free dinner and childcare will be provided.  RSVP to Brandy Minikey: (616) 225-6146 or

March 10, 2012

IMG_4707_smallPositive Behavior Support Training, hosted by the Great Start Collaborative.

The Great Start Collaborative is a partnership of community leaders, business owners, charitable and faith-based organizations, health and human service agencies, educators and parents. The Collaborative works together to accomplish better results for young children and families in Montcalm County.

On Saturday March 10th the Great Start Collaborative of Montcalm County hosted training on ways to develop positive behavior in young children. A mix of forty-seven parents and childcare providers spent their Saturday afternoon learning.  This was a free workshop presented by Jo Anne Gordon-Anderson, OTR.  She discussed topics of what you want from your children, positive parenting, positive discipline and caregivers needing to relieve stress as well as many others.  Jo Anne Gordon-Anderson has worked with children ages 0-5 for many years and has a great way of communicating to parents about childhood development.  The audience was very engaged and the evaluations reflect how much they all loved this training.

In addition to being a valuable training, we were also celebrating Parent Awareness Month!  Free story books, DVDs, developmental handouts and information on local resources were all supplied to the attendees.  This gave them information to take back to their homes and daycare facilities to share with the children, parents and co-workers.  Thank you to all that attended and those that donated their time to make this workshop a success!

If you would like more information about the Great Start Collaborative contact Cari O’Connor: (616) 522-1412 or or visit and like us on facebook

Next Training Opportunity: 2nd Annual Early Childhood Conference on September 22, 2012.  This will be an all-day conference with many early childhood topics. Will be located on the campus of Montcalm Community College. More details will be released soon at:

February 27, 2012

Our next meeting will be held on March 26th from 5:30-7:00pm at Lakeview Community Church (8980 Howard City Edmore Road, Lakeview, MI).  Free dinner and childcare will be provided.  RSVP to Brandy Minikey: (616) 225-6146 or

Free Training Opportunity:  Positive Approaches for Challenging Behavior Workshop for parents and childcare providers. March 10th Located at the MAISD building, 621 New St, Stanton, MI 48888. Registration begins at 8:00am workshop from 8:30-11:30pm. Limited number of spaces are available please RSVP to Evi Petersen at (616) 225-6146 or

GS Parent Coalition Meets with State Reps

repsAs seen in the Greenville Daily News!

The Parent Coalition is a group of parents, grandparents, childhood service providers and business partners that meet once per month to share information on advocating for children and preparing them for success in school and life.  This month we were fortunate enough to have Senator Judy Emmons and House Representative Rick Outman join us.  We had a wonderful evening; parents were able to get to know each other and our guests over a nice dinner prepared by Sage’s of Greenville, followed by stories of personal experiences of birth to five parents.  By sharing our personal experiences in raising young children in Montcalm County, both positive and negative, we help our State Representatives understand which services we value in our community and where there is still need.

Read More →