WGVU By Leaps & Bounds

Investments in high-quality early childhood care, education, and support programs do more than help children – they also strengthen our workforce and economy. How are communities in West and Southwest Michigan approaching prevention and early intervention in these systems of care? How do the programs benefit children, families, care and education providers, businesses, and taxpayers? Where are the gaps, and how do we fill them? Come along as we take a closer look.

Spectrum Health
Spectrum Health

Receiving early and regular care throughout pregnancy is incredibly important for both mother and baby, as preterm birth and low birth weight put babies at an increased risk of developing cognitive, emotional, and physical health issues. Babies weighing above 5.5 pounds at birth are considered to be “born healthy.”

High-quality licensed programs help children learn, grow, and creates a strong foundation for children to be successful in school, work, and life while supporting parent participation in the workforce. Children learn so much in their 

Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce
Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce

Investments in child care accessibility and affordability are investments in both in the current Michigan workforce, and the future workforce. High-qualify affordable child care supports parents in contributing to our community, while providing for their families, and prepares children for school and life success.

ELNC
ELNC

High quality early childhood education experiences have a direct impact on outcomes for young children. Our communities in Michigan are filled with passionate, dedicated and innovative early childhood teachers and programs. Effective leadership, stable and sufficient funding streams, and access to professional development opportunities and resources can create a pipeline of well-trained and invested teachers.

Talent 2025
Talent 2025

In Michigan, 83% of parents with children younger than age 6 report having difficulty finding high quality, affordable child care and more than 4 of every 10 people live in child care deserts - defined as any census tract with more than 50 children under age 5 with no or very few licensed child care providers.  Kent County mirrors many other communities with nearly 70% of children under age 6 having all parents in the workforce. 

First Steps Kent
First Steps Kent

The purpose of the Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage is to provide dedicated and sustainable funding for programs that improve the health, school readiness, and well-being of children under age five; therefore allowing more children and families from across the community to participate in programs that are proven to increase their likelihood of success in school and beyond.

All parents want to give their children a strong start in life. Becoming good at math begins long before a child enters school. Each one of us is born to be a “math person” as math concepts help children make sense of the world.

All parents want to give their children a strong start in life. Children are able to learn language before they are born – talking, singing, and pointing stimulate the brain, provide clues to the meaning of words, and build important neural connections in the brain.

All parents want to give their children a strong start in life and it is never too early to begin reading! Stories expose children to words and ideas that they might not otherwise experience. Not only does reading enhance children’s vocabulary, books also teach children to use their imaginations and spark creativity.

All parents want to give their children a strong start in life, and each stage of a child’s development comes with new opportunities for exploration and learning about the world around them. Movement and play keep children healthy, build their coordination and strength, and help them learn important social-emotional skills such as communication, processing emotions, and flexible thinking. Play also provides opportunities to develop problem solving and coping skills, along with building confidence to try new things and make mistakes.

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