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Early Childhood Education Features

Dream Big

Dream Big, Start Small

Dream Big, Start Small in Kalamazoo reaches children as early a possible to better prepare them for school.

Kalamazoo County Ready 4s

Preschool Economics

Can quality preschool learning for Michigan children be tied to a healthy economy? Early education proponents around the state believe it can. Michigan Nightlight’s Amy Kuras talks to the experts.

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Battle Creek Elementary Brings the Community to School

At Prairieview Elementary in Battle Creek, the Developing the Community School Project uses a holistic approach to achieve school success.

Nkechy Ezeh of the ELNC

Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative prepares children for kindergarten and life

When Dr. Nkechy Ezeh was growing up in Nigeria, they didn't have early childhood learning programs. No one knew what children were missing. Now that she lives in the U.S., what baffles her most is that we have early education, but not all children have access.

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Educating parents gives children their best shot

The Great Start Plus program is designed to help Kalamazoo County families whose life situations put their preschool children at high risk of school failure. Margaret DeRitter talks to parents who are learning they can be their child's best teacher.
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Parenting Communities

The Fine Art of Parenting

Hardest job in the world? You betcha. Parenting Communities in Leelanau County helps with the challenges of parenting young children and preparing them for school success. 

Yvonne Davis

Yvonne Davis retired in 2008 from a career as an elementary teacher and educational administrator, but rejoined the workforce in 2010 with Lift Up Through Literacy, a program of Kalamazoo Public Schools. Since she has always had a focus on family, she considers her executive directorship a dream job, allowing her to connect with parents and children through the program.  

Ann Kalass

When Ann Kalass, chief executive officer of Starfish Family Services in Inkster, was growing up, she realized early on that not all children had the same opportunities as she did. Today, she’s driven to make sure vulnerable kids get the education they need to start off life with a strong footing.

Pat Sosa VerDuin

Pat Sosa VerDuin leads Ready for School with a passion for preparing children for school and for encouraging their parents to be informed and engaged. When parents, volunteers and community are all engaged in early childhood education, everyone wins.

Dr. Marijata Daniel-Echols

With a background in research, policy, and evaluation in the early childhood education arena, Starfish Family Services’ new vice president of early childhood policy and programs, Dr. Marijata Daniel-Echols, has learned to welcome progress in large or small doses. She brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the Inkster-based private nonprofit in hopes of improving life outcomes for vulnerable children.
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Growing Companies

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