A great start

Children playing filled a portable classroom at Jeffers Elementary School on Monday.
Krystle Wagner
Oct 1, 2013


The Spring Lake school district’s Great Start Readiness Preschool began Monday with 16 students for the all-day, first-year program.

Throughout the day, students have snack time, choice time, and music and movement.

Great Start Readiness is a state-funded program for 4-year-olds "at risk of school failure," Spring Lake Public Schools officials say. It is different than Head Start Readiness, a federally funded preschool program for children ages 3-5.

The Spring Lake program is free for families, but families must qualify for the program by meeting two of the following criteria: low income, unemployed parent, divorced parents, single parent, teen parent, low birth rate, diagnosed handicap, non-English speaking, language delay or immaturity, and more.

As 4-year-old Ariana placed plastic pegs into a toy, she said her first day at Great Start was fun, but it wasn’t easy.

“It’s too hard work,” she said.

Jeffers Elementary School Principal Shelley Peets said the preschool program follows the creative curriculum, which aligns with what they are expecting of students in kindergarten through fourth grade. She said students are given choices, and the teacher makes observations and notes about what each child does and how they spend their time.

The program received attention of many parents hoping to give their child the chance to learn, meet new friends and begin a school routine.

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Programs like Great Start, Head Start, ECEAP and others are tremendously beneficial for kids who have the additional risks listed in the article. As someone who has worked in both early childhood education and higher education, I believe that EVERY child is "at risk for failure" but only because too often adults and our educational systems fail them. We need to give kids every possible chance to succeed in life right from the start--which is why Early Childhood Education is so important!!! Thank you to Great Start and other programs like it for doing their part!


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