Preschool makes a difference.

Research indicates that children who participate in a high-quality preschool experience show significant positive development differences when compared to children from the same backgrounds who did not participate in such an experience. A wide array of studies over many years point to both short and long term benefits of preschool, including such important impacts as increased early literacy and math skills, ability to retain learning, advanced creativity, good attendance, interest in school – even on-time high school graduation!

Cass County’s Great Start Readiness Program may make a difference for your child.

If your child will be four years old on or before September 1 of the current year, the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) may be a great choice. The program is administered by the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Great Start, and funds are allocated to the Lewis Cass Intermediate School District to provide the program for Cass County.
Designed to provide a high-quality preschool experience for children with factors potentially placing them at risk educationally, the research-based Creative Curriculum used in the GSRP will enhance your child’s social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and language development. The structure of the classroom and the daily routine will build on your child’s interest areas, provide small and large group experiences, and include times when your child can make choices about his/her learning opportunities. The classroom community will promote positive relationships where your child can make friends and build effective social problem-solving skills.

Provide a Great Start for you and your child.

Great Start Readiness Program classrooms are limited to 16-18 children and the ratio of one adult staff person to eight children ensures that your child receives individualized support throughout the day. Staff use well-developed screening tools and teaching strategies to track y our child’s progress and to develop individual learning goals.

Perhaps most importantly, the HighScope Curriculum used by our staff values the importance of the family in your child’s education. Teachers work to establish a true partnership with your family, to ensure that your child’s two most important worlds—home and school—are working together for your child’s most beneficial educational outcomes. During home visits and Parent/Teacher Conferences, you will have an opportunity to discuss your child’s development with staff. You can also become more directly involved with your child’s education by joining the Parent Advisory Committee, by attending Data Meetings or Family Nights, and by volunteering in a variety of ways. We welcome you; after all, you are your child’s first teacher.

Determine eligibility and costs.

If your child will be four years old on or before September 1 of the current year, we encourage you to see if your child is eligible for this enriching experience. GSRP eligibility is primarily based on income and/or other risk factors as determined by the Michigan Department of Education. For income-eligible families, the program is free of charge. Over-income families may also eligible, but may need to pay a nominal fee based on a sliding scale. To begin the process of determining eligibility and costs (if any), fill out and submit this simple, online application form.

Early Childhood Programs and Services Online Intake

Unsure about applying?
If you have any questions about the Great Start Readiness Program, contact Vicki Foote at 269-445-6283 or by email at

Bridge Michigan article on GSRP
Michigan’s game-changing preschool program ‘untenable’ without more funding.