Across the state of Michigan, the Office of Great Start and the Great Start Collaboratives have convened a network of Great Start Parent Coalitions (GSPC). Coalitions are groups of parents, caregivers and guardians with children under the age of 12 years old. They serve as advocates, cheerleaders, thought-leaders, teachers, students, coaches and team-members. The number of parents, caregivers and guardians who can join the coalition is unlimited. In Cass County, the parents, caregivers and guardians have formed a strong coalition to lend voice and hand to the beliefs that every child prenatal to third grade deserves a Great Start in life.
Great Start Cass County recognizes the importance of getting an early start to prevent unhealthy and unsafe conditions for children so that their future is brighter. The Cass County Great Start Parent Coalition voluntarily come together monthly to advocate and raise awareness of the importance of investing in a comprehensive early childhood system. This coalition is engaged in the planning and implementing of early childhood services in Cass County. We strive to empower parents to be their best and offer support and resources. Our Collaborative have Workgroups that parents are also encouraged to join.
Purpose of the Cass County Parent Coalition is:
To assist in improving programs and services for Cass County families with children prenatal to third grade by providing a “customer” perspective for the Great Start Collaborative giving the Collaborative and workgroups means to better understand the desires and needs of parents in our community;
- To educate community member about the importance of early childhood;
- To support the Great Start Collaborative’s work toward achieving Michigan’s early childhood outcomes – that are born healthy, remain healthy, thriving and developmentally on track from birth to third grade, that children are ready to succeed in school at the time of school entry, and that children are ready to succeed in fourth grade and beyond by reading proficiently by the end of third grade; and
- To provide information, education, and resources to parents raising young children.
The Coalition supports the work of the Collaborative but also has the authority to support other work that it deems appropriate and necessary for the good of children and families. The Coalition has a “life of its’ own” and is not governed by the Collaborative.
Members of the Cass County Great Start Parent Coalition are volunteers.
2021 Meeting Schedule
Currently the Parent Coalition Monthly Meetings are being held on the 4th Wednesday of each month at Cass District Library 319 M-62, Cassopolis, MI at 11:00 am. We would enjoy to hear from you. Please contact Stephanie Knepple at email@example.com for more information on how to join the monthly virtual meetings.
Summer Literacy Events
Bright By Text
Care for a young child?
Bright by Text is for anyone who cares for and loves a child, prenatally through age 8: parents, parents-to-be, grandparents, babysitters, aunties, uncles, neighbors, friends, teachers, and more.
Bright by Text can help!
We send free text messages with easy, practical tips and activities right to your cell phone. Our content comes from trusted partners like PBS and Sesame Street. Messages are targeted to your child’s age and include information on development, language and early literacy, health and safety, behavioral tips, and more.
Sign up here:
We only ask for your child’s birth date and zip code. That way, you’ll get messages timed to their exact age and information about local events and resources. We will never share your info! Bright by Text is completely free, but message and data rates may apply.
Link to register: Bright By Text
Talking Is Teaching
“Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” is a public awareness and action campaign that helps parents recognize their power to boost their children’s early brain and vocabulary development through simple, everyday actions – like describing things while walking outside, or singing songs together during bath time. Using books, parent videos, text messaging, social media, and information from expert partners, Talking is Teaching empowers parents and caregivers with fun and easy ways to improve their babies’ learning.
Visit Talking Is Teaching website for Early Learning Activities:
Our Father’s Family Keeper Ministries The Village Free Store
Trusted Advisor Grant 2020
Home Learning Kits
Is your child is currently not enrolled in a Preschool Program the Parent Coalition would like to provide you with a home learning kit. To receive a kit for your child please contact Parent Liaison Stephanie Knepple at firstname.lastname@example.org
Trusted Advisor Grant 2019
The Trusted Advisor 2019 additional funds allowed Cass County to create Welcome Diaper bags for expectant and new parents. The Bags will include “Talking is Teaching” materials, information on safe sleep, car seat safety, developmental milestones, information on home the home visiting program for after care, and community resources to access needed services to reduce isolation and increasing connections towards adequate prenatal care and children born healthy. The bags will also contain a sample pack of diapers, wet wipes, books, changing pad, sleep sac, onesie, tooth brush, toy, and much more.
The Trusted Advisors are people in the community who already have built connections and relationships with families. Partners and Trusted Advisors are with Life Plan, Women’s Care Center, Three Rivers Health, Cass Family Clinic, WIC, DHHS and others in the community working with families. Trusted Advisors will talk with expectant and new mothers to connect and make referrals to Cass County Home visiting program for free a screening assessment (ASQ) after the birth of the child, and share the information in the packet that is included in the Diaper Bag. Some programs will be providing a coupon to expectant mothers to schedule and attend their first prenatal visit, where they will receive their Diaper Bag.
Vroom’s website offers a variety of tools available to download for free, as well as a mobile app that provides easy access to daily “brain building” activities. Vroom was developed with input from early childhood experts, neuroscientists, parents, and community leaders, as well as the Center on the Developing Child.
WNIT/PBS Kids At-Home Learning
PBS KIDS Curriculum-Based Educational Programming for Pre-K through Grade 4
Michigan Prepares Emergency Plan App
The Michigan Prepares Emergency Plan mobile app is a free, easy-to-use tool that can help you and your family create a basic emergency plan in a few quick steps. The app is available for download on both Apple and Android devices.
We rely on our phones for a lot, but emergencies are unpredictable. Import valuable contacts from your phone directly into a plan so you and your family have access to those numbers, even if the power goes out, or your phone is lost or damaged.
Select emergency family meeting places so everyone knows how to find each other if returning home isn’t an option during a disaster.
Send a PDF of your completed plan to yourself and your household members to print and store in a safe place so you have access to your important information no matter what happens.
Basic supply checklists, Michigan-specific hazard fact sheets, and important links to stay connected and informed are included in the app and printable plan.
Steps is a major initiative in Michigan to provide you with tips, infographics, articles, and information. We created this initiative because the early learning that takes place from prenatal to age three are so important. The steps you take during these early years shape a child’s future health, happiness, learning, and success in life. They are simple steps, like talking to them, interacting with them, reading, singing, and playing with them daily.
The steps you take during these early years shape a child’s future health, happiness, learning and success in life. These are simple steps, like talking to them. Interacting with them. Reading, singing and playing with them on a daily basis.
To help you take the necessary steps to help all Michigan children thrive, we have put together two online tool kits packed with information and guidelines. One kit has materials specifically for parents and care givers of children ages zero to three. The other kit has materials for trusted advisors who work with parents of young children.
STEPS TOOL KIT
To help families know the steps to take to their children a great start on life, we put together this tool kit. It walks you through how to take small steps at each age of your child’s development. These are simple things you can do with your child every day to make a big impact on their success in school and later in life. All materials are available for free. We invite you to download them, use them, and share them. Here is what you will find in this kit:
- An introductory video
- Steps brochure for families
- Steps development milestones checklists
- Information & tips in easy to understand infographics
- A list of 15 daily activities to do with your child
- A school readiness guide
MILESTONE TRACKER APP
For an easy way to keep track of when your child should reach certain milestones, download the free CDC Milestones Tracker app in the Apple App Store or on Google Play available in English and Spanish. The App also includes activities and learning tips for each age and an area where you can keep track of all your trips to the doctor.
Little Free Libraries
4 Little Free Libraries have been launched in Spring of 2019 at the following locations in Cass County
Brookside Learning Center, Cass County Council On Aging, Mason/Union Township Hall, Park Downtown Marcellus
Thank you to Midwest Energy Communications for your sponsorship.
For more information about the Parent Coalition and how to join CLICK HERE
Stephanie Knepple, Parent Liaison
These materials were developed under a grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Education.