Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the bipartisan expansion of the Great Start Readiness Program (GRSP), a preschool program for four-year-olds, Wednesday.
Gov. Whitmer encouraged families to enroll their children into the program to start preschool in January. Currently, over 35,000 four-year-olds are enrolled.
“Every parent wants the best possible start for their child, and for many families, this includes a high-quality preschool experience,” stated Governor Whitmer. “Here in Michigan, we are fortunate to have a homegrown program that takes the guesswork out of picking a quality, affordable preschool. The Great Start Readiness Program provides eligible families access to quality, no-cost preschool that works. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made to enroll more four-year-olds and encourage more families to consider this option for their young Michiganders.”
“I appreciate the governor and legislature’s partnership on the funding of universal preschool for all eligible four-year-olds,” says State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “Once fully realized, this effort to add a full year of education for tens of thousands of Michigan children a year will have a profound impact on student outcomes including literacy, graduation and post-secondary attainment rates for decades to come.”
Officials say the expansion is the first of a three-year phase which seeks to ensure access to 22,000 additional income-eligible children by the fourth year.
Since Sept., more sites have opened expanding access for children across the state, including new sites which are affiliated with 61 community-based organizations and 21 school districts.
In July, Governor Whitmer signed the School Aid Budget, which made the largest investment in education in Michigan’s history, eliminated wait lists and expanded access to the program for all eligible children.
The investment includes $121 million in federal funding, and $47.5 million from the School Aid Fund, for a total investment of $168.5 million. The state now invests a total of $418 million per year in GRSP.
Officials say investments in preschool pay massive dividends and improve health, educational and social outcomes for children throughout their education.
They say GRSP not only provides quality early education for children, but it is also good for working families that need more safe and affordable childcare options while they work.
Officials say programs are still enrolling, and children can start preschool in January. To be eligible for free preschool, children must be at least four-year-old by Dec. 1 and meet income eligibility requirements.
Parents can find sites in their community by or calling the Great Start to Quality Resource Center at 877-614-7328.