ESCANABA - Michigan Senator Tom Casperson was brought on a "tour" of local early childhood programs by the Delta-Schoolcraft Great Start Collaborative on Monday.
The tour consisted of an overview of the five component areas of Great Start: Pediatric and Family Health; Social and Emotional Health; Child Care and Early Education; Parenting Leadership; and Family Support.
The Great Start System illustrates the need for all of these pieces to be in place for children growing up in Michigan, and that each piece needs to be connected to each of the other four in order for them to be utilized.
Michigan Senator Tom Casperson, right, made a recent tour of local early childhood programs by the Delta-Schoolcraft Great Start Collaborative. He is pictured with Tara Weaver, at left, director of the Delta-Schoolcraft Great Start Collaborative and Donna Russotto, Delta County Great Start Parent Liaison. Casperson and Russotto are holding “Jonathon,” a 5-year-old displaying the Great Start Components.
The group discussed local programming availability and the impact on young children and their families.
"We cannot stress enough the importance of the first five years," stated Tara Weaver, director of the Delta-Schoolcraft Great Start Collaborative. "We want to ensure that our legislators know about the vital work that we are doing and the economic impact of investing in the early years."
There is growing research that shows that children who have one to two years of a quality and positive preschool experience have lifelong benefits such as: higher education rates, better workforce readiness, higher community engagement and less teenage pregnancy, welfare dependency, and crime involvement.
"This is what we want for our children and all children in our communities," stated Weaver.
For more information on the Delta-Schoolcraft Great Start Collaborative, Great Start Parent Coalition, and the Great Start Regional Resource Center call 786-9300, ext. 109, or visit www.Great-Start.org.