Everybody benefits in this project. Child care workers receive free coaching. The coaches have the opportunity to interact with area child care facility owners and put their skills to work. A university study obtains data for research.
And let’s not forget the children. Youngsters participating in the project benefit as their teacher gains new knowledge.
The endeavor is known as Project Great Start Professional Development Initiative—an effort to improve the knowledge and skills of early childhood educators.
One Morenci child care center—Cyndee Sanders’ Circle of Friends—is involved in the statewide program.
Once a week for a 10-week span, Sanders receives a visit from Brooke Rains who observes, provides teacher behavior modeling and gives direction and ideas.
Rains is an Adrian College elementary education graduate who owned her own child care center before joining the Child Care Network, a resource and referral agency.
She also works with Jackson Community College and Baker College, and it’s the Baker affiliation that brought her to Great Start as a teacher coach.
With campuses in several cities, Baker is working in collaboration with the Michigan 4C Association and the University of Michigan School of Education in a research project with the end goal of improving literacy skills among young children.
Mark Sullivan, executive director of Michigan 4C (Community Coordinated Child Care), explained the project as a means of finding the best way to improve interaction between children and their adult care-givers.