Great Start Parent Coalition

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The Parent Coalition increases parents’ skills, knowledge, and participation in early childhood planning and decision-making for the county.

Who We Are

A partner to the Great Start Collaborative and First Steps, the Great Start Parent Coalition is a group of parents and caregivers dedicated to informing, shaping, and supporting the early childhood work in their community. The Coalition provides training in leadership and advocacy skills to build public support for early childhood investment and a stronger voice for the children in our community, preparing our children for success in school and life.

What We Do

  • We work with parents to equip them with knowledge and skills to be leaders in their families and our community for the benefit of young children.
  • We work with providers to offer professional development, as many of our monthly meetings qualify for Tier II/Professional Development hours.
  • We work with the Great Start Collaborative to provide a “Customer” Perspective to the organizational members, serve as a sounding board to the parent representatives, and lend our support to Collaborative-related efforts.
  • We work with the community, coordinating and participating in outreach activities, public will-building, and advocacy work at the local and state level.

Join us

It is our goal to recruit parents from all areas of Kent County with different backgrounds and lifestyles to be a fair representation of the families of our county. We welcome anyone who is committed to helping our children get a Great Start in life.

Come to a coalition meeting!

We come together as a community monthly to learn about various topics important to our work as early childhood parents and providers.

2014 Meetings
Nov 13: “Time Out is Out” with Dr. William DeMeo
Dec 11: “Kahn Academy: A free and priceless tool for teaching early math

2015 Meeting Dates
Jan 15, Feb 12, March 12, April 16, May 14, & June 11

Dinner and childcare will be provided, and some meetings qualify for Tier II/Professional Development hours.

Unless otherwise noted, meetings are from 5:45-8:00 p.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church (250 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, 49503).

Call (616) 632-1007 or email for more information and to preregister by the Tuesday prior to the meeting.

Participate in our Diaper Drive

The diaper drive is the Great Start Parent Coalition’s ongoing effort to collect and distribute diapers to families in need in Kent County.  Learn more here and watch this video:

Follow us on social media


The GSPC, Great Start of Kent County, and First Steps believe it is the responsibility of parents, providers, early childhood professionals, and other community members to continuously develop leadership and advocacy skills to build public support for early childhood investment and a stronger voice for the children in our community.

Here are some documents and links we find helpful as we work to advocate for our youngest citizens:

News & Updates

“Cultural Competency” – Thought-provoking and informative meeting

Under the leadership of Alberto Flores - a director in the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and leader in the social services and civil rights arena for over 30 years - our coalition of parents and providers examined our own cultural identities, took interactive quizzes about our own knowledge and awareness, debunked widespread stereotypes, and learned about the changing demographics in our own community, the state of Michigan, and the US.  Armed with more information and useful self-reflection, our attendees left this October meeting with a deeper understanding of culture that will allow them to both discuss issues of culture with the young children in their care and better relate to others across cultural boundaries.

GSPC Wins Fierce Heart Award

Kent County’s Great Start Parent Coalition won the statewide early childhood “Fierce Heart” award!  Click here to read about it.

2014 Calendar for Literacy and Early Learning

This calendar provides a year-long guide of literacy and early learning activities featuring the Michigan Early Learning Standards of Quality for Pre-Kindergarten.  This valuable tool is being used in homes and childcare settings throughout Kent County.

View it HERE or contact our office for a printed copy.