Great Start Parent Coalition

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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.

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!

Join us at our kickoff for the 2014/2015 year:

On September 11th, from 5:45-8:00 p.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church (250 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, 49503), we will host our first coalition meeting for this new year.  The meeting will feature our very own coalition member, Catherine Vandewege, who will lead an interactive workshop that will teach us how to teach our children the Seven Emotional Skills Every Child Needs.

Using the book 7 Emotional Skills Every Child Needs as a resource, Catherine will show us how to nurture vital relationship skills in children that will help them communicate with others, providing a foundation for developing close relationships with family and community. The seven skills are: Respect for Authority; Delayed Gratification; Self-Awareness; Empathy; Social Awareness; Motivation & Persistence; and Hope.  How do you make sure children are developing the social skills they need to relate to others? Or are you leaving it to chance that they’ll pick them up along the way? This interactive training will provide you with steps to follow and activities that you can use to teach children these important skills.

Additional Meeting Dates and Info:

The additional meeting dates for the rest of this 2014/2015 year include: Oct 9, Nov 13, Dec 11, 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 for more information and to preregister by the Wednesday morning prior to the meeting.

News & Updates


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.