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MiLEAP Announces Funding to Expand Access to No-Cost, High Quality PreK for Over 5,000 Four-Year-Olds

Michigan Business Network
June 4, 2024 12:00 PM

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$8.7M in Great Start Readiness Program Start Up Grants will be used to open 348 more new and expanded preK classrooms, continuing progress toward PreK for All

LANSING, Mich. – Today, the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP) announced it has awarded $8.7M in Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) Start Up Grants to open an additional 348 new preK classrooms this fall and expand access to no-cost, high-quality preK for over 5,000 four-year-olds.

“Every four-year-old deserves an opportunity to enroll in preK regardless of who they are, where they live, or what their family can afford to pay,” said Michelle Richard, MiLEAP acting director. “MiLEAP is proud to partner with early learning centers in schools and communities to open new classrooms and create more opportunities for four-year-olds to learn and grow.”

GSRP Start Up Grants provide $25,000 to help offset the costs of opening new preK classrooms including staff recruitment and training, facility improvements, outreach materials, and instructional materials such as curriculum and classroom supplies.

“As a small non-profit school, the co-op is incredibly grateful for the start up grant. We have been struggling since the pandemic and this money will allow us to replace aging furniture and restock all of the supplies needed in a play-based program. Some of it will also be used for further training to ensure our employees are up to date on recent research in early childhood education to give our students the best quality education available.” said Jacqueline Murphy - Lead Teacher/Director, Brighton Cooperative Preschool

"The start up funds supported us in purchasing classroom materials that met quality criteria for GSRP and Great Start to Quality (GSQ): Classroom Coach, Child Care Licensing, Creative Curriculum fidelity." said Amanda Massey Mattea - Deputy Executive Director, Early Learning and Montessori, Detroit Public Schools Community District

Since launching the grant program in 2023, the GSRP Start Up grants have awarded $18.5M in grants to providers in all 56 intermediate school districts (ISD) to open 749 new and expanded classrooms. 

“The $25,000 Start Up grants for new GSRP classrooms have helped tremendously in the expansion of free preschool in Kent ISD. These funds have enabled community partners and organizations to establish high quality, GSRP classrooms where previously it had not been an option. These grants underscore the state’s commitment to early childhood education and the recognition of the profound difference it can make in the lives of children and families. We are grateful for this investment and support in setting up so many more children for future success.” said Ashley Karsten - Director of Early Childhood, Kent ISD

How to Apply for a GSRP Start Up Grant

PreK providers, including community- and school-based programs, that are interested in applying for a GSRP Start Up Grant should contact their local ISD to learn more. Another round of grants will be available this summer.

How to Apply for Free PreK

It’s not too late for families to enroll their four-year-old in preK this fall. Michigan’s free preK programs are enrolling now for fall.

Michigan’s free preK program is offered at GSRP and Head Start locations. PreK is a safe place where children learn how to get along with others, share, take turns, and make friends. Math, reading, and thinking skills are taught every day through fun, hands-on activities. PreK will help make sure children are ready for kindergarten and beyond.

Learn more and find a GSRP or Head Start program near you at MiFreePreschool.org or on your local ISD’s website Programs follow a school year schedule September through June. There are part-day, full-day, and 4 and 5-day preK options available. Before and after school care and transportation are offered at some locations.


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