We know that there are many benefits of high-quality early childhood educationfor young learners, but there is no instruction manual for creating a high-quality early education program and making it work.
To help policymakers “convert their visions of good early education into on-the-ground reality,” the Learning Policy Institute recently published a report showing how some states are successfully building a high-quality early childhood education system. Michigan is one of four states highlighted.
Michigan provides a state-funded preschool program called the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) for at-risk four-year-old children. According to the report, “children who attended GSRP had better kindergarten readiness, fewer grade repetitions, better reading and math proficiency, and better on-time graduation rates than students who did not attend GSRP.”
What makes the GSRP program successful? The report lists a number of key elements, including: a low teacher-child ratio (1:8 or better), with a maximum class size of 18; use of a research-validated curriculum; specific teacher qualifications; monthly classroom visits by Early Childhood Specialists for teacher support and mentoring; additional child support and screenings via wraparound services; and required family engagement. See the report for a complete list.
Building a successful early childhood education system is a continual work in progress. Michigan policymakers and educators are persistent in their search for new ways to make early education programs better for their young learners. Although there may never be a manual for building the perfect system, Michigan is on the right path and setting a good example for the rest of the country.
Enhancing the Quality of Early Education Programs with GrapeSEED
GrapeSEED is honored to be helping students, including many GSRP students, in over twenty (and counting!) Michigan school districts. GrapeSEED’s oral language acquisition and critical listening program supplements existing Language Arts and Literacy curricula and enhances the quality of early childhood, ESL/ELL and other programs designed to help students with language.
GSRP Student in Springport Public Schools with GrapeSEED Monkey Poem from Unit 1
Research shows that GrapeSEED is helping GSRP students improve language and literacy skills. In an independent study, 432 GSRP preschool students in the Berrien Regional Educational Service Area (RESA) school district were assessed for oral language English proficiency using the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF) test in six categories. The study found that English as a Second Language (ESL) and low socio-economic status students moved out of at-risk levels, contributing to the significant increase in the percent of students performing at or above their age norm. The GrapeSEED students also grew faster than expected for their age – faster than national peers in every category!
Berrien RESA Preschool GrapeSEED Classroom
Click here to get the comprehensive research report showing how GrapeSEED is helping students in preschool through second grade close the achievement gap in language and become proficient readers by third grade.