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Early Childhood Education

Why is Early Childhood Important?

It is never too early to prepare for your child's future. Research on brain development has documented that the future education and well-being of a child are formed very early. The majority of the brain is developed during the first three years of life. Research shows that early experiences and early learning actually changes the physical structure of the brain. Infants and toddlers are pre-programmed to learn, but they only learn from the experiences that we provide for them.

As parents and caregivers, you have the awesome responsibility and privilege of shaping these early experiences.

Ottawa Area ISD is working to ensure that the resources and tools are available to give every child a healthy, enriched start to learning and life.

Early Childhood Program Applications

External Link Early Childhood Program ONLINE Application

Applications that can be downloaded, printed and filled out (must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to open):

Early Childhood Application 

Early Childhood Spanish Application

Great Start Readiness Program Eligibility

Income and Eligibility Guidelines 2022-23 English

Income and Eligibility Guidelines 2022-23 Spanish

Early Childhood Programs

 Parents As Teachers
Provides family support including parent education, child development, development screening, playgroups and service coordination to link families to other available services.

 Play n Learn Literacy Playgroups
Groups meet monthly in local schools. All families with children birth to five are welcome.

 Ottawa County Preschool Programs
Information on Head Start, Great Start Readiness, and tuition assistance programs in your area. If you are interested in becoming a Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) provider, call 616-738-8940, ext. 4133.

 Early On
Available for families with children birth to three who may have a developmental delay and/or medical condition that could lead to a delay. 

Provides services for children who have been identified through a special education evaluation to have a significant developmental delay or physical impairment.

Community Partners

Great Start Collaborative

The Great Start Collaborative-Ottawa is a partnership of local stakeholders and parents who are committed to establishing and maintaining a comprehensive early childhood system that will address all factors that influence a child’s readiness for school and life.

Parenting Resources and Links

External Link Ages and Stages Developmental Questionnaire (ASQ) (opens new window) 
Every child develops skills and milestones at their own pace. Click on the link above to check in on your child's development. The online questionnaire includes questions about your child's communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem-solving, and personal social skills. You must be a resident of Ottawa County to participate.

*If you have behavior concerns with your child, please call 616-738-8940, ext. 4070 to learn how OAISD specialists can help. 

External Link Great Start To Quality Childcare Resources
As part of a new initiative, Great Start CONNECT, ECIC created a new online statewide database of licensed, registered childcare and early education programs in Michigan.

Guide to Your Child's Social-Emotional Health


These materials were developed under a grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Education