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Early Childhood

Early On Montcalm

Cindy DeYoung, MAISD Early On Supervisor          616-225-4714

Elizabeth Buskirk, Administrative Assistant          616-225-6156

Early On Services
Early On offers early intervention services for infants and toddlers, birth to three years of age, with developmental delay(s) and/or disabilities, and their families.

Research has shown that by addressing delays early on - especially between birth and age 3 - we can more effectively impact a child's development, even into adulthood.

Early On in Montcalm County-Podcast

What is Early On?-Video

Referral information:
If you think your infant or toddler may have a developmental delay...don't worry....but don't make a referral please call: 1-800-Early-On or visit

Other resources and links:
Michigan Early On

Early On Family Survey

Early On Michigan Facebook

MAISD Early On Facebook

Early On Michigan Twitter


Build Up Michigan Logo

In Michigan we know that education begins at birth. We also know that some of our children need extra help or other related special services along the way. That's why Michigan's special education system helps children as young as newborns and up to age 26.

Build Up MI Kids (formerly known as Project Find) provides information about special education programs and services and helps to arrange free evaluations to find out if a child is eligible for extra help from any of Michigan's public schools.

If a child you know is struggling in school or has a physical, emotional or communication problem that might prevent success in school, call BUILD UP MI KIDS. We're here to help. Contact your building principal or call your BUILD UP MI KIDS Coordinator Andrea Nista at 616-225-4752

Visit on-line at BUILD UP MICHIGAN KIDS.

Andrea Nista, Build Up MI Kids Coordinator  Phone: 616-225-4752   Fax: 616-225-4753

The Welcome Baby Program is a cooperative venture of the Montcalm Area IntCorewell Health ermediate School District, Early On, Montcalm County Great Start Collaborative, 0-3 Early Head Start, Carson City Hospital, Mid Michigan District Health Department, and Spectrum Health United Lifestyles. 

Great Start Montcalm Logo 2015PNG

The blessing of a new baby brings new challenges to your life. We are here to help you during the first year of your infant’s life.  Phone contacts and personal visits to your home will provide you with personal, private guidance and support during these first critical months. The visiting professional is there to help answer questions and share information regarding your infant’s growth, development, immunization, nutrition, and safety.  We are here to get you and your infant off to a GREAT START. These services are free to infants residing within the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District.

Professionals you can be connected to Registered Dietitians; Lactation Counselors; Registered Nurses; Learning specialists; Child Development Experts.

For more information contact:

Corewell Health United Lifestyles (616) 754-6185




Any Family with children from birth thru 4 year’s old living in Montcalm Area Intermediate School District is welcome to attend play group. Play groups are a collaborative effort between EarlyOn, Montcalm County Great Start, and the MAISD. These play groups are intentional for parents and children to have easy access to a variety of early childhood professionals, as well as supporting parents being their child's first and best teacher.

*Try new activities with your child that will stimulate your child’s development!
*Learn songs and read books (receive a copy of each book to keep)

Great Start Montcalm Logo 2015PNG*Interact with other parents and children!
*Learn Strategies to use at home to help your child learn.
*Access to Early Childhood professionals to ask questions.

2023-2024 Playgroup Schedule

Registration is required prior to attending, no cost to attend!
Call to register or for more information at: (616) 225-6146.early on logo

Montcalm County Great Start Calendar of Events

What is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library?

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library will help you read with your child. There are many reasons parents do not read to their child, but we can eliminate one of them. Every child will have books of their very own, at no cost to you.

Each month a new, carefully selected, book will be mailed in your child’s name directly to your 

home. Your child will look forward to new and exciting reading adventures from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library until they turn four years old and as long as you remain a resident of the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District (MAISD). 

Who Is Eligible?

Preschool children (from birth to their fourth birthday) that live within the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District.

What Are My Responsibilities?

Be a resident of the MAISD.
Submit a registration form, completely filled out by a parent or guardian.
Notify the Montcalm County Great Start Collaborative any time your address changes.
Read with your child.

When Will I Receive Books?

Eight to ten weeks after your registration from has been received, books will began arriving at your home and will continue until your child turns four or you move out of the MAISD. 

How Can I Help?

Do you know a preschool child in MAISD who is not receiving Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library books? Give their parents a brochure/registration form and encourage them to fill it out!

If you know a business, organization or individual who would like to donate funds to support this gift to your children, donations can be sent to the Montcalm County Great Start Collaborative. 

“Reading is the foundation of learning and success.”, “Building a reading culture in every corner of this state will build a stronger Michigan for generations, and help foster a lifetime love of reading by our children.”, Michael Flanagan, State of Michigan Superintendent 

Register now: dolly parton imagination library logo


Facebook: county great start collaborative logo

GSRPGreat Start Readiness Program (GSRP) is Michigan’s state funded preschool program for four-year-old children with factors that might put them at risk for school failure.  GSRP started in 1986 and now serves over 30,000 Michigan children yearly.  In Montcalm County during the 2022-2023 school year 389 children were provided preschool programming through GSRP efforts. GSRP funding is allocated yearly in the school aid bill which usually passes by July 1st.   

The State of Michigan through the Department of Education (MDE) funds Intermediate School Districts (ISDs) as GSRP grantees to serve age-eligible students within their ISD borders.  ISDs must follow state guidelines which are laid out in a GSRP Implementation Manual provided by MDE.  ISDs can allocate slots to any licensed child care center that follows the Implementation Manual however sites must be rated at least 3 stars on Great Start to Quality system.  The Montcalm Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) is responsible for ensuring that local programs meet state guidelines and provide the highest quality programming possible.  The Montcalm County Great Start Collaborative serves as an advisory board.  

When enrolling in GSRP all children need to be age eligible.  Other eligibility is based on risk factor.  Documentation of the risk factors is necessary for any child to attend GSRP. 75% of children enrolled in GSRP must be less than 250% in poverty.   Prioritization of risk factors for eligibility looks like:

  1. Low family income- Equal to or less than 250% of the federal poverty level
  2. Diagnosed disability or identified development delay- Child's developmental progress is less than that expected for his/her chronological age, or chronic health issues cause development or learning problems
  3. Severe or challenging behavior- The child has been expelled from preschool or childcare center
  4. Primary home language other than English- English is not spoken in the child's home; English is not the child's first language
  5. Parent/guardian with low educational attainment- The parent has not graduated from high school or is illiterate
  6. Abuse/neglect of child or parent- Domestic, sexual, or physical abuse of child or parent; child neglect issues
  7. Environmental risk- Parent loss due to death, divorce, incarceration, military service, or absence

Parent involvement is expected and highly valued.  The following activities are the minimum requirements for parent participation:  

  1. The advisory committee meets at least three times a year
  2. Two home visits per year that are at least an hour each.  (Alternate site if the parent prefers)
  3. Two parent-teacher visits that are at least 45 minutes each


GSRP Program and Contact Information 

Preschool Application 

Early Childhood Programs and Services

Montcalm Area Intermediate School District provides a variety of opportunities for children ages birth to 5 through a network of county wide supports and services.  The focus on the opportunities and services provide is to work together in five areas: 

Physical Health Care
Social Emotional Health Care
Parent Education & Family Support
Early Care and Education 
Basic Needs, Economic Security and Child Safety

Opportunities to get involved include: 

Great Start Early Childhood Parent Coalition 

Services and Programs available are listed below. Expand each line for more information.

A GREAT Start for EVERY Child in Montcalm County--Healthy, Safe and Eager to Learn.

Connections is a free program for children under 5 that makes sure all parents and caregivers have just-in-time information about what to expect from their children, knowledge about how to handle stress, and access to community resources.

Free to parents living in West Michigan with a child under 5, and anywhere in the WORLD if you participate online! If you need more information, please call (616) 454-HOPE (4673) or email

To sign up visit: Futures

What to Expect:

Great Start Montcalm Logo 2015PNG

Connections will send you age-appropriate developmental screening surveys every 2-6 months that help you track your child’s development with specific feedback. If a delay is identified or if you have any concerns, we have a Parent Coach that will call or email you to follow up and make a referral if necessary.

You also get:

  • Developmental Newsletters that provide clear expectations
  • Activity ideas to support development
  • Seasonal Newsletters with free or low cost local activities
  • Preschool and Kindergarten Readiness Packets



Blue, font, yellow start, MCGSC, Montcalm Great Start Collaborative ​​​​​​Montcalm County Great Start Parent Coalition

Monthly Meetings for Parents and Childcare Providers.

  • Speakers on Many Great Topics
  • Great Way to Meet Other Parents
  • Community Events
  • Free dinner for your family (when we are able to meet in person)
  • It’s FREE!

Parent Coalition Schedule for 2023-2024


For a preschool enrollment application, click here. 


To find child care or preschool,  click here. 

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