GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (ABC 4)- Preschoolers at West Elementary in Coopersville, MI, are learning, growing, and having fun interacting with their peers and building motor skills thanks to the Great Start Readiness Program. 

This state-funded program, which offers free and affordable preschool to qualifying children and families, is among five states ranked as the highest quality programs in the nation for its ability to successfully prepare children for school and improve their early literacy and mathematics skills. The program is expanding, and the district recently funded 10 additional classrooms locally. 

Inside West Elementary, you can find preschoolers reading, writing, and spelling, building treehouses and puzzles, communicating with one another, and using their imagination with props and toys.

Maranda stopped by to learn how the Great Start Readiness Program positively impacts children, their families and local educators.  

“I’ve been in the classroom twenty-five plus years, and I think this is a very important key piece. Their growth since the beginning of the year until now, working together, using their words to communicate is huge here in the preschool classroom,” Ann Burgtorf, Great Start Readiness preschool lead teacher, said. 

If you’re considering enrolling your child in preschool but wonder when to apply, Carey Taylor, Ottawa Area ISD preschool coordinator, suggests doing so now.

“Ninety percent of brain development occurs by age five, so here in this classroom, we are essentially reaching out during that opportunity of critical development and supporting it to lay that foundation for K to twelve and also in the greater society.”

To learn more about the Great Start Readiness Program and eligibility requirements, visit–learning/early-childhood-education/great-start-readiness-program/

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