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Looking for the perfect gift ? The Michigan Sandbox Party has a tip that just saved you a trip to the mall. For the early childhood advocate on your list, how about a donation in their name or some fantastic Sandbox swag?

All donations and merchandise sales will go toward ensuring that voices speaking on behalf of children can never be dimmed!  


LANSING –Despite learning today that Michigan is not one of nine states awarded a federal Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant, the work to build a system of early learning and development to ensure all of Michigan’s children are ready for success when they enter kindergarten will continue.

W.E. Upjohn senior economist Tim Bartik's 2011 book, "Investing in Kids," has helped many people view investments in early childhood as investments in a better society. Most recently, two leading academic journals - Business Economics and the Journal of Regional Science, offered reviews of Bartik's work.

LANSING - The Early Childhood Investment Corporation - Michigan's authority on early childhood - has been awarded a "Champion Crime Fighter" award from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Michigan.

A study from the Center for Public Education looks at the effect of combinations of pre-k and kindergarten on third-grade reading skills. The study focused on two combinations -- no pre-k and full-day kindergarten vs. pre-k and half-day kindergarten -- and found that a combination of pre-k and half-day kindergarten was significantly better.

LANSING – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan has chosen Susan Broman to lead the new Office of Great Start. “Susan is the type of leader we need to establish and build this pivotal office,” Flanagan said. 

LANSING – Michigan has comprehensive plans for money it might be awarded in the federal Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge. Michigan's plan includes statewide implementation of Great Start to Quality, a tiered quality rating and improvement system for all child providers.

So where does the U.S. rank for child and mother wellness among developed nations?  Try 31st out of 43, according to Save the Children in its annual Mothers' Index Rankings.

WASHINGTON D.C. - The U.S. Department of Education announced recently a proposal to create an Office of Early Learning, tasked with overseeing the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grants and coordinating early learning programs across the Department.

LANSING - The Gongwer news agency today reported that the state would spend $12.5 million to assess early childhood and kindergarten programs that would help its application for $70 million in federal funds for a more comprehensive system under a supplemental that sprang out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

Zero to Three, a national, nonprofit organization that informs, trains, and supports professionals, policymakers, and parents in their efforts to improve the lives of infants and toddlers, has released a statistical snapshot of infants and toddlers in Michigan. To view the report, click here

LANSING - Michigan's youngest children will be helped by the state's new Office of Great Start, according to a commentary in the Lansing State Journal. In turn, state businesses will benefit. Read the commentary here.

KALAMAZOO - Early care and education programs generate $1.2 billion in economic activity for Michigan, employ over 27,000 workers and improve the state's future workforce, according to a report from America's Edge, a national group of business leaders who work to strengthen businesses and the economy through proven investments in children.

LANSING – Michigan has completed and submitted its application for $70 million in early childhood funds through the federal Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge. To view it, click here.

LANSING - For the team putting together Michigan’s official application, the federal Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge represents an opportunity beyond money.

GRAND RAPIDS - Michigan business needs a top-notch workforce and one  of the best ways to develop it is through investments in early childhood, a West Michigan business leader wrote in the Oct. 10 edition of the Grand Rapids Press. Read the commentary here.

The Frameworks Institute recently posted a blog entry about Dr. Jack Shonkoff's appearance at an NBC News forum designed to engage the country in a solutions-focused conversation about the state of education in America called “Education Nation.” To view the video of Dr. Shonkoff's talk click here.

PNC Financial Services Group has announced a ten-year, $250 million extension of its Grow Up Great early childhood education initiative, which has benefitted more than a million children since its launch in 2004.

Creating an active Parent Coalition isn’t as easy as getting a group of parents together for coffee and doughnuts. There are 70 Parent Coalitions in the state of Michigan, each a part of the Great Start network. The members of these coalitions are representatives of their communities. They help advance local activities and lend their voice as consumers of early childhood products and programs. 

Today's children are tomorrow's workforce, and chambers of commerce across the state want to make sure the children are ready for the jobs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has noted in a widely circulated report that "to keep America competitive and strong, the business community must be actively engaged on issues related to our nation's education system as a means to ensure an educated citizenry of self-sufficient, lifelong learners who have the skills needed to thrive in the global workplace, today and in the future.