A new partnership between Flint Community Schools and the University of Michigan-Flint brings the University's exceptional early childhood education program directly to a greater number of Flint families.
Great Expectations Early Childhood Program at Holmes STEM Academy offers the same evidence-based teaching methods as those used currently at UM-Flint's on-campus Early Childhood Development Center, which is nationally accredited and among the top-ranked facilities in the state.
Children are educated using the Reggio Emilia approach—which engages their mind, creativity, and independence in a way that is used at some of the finest preschools worldwide and is ideal for lead-exposed children.
The campus ECDC currently has a waiting list of more than 300 children, but Flint families with 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old children have the opportunity to access the services at no cost through the UM-Flint and Flint Community Schools partnership.
"Our children deserve the very best. I appreciate UM-Flint's willingness to expand its programing so that we can offer this educational option to our families with young children," Superintendent Bilal Tawwab said. "Flint Community Schools are committed to caring for our families at all stages and making sure all our children have access to high-quality education and services even before they reach kindergarten."
Great Expectations Early Childhood Program is located at Holmes STEM Academy, 6602 Oxley Dr. in Flint, and is open to appropriately-aged children throughout Flint. As a pilot program, the preschool can enroll up to 48 children—but discussions already are taking place to expand the program within Flint Community Schools later this year to include birth to kindergarten and space for up to 250 children.
Great Expectations Early Childhood Program is particularly unique because it offers educational care all year—including during the summer when school is not in session. Its hours of operation also extend beyond the traditional school day, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Like the campus early childhood center, Great Expectations also will allow UM-Flint students additional internships and job opportunities in a variety of study areas including education, social work, nursing, and public health.
"This is about doing what is right for Flint families. We know our Early Childhood Development Center offers an environment and educational experience that helps combat the effects of lead exposure. This is an ideal partnership with Flint Community Schools. We appreciate the opportunity to support Superintendent Tawwab and provide opportunities for both Flint children and UM-Flint students," Chancellor Susan E. Borrego said.
UM-Flint's current on-campus educational center serves about 150 children. It operates through the School of Education and Human Services, under the direction of Dean Bob Barnett and ECDC Director Della Becker-Cornell.
Great Expectations Early Childhood Program at Holmes STEM Academy now operates in two classrooms and will open a third on May 23. Every classroom has teachers with early childhood education degrees to bring age-appropriate—and fun—education to enrolled children.
"We are so excited to be able to branch out into the community to provide another caring environment for even more children to grow and thrive," Becker-Cornell said.
At a Glance
- UM-Flint Great Expectations Early Childhood Program at Holmes STEM Academy is open to 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old children who live in Flint.
- There is NO COST to Flint families regardless of income.
- Operating hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The facility will remain open during the summer.
- Enrollment for Great Expectations at Holmes is capped at 48 students.
- The program is expected to expand within Flint Community Schools later this year to offer care for up to 250 children from birth to kindergarten.
- Great Expectations Early Childhood Program is a partnership between the University of Michigan-Flint and Flint Community Schools.
For more information and to enroll: Centralized Enrollment at 810-767-6158 or UM-Flint Early Childhood Development Center at 810-424-5214.
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