By Madison Rietsema – Collegiate Staff
For over 17 years, the Grand Rapids Community College Preschool lab has been a recipient for the Great Start readiness program, a state-funded preschool program that works to provide for young children at the age of 4 years old whom are at risk for educational failure. The GRCC Preschool Lab has received a $428,000 grant on behalf of this program, to continue their active work in providing a safe, educational place for children as well as its students, in the Grand Rapids community.
The fund has opened new doors and opportunities for the local community such as the building of The Phyllis Fratzke Early Childhood Learning Laboratory. This learning center provides access to outdoor space in all classrooms, a children’s library, and observation booths for observing the best educational practices for early childhood learning. Funding has also made it possible for the preschool lab to host community events for a range of early childhood professionals – teachers, families and center-based child care providers.
“This grant has made it so that more and more families can benefit from the experience, as well as make sure their children are in an environment that is safe and accepting, no matter where you came from, or who you are,” said JaneAnn Benson, preschool director.
Many children in the Grand Rapids community lack a preschool education. Which is why our preschool lab has helped children develop new skills and grow before they reach the kindergarten stage free of cost to families.
“The main goal of our preschool lab is to meet the community needs, and the needs of our students,” Benson said.
The lab allows students studying childhood development, to have one-on-one interaction, be able to participate and learn as they go.
“When we invest in them, they invest in us, when we are able to come together as one, and build relationships, the possibilities are endless,” Benson said.