Flint Early Childhood Collaborative
The evidence is overwhelming that the first several years of a child’s life are among the most important, laying the groundwork for what follows. Alarmed by the potential lead exposure of 10,000 young children, from infancy through six years of age, a group of community organizations came together to form a collaborative to create greater access to high quality, year-round early childhood education and care. One of the most effective strategies to mitigate the damaging effects of toxic stress is participation in such educational opportunities. Programs for infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers and their parents have now expanded.
The Community Foundation formed a supporting organization, Flint Kids Learn, which owns a new state of the art early childhood facility on the campus of Durant Tuuri Mott School – Educare Flint. Partners in the Flint Early Childhood Collaborate Committee include Flint Community Schools, Genesee Intermediate School District, University of Michigan- Flint, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. The collaborative works to ensure the highest quality standards apply to the Educare Flint and Cumming Great Expectations Early Childhood Center, and is exploring ways to enhance quality and increase access to early childhood programs for all Flint children.
Educare Flint, a new, state-of-the-art school for Flint children ages 0-5, opened its doors to students on December 4, 2017. Launched in the wake of the Flint water crisis as part of an urgent effort to increase access to early childhood education, the school serves 220 Flint children from birth to age 5 each year.
The school plays an important role in efforts underway to improve the quality and variety of educational opportunities available to Flint kids — from cradle to college and career. It also will link students, their families and other residents with community-based services. And by offering professional development opportunities to all early learning and child care providers located in Flint, the school will help to strengthen the quality of early care throughout the community.
The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation provided $11 million in grants to support construction of the 36,000-square-foot facility. The building is owned by Flint Kids Learn, a supporting organization of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. The Genesee Intermediate School District operates Educare Flint.
Other partners who helped launch, support or implement the Educare model in Flint include Flint Community Schools, Michigan State University, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and the University of Michigan–Flint.
Educare Flint is a wonderful example of the good that can be accomplished when partners from different sectors with different expertise come together to invest in a better tomorrow for our children. We are excited to see the difference this school will make for all children in Flint.