How It Works

How Great Start to Quality Works

Great Start to Quality (GSQ) helps strengthen high quality early learning experiences for Michigan children by supporting early care and education providers and helping families connect with the best options for
their children.

To do this, GSQ along with providers and partners, have developed a continuous quality improvement process with Quality Levels. Every GSQ provider is licensed through the State of Michigan and is required to maintain a healthy and safe learning environment.

Providers demonstrate quality through their practices, interactions, and staff qualifications in five quality categories. Great Start to Quality supports this by coaching, mentoring, On-Site Observation of programs, and sharing resources.

5 Quality Categories


Program supports family cultures, recognizes child diversity, use of home language, and ensures that all children have an equal opportunity to succeed.


Program is continuously working on developing skills and knowledge around early childhood and child development.


Program has documented staff qualifications, certifications, training, personnel policies and procedures,
and more.


Program works to share information with families about their child’s development and helps connect families to
community resources.


Program tracks child development and provides age-appropriate learning opportunities for each child.

How GSQ Helps Michigan Families

GSQ recognizes the quality of licensed programs for children ages 0-12 to help families find the best early care and learning options for their children. Families can use GSQ as a tool to search for and compare early childhood programs near them and find the right child care options for their children.

  • Giving families information and resources to determine the best type of care for their children.
  • Assisting families in their search for quality licensed programs.
  • Providing information about financial assistance.
  • Offering lending libraries of learning materials to use with their children.

How GSQ Helps Child Care Providers

GSQ supports early care and education providers as they grow their programs and offer the highest-quality care for all Michigan children by:

  • Helping providers get the tools and resources they need to make continuous improvements.
  • Helping them create safe and healthy environments.
  • Offering coaching and mentoring.
  • Establishing a cycle of continuous quality improvement and recognition.
  • Providing material resources.
  • Providing information about subsidies and education opportunities.
  • Supporting curriculum development.

Searching for Quality Child Care Programs?

Great Start to Quality provides you with the information and resources needed to determine the best type of care for your child.

Why Does Quality Matter?

90% of a child’s brain develops in the first five years. Quality child care, preschool and schoolage programs help children learn, grow and develop; setting the foundation for children to be successful in school, work and life.

The Michigan Department of Education – Office of Great Start is the lead agency with funding from the federal Child Care Development Block Grant. The Early Childhood Investment Corporation, an independent and publicly-owned nonprofit organization, is directly responsible for the implementation of Great Start to Quality.