The Great Start to Quality Northwest Resource Center is a program of United Way of Northwest Michigan and serves ten counties in Northwest Lower Michigan: Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Manistee, Leelanau, Missaukee, and Wexford. Our team of highly qualified coaches and support personnel help providers find training and support for professional development and quality improvement, help families find child care and preschool, and help businesses develop ways to support employees’ access to child care.
Our team is embedded across the ten-county service area to provide local training and technical assistance, lead learning communities and provider study groups, and facilitate distribution of supplies and Lending Library items. Our Lending Library contains hundreds of items that support children’s learning through play as well as curriculum and professional resources. Training and technical assistance, learning communities, and study groups are available through in-person, virtual and hybrid platforms. Most trainings are offered free of charge unless otherwise noted.
The Resource Center is also the home of the Region 2 Early Literacy Hub. Our team of skilled trainers and educators is ready to support providers with early literacy materials – like books and activities – and information – like the Essentials of Early Literacy tool kits – to help ensure every young child develops the early literacy skills they need to be a successful reader. The Lit Hub works at the community level, too. We support partners like the Great Start Collaboratives and Parent Coalitions, local literacy initiatives, schools and libraries to bring more literacy activities and resources to families throughout northwest lower Michigan.
Resource Center Services Include:
- Professional Development trainings, workshops and conferences open to all child care/preschool providers; most trainings are open to parents as well
- A Lending Library that offers themed bins, curriculum and professional resources, child development materials, gross motor items, assessment tools, and more, for use by providers and parents; there is no cost to borrow Lending Library items and suggestions for new items are welcomed
- A team of highly qualified Quality Improvement Coaches who support programs as they navigate Great Start to Quality including on-site, individual consultation for home- and center-based programs working on quality improvement plans
- Professional Learning Communities for those who serve Infants and Toddlers
- Professional networking opportunities for home-based providers and for center directors
- Informal networking opportunities for providers and families to meet and share information
- Great Start to Quality Orientation for license-exempt providers
- Support for families searching for child care and preschool options
- Connections to the Great Start Collaboratives and Family Coalitions
- Technical assistance for providers seeking grants and other assistance from the State of Michigan
- Technical assistance for local communities participating in child care innovation projects through the Early Childhood Investment Corporation and the Michigan Department of Education
- Region 2 Early Literacy Hub resources including training and workshops, consultation and support for community literacy projects, and free books for families enrolled in family-based child care through our home-grown SPLASH! into Reading project
Northwest Resource Center Staff
|Mary Manner, Co-Director |
|Kristin Witt, Co-Director|
|Heather Bardenhagen, Quality Improvement Coach (Grand Traverse & Leelanau)|
Child Care Center Administration trainer
|Terri Bauman, Quality Improvement Coach (Benzie & Manistee)|
|Susan Chowen, Quality Improvement Coach (Charlevoix, Emmet & Antrim)|
|Rebecca Herbst, Quality Improvement Coach (Wexford & Missaukee)|
|Jessica Kieng, Quality Improvement Coach (Grand Traverse & Kalkaska)|
|Kristina Bajtka, Community Liaison|
Great Start to Quality Orientation Trainer
|Jackie Hanson, Administrative Assistant|
Community Partners & Resources
We work with many people and organizations in the community to provide you, your family and your program with the resources you need to help your family and children succeed.
There are professional development trainings available throughout the state. You can search for a training near you or about a specific subject through MiRegistry.
If you have additional questions or need help, please do not hesitate to contact us.
1209 S. Garfield Suite C
Traverse City, MI 49686
877-614-7328 (toll free)