Michigan's Early Childhood Movement

Great Start provides support, services and resources for children ages birth to Grade 3

greatstart4kids.org website is funded by the MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND


Great Start is all about system building

GREAT START is Michigan’s nationally recognized state-wide initiative supporting school readiness and life success for young children.  In 2006, the Dickinson-Iron Great Start was one of the first 14 collaboratives funded in Michigan. Now we begin year 14 as one of 54 Great Start Collaboratives in MICHIGAN, a nationally recognized leader in the early childhood movement!

Mission Statement

The MISSION of the Great Start is to coordinate family and community engagement to assure a coordinated system of support, services and resources is available to assist Dickinson and Iron County families in achieving a ‘great start’ in school for all children from birth to eight years old.

Parent Coalition

DI Great Start Coalition consists of parent leaders and caregivers of young children. The DIGSPC is dedicated to prioritizing parent leadership and empowering parents to assist families in parenting skills, developing leadership skills, advocating for children and encouraging parents to join causes and take action by speaking up and making a difference!

Trusted Advisors

The purpose of Michigan's Trusted Advisors is to engage Great Start Parent Coalition leaders to strengthen and develop community systems to improve connections to families with children birth to age 5. By promoting early learning, early literacy, leadership development, critical thinking and peer mentoring - parents become trusted advisors who make a difference.

Imagination Library

Maria Johns, Dickinson-Iron Imagination Library Coordinator

The Imagination Library inspires, educates and supports the core value of helping to inspire a love of reading and learning in children. With over 1,200 children enrolled monthly in the Imagination Library in Dickinson and Iron Counties, results indicate more children are reading daily, reading skills and vocabulary improve and more children and families are reading together. The Imagination Library has inspired and instilled a sense of joy in reading for our local children.
Please Support Dickinson-Iron children's enrollment in Imagination Library by donating below:

Great Start Partners

Teamwork, system building and partnerships are all integral and essential components of completing successful annual Great Start Work Plans. Great Start identifies partners with similar tasks and goals in order to collaborate and coordinate initiatives that improve family and children's lives. Great Start is a system, a movement that greatly benefits when partnerships work together to maximize performance and activities goals and objectives.

Great Start Strategic Plan

Great Start Strategic Planning is an important process of documenting and focusing on missions, visions, values, action plans and goals. Great Start Strategic Planning takes place every 3 to 4 years as an important method that sets priorities by focusing on leaders and stakeholders achieving common goals and outcome results proven successful through an assessment process.



The Dickinson Iron Great Start Collaborative-Parent Coalition consistently publishes monthly and/or quarterly newsletters to inform Great Start partners, members, parents, childcare providers, stakeholders ...


Great Start Media

The DI Great Start Communication Team strongly believes in taking advantage of all TYPES OF MEDIA - Video, Newspaper, TV, Radio, Social Media, Publications, Emails, Messaging, Photos, Graphics, Performances, Public Speaking, Art, Interactive Virtual Media and more.
CLICK MEDIA TYPE BELOW for more information!


Great Start Partners

DI Great Start is proud of the strong partnerships formed in Dickinson and Iron Counties. Over 65 community partners are active system builders each year. Below are key partners who participate in Great Start leadership roles and blended funding opportunities -

Partnership Flow Chart