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Michigan educators create new program aimed for preschoolers at home

Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 6:18 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - As schools across Mid-Michign work out their back to learning plans, what baout the youngest of students - pre-school aged kids?

There is a new statewide program to address their unique needs and aimed at making sure pre-schoolers are not missing key developmental milestones while sheltering at home.

Local educators say that 90% of brain development happens in children ages 3 to 5, which is why the “Thrive From Home” program hopes to teach the littlest of learners.

“Parents are wondering what the heck they can do,” said Christy Callahan, Director of Innovative Projects at Clinton RESA.

But solutions aren’t as easy as one...two...three...

“Parents are really overwhelmed with the virus,with how they are staying at home ” said Callahan. “There is a lot to think about and plan for. so juggling educational needs for their children, juggling their work its a lot right now.”

Noticing a need for accessible preschool resources and education, educators across Michigan created the Thrive from Home program, regardless of back to school plans.

“This campaign is one tool that can help ease their burden and give them a starting place,” said Ami Lowrie, Special Education Supervisor for Eaton RESA.

The Thrive From Home program is a partnership between Build Up Michigan and PBS Kids.

It’s a combination of educational video programming with at-home activities that stimulate preschoolers’ intellectual, social, emotional and physical development.

“It’s just simple things that parents can do like talking to your children, pointing out numbers, letters and words in the environment, reading books and talking about them,” said Lowrie.

This program is also the state's first curriculum designed to help parents identify potential learning delays while sheltering at home

We are providing examples of what typical development looks like at various domains and parents can kind of track with their children and understand the importance of the milestones of development.

Callahan says if parents have a concern with their children’s development, the build up Michigan website can help them find a local coordinator and request an evaluation.

Thrive from Home’s eight-week series began this week.

Video lessons will air weekdays statewide during PBS preschooler favorites like “Sesame Street,” “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” and “Wild Kratts.”

They will also be available with additional skill-building activities online.

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