I believe that I already mentioned that I am craft-challenged. In addition, I am suprisingly averse to reading books about child development. Fortunately for my children, I learned about Bright Beginnings pretty early in my parenting career.
Wen I first heard about this program. A.P. was 11 months old. I had taken him to a playdate at a friend’s house and she had some great craft ideas and knew a whole lot more than I did about early childhood (which is no great feat). I asked her if she had an education background, and she said, “No, my Bright Beginnings lady gave me all of this.”
My friend has a very nice house in a fancy-schmancy suburb. In fact, my entire tiny little house would fit in her living room, so I was pretty sure this wasn’t an income based program.
I contacted her “Bright Beginnings lady” and found out that not only is it available to anyone in Kent County with children ages 0-5, it offers home visits, playgroups, screenings, and parent information meetings.
Bright Beginnings has been a huge asset to me as a parent. It took a while, but I was eventually assigned a Parent Educator. This is a person (or a ‘Bright Beginnings Lady’) who has been trained in the Parents As Teachers program. She comes once a month during the school year and offers advice, ideas, and encouragement. She always brings a craft or activities for my kids and explains how they relate to development. My kids LOVE her, and that is not an understatement. She is a big part of their life, and I am so thankful for her and the entire program.
We also attend many of the playgroups. These are great because I am a big fan of outsourcing messy stuff, and they have paint, stamps, glue, glitter… all in a themed playgroup that the kids really enjoy. The parenting meetings have been very useful too; they meet at night and provide childcare. Bright Beginnings also has special days at Meijer Gardens with a reduced admission, and other fun events throughout the year. Every month there is a newsletter as well as a calendar sent out with all the activities that I promptly put into my Big Binder.
You can use as many of the services as you’d like. If you don’t want home visits, you can still attend playgroups. It is worth signing up. It’s free, but invaluable. Check it out!