Kent ISD Bright Beginnings
About Bright Beginnings
Bright Beginnings is a Blue Ribbon Model Affiliate of the Parents as Teachers program which "promotes the early development, learning, and health of young children by supporting and engaging their parents and caregivers."
"We believe that young children learn and grow in strong families where parents are able to successfully face the challenge of caring for their children while meeting their work and other responsibilities." Bright Beginnings is a support program that nurtures families allowing their children to thrive!
The Blue Ribbon award, received in the fall of 2019, recognizes Bright Beginnings for meeting and exceeding the highest standards for home visiting programs.
Who do we serve?
Bright Beginnings serves families in Kent County with children prenatal to kindergarten entry. We also offer home visits and playgroups in Spanish.
What is the cost?
Bright Beginning program services are FREE for families!
The Bright Beginnings program includes the following services:
- Virtual, Outdoor, and in-Home personalized Visits
- Playgroups and Parent Meetings
- Developmental Screenings
- Resource Network
For detailed information and for our Playgroup Calendar, please press the + signs below.
Personal Home Visits
- Have you ever wished that you could have someone walk side by side with you in your journey of parenthood?
- Do you have questions about your child's development or think that life would be easier if your child would have come with an "Owner's Manual?"
There is good news!!
- Kent ISD Bright Beginnings can help. Parent Educators are available to journey with you through the early years of raising your children.
- A Parent Educator will help you to understand your child's development and how they learn best. We offer parenting tips and strategies on parenting topics such as temper tantrums and sleepless nights.
What is a Home Visit?
- A partnership between a parent educator and your family in which monthly or bi-monthly home visits are personalized with information focused on your family's needs, concerns, and goals.
- Home visits typically last for one hour per visit depending on the size of your family.
- To ensure each family's health and safety, we provide visits virtually, outdoors, and in-home depending on recommendations from Kent ISD and the CDC.
Home Visit Focus:
Parent Educators will focus on these three areas during your home visit:
- Parent-Child Interaction and Play
- Parenting Challenges
- Family Well Being
Baby Buddies Group
What is Baby Buddies?
- Oct. - Nov. Dates Flyer
- Dec. - Jan. Dates Flyer
- Baby Buddies is a group facilitated by a Parent Educator. It is a delightful setting for babies who are pre-walkers and their caregivers to engage in activities together.
- Developmental activities include circle time with songs and activities as well as a special topic related to development.
- Babies and their caregivers also get the opportunity to engage in free play in our age-appropriate playroom at Kent ISD.
When and where is Baby Buddies?
North Kent Baby Buddies is located at Red Hawk Elementary in Cedar Springs.
- Contact Kristi Webber at 616-439-4118
South Kent Baby Buddies is located at Hamilton Early Childhood Center in Kentwood.
See Playgroup Calendar below for Baby Buddies dates each month
What screenings does Bright Beginnings offer?
Bright Beginnings offer screenings for families through our home visiting program. These screenings include:
- Hearing and Vision
- Child Development
- Social and Emotional
Hearing and Vision screenings are also available at a different playgroup location each month
Playgroups and Field Trips
What is a Playgroup?
- A Playgroup is a great opportunity for parents or caregivers and children birth – 5 years to experience fun and focused play together in a safe and educational setting.
- Groups are facilitated by a Parent Educator and are typically held at local school districts, libraries, parks, community centers, or on Facebook live.
- Parent Educators support families by offering developmentally appropriate activities, fun ideas, stories, songs, and health and nutrition tips.
Who attends Playgroups?
- Unless age is specified, playgroups are appropriate for children ages infancy through Kindergarten entry. Baby Buddies is designed for children who have not started walking yet and their caregivers.
- Caregivers attend the playgroup with their children and are encouraged to play alongside their children.
Where are Playgroups located?
- At this current time, Playgroups are typically held at local preschools and elementary schools, libraries, parks, community centers, or on Facebook live. When it is recommended by Kent ISD and the CDC, we may have to cancel in person groups, and will resume virtual groups more often. If the weather is not cooperating, outdoor groups will be canceled.
- Throughout the year, we also offer several field trips to places such as Frederik Meijer Gardens, to local farms, or community centers.
Is there a cost?
- Unless specified, playgroups are provided at no cost.
- There may be a small fee included for field trips.
How long does a Playgroup last?
- Playgroups typically last one hour but some may be longer depending on the group.
What is a Playgroup Theme?
- You may notice that some playgroups have themes such as Winter Wonderland or Happy Hearts. This indicates that some of the activities may be based on the theme for that day.
Do I need to pre-register?
- Pre-registration is only required if you see an indication of RSVP on the calendar for a specific group
Download our playgroup calendar PDFs or visit our online Playgroup Calendar in an easy to read format for your phone that allows you to sort playgroups by school district and day of the week.
If the local school district in which the Bright Beginnings playgroup is being held cancels school, then the playgroup is also canceled. Typically, a playgroup that is canceled due to weather will not be rescheduled. School delays may affect playgroup scheduling, please contact your Parent Educator for information.