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Finding Quality Child Care and Preschool

preschoolers sitting on floor in classroom raising their hands as provider reads to them

Finding Quality Child Care and Preschool

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When you need child care, the quality of that care is important. Not only do you need to find someplace you can trust, you need a place that provides a good learning environment for your child.

Great Start to Quality (GSQ) rates the quality of Michigan child care and preschool options to help you decide what’s best for your child based on:

  • Safety
  • Teacher training
  • Quality of learning program
  • Quality of child care setting
Find Quality Child Care and Preschool

Why is Quality-Rated Child Care Important?

The early learning your child receives both at home and in another’s care is important because 90% of a child’s brain develops by age five. Finding child care that supports early learning is important.

There are simple steps you and your child care provider can do that make a big difference in your child’s success at school and later in life. Find some of those steps to in the Steps Family Tool Kit.

Get Steps Family Tool Kit
Preschooler in care setting sitting on the floor reading a book as smiling provider is propped on elbows beside her

What is Great Start to Quality?

Great Start to Quality (GSQ) is a free resource that helps families find the best licensed child care, preschool or afterschool program for their children, age 0 - 12. GSQ also helps educators improve the care they give to children.

Any Michigan family can use GSQ, at no cost, to help them look up and compare programs to find the best child care.

Learn More About Great Start to Quality

What are Michigan Parents Saying About Great Start to Quality?

“Great Start to Quality is an extraordinary resource that supports families and early childhood educators. It supports parents by creating awareness about why quality care matters when they are seeking daycares, and it gives them the information they need to find quality child care programs.” – Michigan Parent

“This is a wonderful resource for parents looking for quality child care.” – Michigan Mom

How Can I Get Help Paying for Quality Child Care?

Every child deserves the best quality education and care possible. Help is available if your family cannot pay for quality child care. You may be eligible for aid if:

  • You are completing your high school diploma
  • You have a job that prevents you from caring for your child
  • You are in an approved treatment program
  • You are enrolled in college or a training program
Apply for Financial Help
provider in care setting holding an infant with three more infants playing around her

What you Need to Apply

Application Needs

To complete your application, you will need the following items:

  • Proof of child care need
  • Proof of income
  • Information about your child care provider

Using a License Exempt Provider

If you want to use a License Exempt provider, like a family member, friend, or neighbor, they must complete a license exempt provider application:

Download License Exempt Provider Application
mom and daughter smiling and talking to provider who is holding a clipboard

Great Start to Quality Resource Centers

Resource Centers provide support programs, providers, and families with child care resources at no cost.

Resource Centers offer:

  • Help finding local, quality licensed programs, for children ages 0-12
  • Information on financial assistance
  • Access to a lending library with books, CDs, and other learning materials
Find Local Resource Center

More Resources for Parents

Get Child Care Search Tips

Find tips for your child care search, information about types of child care, and checklists by child care type to help you find the right care setting for your child.

Get Early Intervention Information

If you think your child is developing slower or has health issues, early intervention may help. Early On will work with you to evaluate your child’s current development and figure out the next steps.

Get Great Start to Quality Brochure

Download the brochure for more detailed information about Great Start to Quality.

Get Early Learning Resources

Talking, reading, singing, and playing on a daily basis helps your child learn. Find resources and activities you can do at home with your child to support learning and development.