Early Childhood Fair April 23 Offers Dozens of Resources

Finding just the right childcare provider or preschool for your child takes a lot of time and leg-work. Even Michael Ghareeb, director of Early Childhood at Kent ISD, understands.

A new event in Grand Rapids aims to change that. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 23, the Play, Learn, Explore Early Childhood Resource Fair, coordinated by Kent ISD, will put dozens of childcare providers, preschools and family service resources under one roof, so parents can explore multiple options at once.

“We’re trying to make it a one-stop, enjoyable experience for families, with all the best resources to help inform parents what quality childcare is,” said Ghareeb. “When I was looking at childcare for my kids, we looked at a variety of factors from quality to convenience and we’re happy with our choice. But it was tough to find – and then evaluate –  all the resources on our own. We want to make it easy for parents, by giving them one place to explore many resources for their children.”

Play, Learn, Explore is a free, child-friendly event. Children will get to meet Maranda from WOTV 4Women, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Curious George from WGVU and several local sports team mascots, as well as see real fire trucks and other large vehicles. Fun activities include a dress-up station, storytimes and puppet shows. Free vision and hearing screenings also will be offered for babies and toddlers, and Kent County Health Department will be on hand to address questions about immunizations and health and child development.

The event, presented by PNC Bank, will be held at the Kent Career Tech Center, 1655 East Beltline Ave. NE, next to the Knapp’s Corner Meijer. Attendees should park in lots 1 and 5. The Tech Center is conveniently located on the Rapid bus line. The first 500 families through the doors will receive goodie bags.

In addition to PNC Bank, sponsors include Apple Tree and Gilden Woods Early Care and Preschool, Cindy Minnema with Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate, Comprehensive Therapy Center, Crowning Lotus, Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative, Easter Seals of Michigan, Grand Rapids Community College, Great Start to Quality, ISJ Academy, Head Start for Kent County, Horizons Developmental Resource Center, Kent District Library, Michigan State University Extension and WGVU.

Staff from all of Kent ISD’s Early Childhood programs will be there to assist parents: Bright Beginnings, Early On, Great Start to Quality Kent Resource Center and Great Start Readiness Preschool.

Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio

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