Hundreds of West Michigan 3- and 4-year-olds and their parents are benefiting this summer from learning kits developed with expertise from Grand Valley faculty members.
These special kits to encourage interaction among family members as well as help children reach developmental milestones were assembled with advisory support from retired psychology professor Sandra Portko, Gwenden Dueker, professor of psychology, and Jing Chen, associate professor of psychology.
Their expertise helped representatives from Family Futures and Ready for School, which are organizations dedicated to early childhood school readiness and well-being, finalize the kits that were sent to homes.
The 385 3-year-olds received kits which included pails, shovels, buckets and a book, while 400 4-year-olds received kits including a pot, dirt, seeds and a book, according to officials with Family Futures. The project also received support from the Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage.
Candace Cowling, executive director of Family Futures and a Grand Valley graduate, said having access to the caliber of input GVSU faculty members could provide while developing kit content was valuable.
"The feedback from families about the kits has been amazing and it ties directly back to the partnership of Family Futures, Ready for School and GVSU," Cowling said. "The importance of community was ingrained in me when I went to GVSU, so I know that I can turn to the GVSU community when we need leaders in the field of child development."