Governor Granholm, Director Hollister Highlight Change in Day Care Rules to Emphasize Early Education, Reading

 

Office of the Governor, June 9, 2003

 
LANSING – Beginning this year, Michigan day care providers will be required to read for 30 minutes a day to the children in their care. Governor Jennifer M. Granholm made the announcement in a visit to the Educational Child Care Center in Lansing today. She was joined by representatives of the day care licensing division at the Department of Consumer and Industry Services (CIS) who outlined a proposed change in the day care licensing rules that would add the new reading requirement.

“Reading to children for just 30 minutes a day will pay powerful dividends in the long run,” said Granholm. “Our children’s earliest years are their most critical in terms of their successful learning and development.”

Granholm explained that the proposed change is one of the goals of Project Great Start, an initiative she announced in her State of the State speech earlier this year to encourage early literacy efforts and parental education. Project Great Start is one of the key initiatives of the Children’s Action Network (CAN), the Governor’s effort to break down the silos of state government to the comprehensive services the State of Michigan provides its children. CAN agencies meet regularly to share data and develop unified, interconnected strategies for better serving children.

“The idea behind CAN is to look across state government at all the ways we’re serving our children and at all the ways we could be serving them better,” said David Hollister, Director of the Department of Consumer and Industry Services. “The new day care rule is the perfect example. Day care licensing happens in one department, education happens in another – but together we found that we can educate in those critical day care years.”

The proposed rule will be considered at a public hearing at 9 a.m. Friday, June 13, at the Michigan Historical Center and Library. The proposed rule will then be submitted to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules for final approval. If approved, it would go into effect on September 1. Day care providers would be required to set aside a total of 30 minutes a day for literacy activities.

“More than 350,000 Michigan children are in day care programs, and every one of them will benefit from this change,” said Hollister.

The new rule was developed by the state in conjunction with child care providers, children’s advocates, and public policy groups.

Under the proposed rule change, child care centers could use a wide array of activities to implement a literacy curriculum. They include exhibiting written finger plays, songs, and rhymes that encourage children to read the written words they recite. Centers also may coordinate literacy activities with homework supplied to parents. Centers would also be required to post a daily lesson plan guide related to literacy activities as a way to encourage parents to read to their children at home.

“Reading and other literacy activities spark a child’s imagination and open every door to a successful future,” said Granholm. “Reading to a child is among the greatest gifts we have to offer.”