Free Preschool in Ionia County

Ionia County is pleased to offer free preschool programs through Head Start and the Great Start Readiness Program.  These programs are for children ages 3 through 5.  Children qualify based on individual family circumstances.

One or more of these circumstances may qualify your child:

  • Family income
  • Concerns about your child’s development
  • Challenging behavior
  • English is a second language
  • Parent/guardian has a low educational attainment
  • Abuse/neglect of child or parent

Environmental risk(s), including:

  • Single parent home
  • Sibling issues
  • Teen parent
  • Homeless or without stable housing
  • Residence in high-risk neighborhood
  • Child exposure to toxic substances

Head Start and Great Start Readiness Programs can serve children that live in communities with in the Ionia Intermediate School District.

Head Start

Head Start is a federally-funded preschool program.  Its success is based on compassionate partnerships between Head Start program staff and parents. In Michigan, local Head Start programs work with families to remove barriers to success and to deepen parents’ ability to support their children.  In Ionia County Head Start Programs are available in the following school districts:

  • Belding
  • Ionia
  • Orleans

Visit the Michigan Head Start Association website or Eight CAP website for more information about Head Start programming.

Great Start Readiness Program

The Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) is a state-funded preschool program with aims that are similar to those of Head Start.  While fewer children qualify for Head Start than GSRP, Great Start Readiness Program also serves families whose circumstances indicate a need for free early childhood education.  In Ionia County Head Start Programs are available in the following school districts:

  • Belding
  • Ionia
  • Lakewood
    • Woodland
    • West Elementary
  • Portland
  • Saranac

Visit the Michigan Department of Education website to learn more about GSRP.

For more information about Preschool programming in Ionia County contact:  

Amy Opperman, Great Start Readiness Program Director
Phone:  616-527-4900 x1362

Melisa Stevens, Head Start Joint Recruitment Coordinator
Phone:   (616)754-9315 or 1-866-754-9315, ext. 3369 or Michigan Relay Center: 1-800-649-3777 (Voice & TDD)

Sally Kapteyn, Ionia County Great Start Collaborative Director
Phone: 616-437-0548

Download: Preschool Application 17-18
Download: Preschool Brochure

Click here to fill out an online version of the Preschool Application.