Child Care & Preschool

Find Licensed Day Care Centers and Preschools Near You!

Great Start to Quality is the best tool for families in Michigan looking for child care or preschool, as all licensed and registered program and providers, including Head Start and Great Start Readiness Programs, are listed in a free and easy-to-use search engine. Families can search by zip code, hours of operation or something even more specific (if a child has a food allergy or special need, families can search using that detail to find a program that meets their needs). The search engine is also the only place families can see the 'Great Start to Quality' star rating. The star ratings show how programs and providers scored on a quality rating scale. This rating scale was designed by experts and parents to help families find the highest quality setting to support their child for success in school and life. Other resources available at Great Start to Quality include a Child Care Checklist in the Parent Toolkit that is easily printed or viewed on any device, and licensing reports that show inspections, violations and corrections. For more information call 1.877.614.7328.

What to Look For: High-Quality Child Care Standards for Lenawee County

When looking for, or creating, a high-quality environment for children, consider these important recommendations.  Lenawee County parents and licensed center and home providers contributed their thoughts to the following list of standards:

High-Quality Child Care Standards

The Child Care Network

This organization is committed to improving the quality of child care and providing resources to help the community make educated choices about early childhood education. They have many resources to share, including a lending library with books for caregivers/parents, books for children, activity kits and videos.


1040 South Winter Street, Suite 2020, Adrian, MI 49221 (MSU Extension Office)

Phone: (517) 264-5324

Child Care Network website

Type of Licensed Centers

There are a few different types of child care, as you’ve already learned. Child Care and Day Care are used interchangeably. Michigan requires child care programs and preschools to be registered/licensed.

A Parent's Guide to Child Care Licensing

Registered Family Homes: able to provide care for up to 6 children. Operates a home-based business in his/her private residence. May care for infants, toddlers, pre-school, and school-aged children who need supervision after school.

Licensed Group Homes: are able to provide care for up to 12 children. Group homes with more than 6 children must employ an assistant caregiver. Operates a home-based business in his/her private residence. May care for infants, toddlers, pre-school, and school-aged children who need supervision after school

Licensed Centers: able to provide care for many children depending on the size of the facility. Licensed centers are able to provide care for infants, toddlers, preschool-age and school-age children if their license permits.

To publicize your licensed child care, you can visit Great Start to Quality and follow the instructions. This is a database of all the licensed and registered programs where you can search by city, address or zip code.

Preschool: are licensed facilities that provide full and/or half-day educational programs for 3 and 4 year old children (including Head Start and Great Start Readiness Programs).

The Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP): is a state-funded preschool program for children who will be 4 on or before September 1st and who are at-risk for future educational difficulties. Some examples of risk factors include developmental immaturity; a long-term or chronic illness; and an unemployed parent, single parent, incarcerated parent or teen-age parent.  There is no cost for this program. Lenawee County offers both school-day program and a part-day program.

Head Start: is a federally-funded, comprehensive preschool program designed to meet emotional, social, health, nutritional and psychological needs of three- and four-year-olds and their families. The Lenawee County Head Start program exists to serve children and families by providing early childhood education, family support services and community resources. Head Start Preschool Programs provide FREE services to more than 450 children and families throughout Lenawee County. Our preschool classrooms create a supportive learning environment where children follow a daily routine, participate in literacy and math activities and practice positive social interactions.

Additional Resources

"Make Time to Talk" Tip Sheet

The National Institute for Literacy has created a "Make Time to Talk" tip sheet for both home-base and center-based child care providers.

Free Social and Emotional Resources

If you need materials to help you work with a child who has challenging behaviors or you wish to just make classroom management run smoothly, click through this list of the latest researched based materials.

Scholarships Available for Child Care Providers

T.E.A.C.H Michigan: A Project of Michigan 4C Association is now offering a scholarship to teachers, directors, assistants, owners, and family child care providers. 

T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Application

Immunization Requirements

The State of Michigan requires certain immunizations for children attending childcare centers or preschool programs.  Go to the CDC Immunizations page for details, including a "catch up" immunization schedule. 

Michigan Vaccine Requirements - Child Care and Preschool

Is your child's preschool using an established curriculum? "Curriculum" simply refers to what is taught and how it is taught. Be sure to ask what curriculum a preschool uses, as it is important to know whether the content and method of teaching actually produces developmentally-appropriate learning for your child. As a parent, you may decide that some curricula are a better fit for your child than others. How to tell? Here are basic descriptions of the most common curricula and links for further information.

  • Creative Curriculum - Creative Curriculum focuses on eleven interest areas or activities in the program environment: blocks, dramatic play, toys and games, art, sand and water, library, discovery, music and movement, cooking, computers, and the outdoors. It helps teachers understand how to work with children at different developmental levels to promote learning and guides them in adapting the environment to make it more challenging. It includes a parent component and audiovisual resources.

  • HighScope - HighScope is used in both public and private part-day and school-day preschools, nursery schools, Head Start programs, child care centers, Home-Based child care programs, and programs for children with special needs. It is based on the fundamental premise that children are active learners who learn best from activities they plan, carry out, and reflect on. Key developmental indicators are grouped into ten categories: creative representation, language and literacy, initiative and social relations, movement and music, classification, seration, numbers, space, and time. A central element of the day is the “plan-do-review sequence” in which children make a plan, carry it out, and then reflect on the results. The daily routine includes times for small and large-group experiences, and time for outside play.

  • Montessori - Montessori is based on the work and writings of the Italian physician, Maria Montessori. It appears to be the first curriculum model for children of preschool age that was widely disseminated and replicated. It is based on the idea that children teach themselves through their own experiences and it provides a carefully prepared and ordered environment. The curriculum focuses on five areas: practical life, sensory awareness education, language arts, mathematics and geometry, and cultural subjects. Materials proceed from simple to complex and from concrete to abstract.

  • Project Approach - The Project Approach emphasizes integration of the curriculum. A project is an in-depth investigation of a specific topic with the main goals of finding out more about the topic rather than to seek answers to questions proposed by the teacher. Either the children or teacher can generate the topic. The questions to be addressed and investigated during the project are generated and developed by children. Project work should not constitute the whole curriculum, but should address the more informal parts of the curriculum.

  • Reggio Emilia - Reggio Emilia emphasizes the involvement of children, staff, and parents in the learning experience, and is based on the following principles:

    • Emergent Curriculum: An emergent curriculum is one that builds upon the interests of children. Teachers work together with children to formulate hypotheses about the possible directions of a project, the materials needed, and possible parent and/or community support

    • Representational Development: Similar to the idea of teaching through the use of multiple intelligences, the Reggio Emilia approach calls for the integration of graphic arts as tools for cognitive, linguistic, and social development.

    • Collaboration: Collaborative group work, both large and small, is considered valuable and necessary to advance cognitive development. Children are encouraged to dialogue, critique, compare, negotiate, hypothesize, and problem solve through group work.

    • Teachers as Researchers: Working as a member of a teaching team, the role of the teacher is that of a learner alongside the children. The teacher is a facilitator and resource.

    • Documentation: Similar to the use of a portfolio, documentation of children’s work in progress is viewed as an important tool in the learning process for children, teachers, and parents.

    • Environment: Within the Reggio Emilia schools, great attention is given to the look and feel of the classroom. The environment is considered an important and essential component of the learning process.

  • Tools of the Mind - Tools of the Mind is based on a Vygotskian approach, incorporating the idea that cognitive and social/emotional self-regulation is important to school readiness. Brain research indicates the areas of the brain responsible for self-regulatory capacities develop during preschool. The importance of self-regulation is not only supported by research evidence, it is ranked as the major characteristic necessary for school readiness by kindergarten teachers. Primary aspects of a Tools of the Mind classroom:

    • It is a cooperative classroom where children learn to work with each other, help each other learn, and are not afraid to make mistakes.

    • Children engage in activities that help them develop focused attention and deliberate memory.

    • Children develop cognitive and emotional skills by engaging in mature play.

    • Children develop play plans and cooperate with other children to create play scenarios.

    • Literacy and math skills are taught in an individualized manner, without whole group instruction, in a way that is efficient and manageable for the teacher.

    • The classroom fosters creativity and imagination through drawing, painting, story creation, and play.

Information courtesy of Michigan Department of Education