A new free preschool in Flint will mitigate lead effects for young children by providing services to fight the impact that lead exposure has had on them.
A free nationally accredited preschool will be available at Brownell Holmes Stern Academy through the Great Expectations pilot program. The school district and the University of Michigan-Flint are running the program through their Early Childhood and Development Center. Flint schools will finish work on the third classroom this month.
The college Early Childhood Development Center has a waiting list of 300, but families with children ages 3-5 will use the services at no cost through the partnership between the UM-Flint and the Flint Community Schools.
“We all know this early education is critically important for our children,” said Flint Community Schools Superintendent Bilal Tawwab. “It always has been but given the lead crisis our community it’s even more critical to activate children’s minds and bodies to combat the effects of lead exposure.”
Currently 20 children are enrolled in Great Expectations. The district will expand that to 50 children and the hope is to eventually have 250 students enrolled. Regular meals and snacks will be offered, as well as additional fruits and vegetables through the day. There will also be various fitness programs.
“Coming into the Flint community schools we also know that children need the nutritional component due to the lead crisis,” said Starletta Rett-Henry, U of M-Flint Early Childhood and Development Center head teacher. “We’re offering a morning snack to make sure their bellies are being full all throughout the day.