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Allgean County Great Start Families Connected

Newsletter - May 2021

Great Start Families Connected

Come chat with other parents and caregivers about self-care and positive social connections to get support as a parent! Bring a cup of coffee and talk about what is on your mind! Our previous Coffee Chats have consisted of being informal and parent-led by swapping ideas, advice, and lending supports to others. You can come to both as every Coffee Chat is different! Please join us even if you can stay for 15 minutes!

We welcome all parents, caregivers, and grandparents to join us for FREE with a chance to win a gift card!

Join both chats via Zoom here:

WEDNESDAY MAY 5th at 6:30pm to 7:30pm

WEDNESDAY MAY 19th at 3:30pm to 4:30pm

As an overview, in the past we have talked about different ideas and gave each other advice on development, breaking habits, behavior support, and we have been able to support each other during this difficult time as an informal parent/caregiver support group.
Join Our Allegan County Families Facebook Group!
Join our Facebook group to see future events, newsletters, early childhood activities, parenting and self-care tips, and a place to connect with other parents, caregivers, and grandparents locally!
Take Our Families Connected Survey!
Click here to take our short Families Connected survey to help decide days, times, and topics for future meetings!
April is Let's Talk About Feelings Month!
The Center of Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation, which is funded by National Head Start has OVER 70 IDEAS on how to teach your child about feelings and emotions. You can view all of them using this link and we highlighted some of our favorites below!
Daily Ideas
  • Make different emotion faces and have children guess what you might be feeling.
  • While reading stories to children, have children guess how the characters in the story are feeling. Ask questions like “How can you tell that the character is feeling that way? Can you make a face that shows that feeling?”
  • Model the silliest face you can make and have the children participate as well.
  • At lunch, tell the children what is your favorite food and why. They ask them what their favorite food is and why.
  • Use different colors for different feelings: for example red for mad feeling, let the children draw something that makes them feel mad

Weekly Ideas
  • During sensory play (e.g., sand, shaving cream), have children draw what a happy, sad, frustrated, etc. face looks like.
  • For a math activity, create happy and sad faces, let the children create patterns with those faces.
  • Let children cut out people from magazines showing different emotions, let children sort them based on the emotions.

Home Ideas
  • Throughout your routines, model labeling your own emotions (e.g., “I feel frustrated because I cannot open this jar of pickles!”).
  • Throughout the day, help children learn to label their own emotions (e.g., it looks like you are feeling mad that we can't go outside; what can we do to help you feel better?).
  • Add more complicated emotion words to daily talk as children start to understand the basic emotions. Some appropriate examples are “proud,” “disappointed,” “embarrassed,” “surprised,” and many others.

Come to our Play and Learn Groups!

These are the last Play and Learn Groups we will be hosting for the 2020-2021 school year and we would love to see you there! Our May Play and Learn Groups will be virtual, but we are hopeful and excited to see everyone in-person in the Fall!

ALLEGAN - May 4th @ 6pm

PLAINWELL & HOPKINS - May 20th @ 10am

MARTIN & FENNVILLE - May 26th @ 11am

WAYLAND - May 11th @ 10am

OTSEGO - May 19th @ 10am

Thank you everyone who have attended any of our Play and Learn Groups this year. We appreciate your understanding, patience, and support during our virtual groups and we are so happy we could deliver them in some way during the 2020-2021 school year.

Come to our Play and Learn groups for a chance to win one of two gift baskets! This basket includes: Self Care Kit for Adult and Child- Stuffed animal, pencils, hand sanitizer, head massager, fuzzy socks, felt heart stickers.
May 7th is Child's Mental Health Awareness Day!

Have your child enter our art contest! You can scan the QR code above or tap the link to join our Faceback Allegan Art Contest Group!

Are you wondering how to sign your child up for Kindergarten for the 2021-2022 school year?
Well, it's time to sign up your preschoolers for Kindergarten!
You can use the information on the flyer above to enroll and ask any questions you may have.
  • Baker Elementary: (269) 782-9208
  • Dorr Elementary: (269) 681-9637

2021-2022 Preschool Registration


To see if your child qualifies for free preschool visit:
or call (269) 512-7775.

If your child does not quality for free preschool, one of our Great Start Family Coaches will reach out to you and connect you to other Preschool Partners in Allegan County.

Parent Workshops & Webinars


Allegan County Community Mental Health
Parent Support Group - Tuesday May 11th @ 7pm to 8pm
Suicide Prevention: Question, Persuade Refer (QPR) Workshop - Monday May 17th @ 6pm-7:30pm

Arbor Circle
Nurturing Parent Class - Wednesdays April 14th to June 16th @ 1pm-2:30pm
Virtual Parenting Series: Building Relationships - Monday May 3rd @ 8pm-9pm
Virtual Parenting Series: Sleep & the Growing Brain - Monday May 10th @ 8pm-9pm
Virtual Parenting Series: Assertiveness - Monday May 17th @ 8pm-9pm
Virtual Parenting Series: Racial Healing - Monday May 24th @ 8pm-9pm
Virtual Parenting Series: Time Management - Monday May 31st @ 8pm-9pm

Community Action of Allegan County (Head Start)
Ready for Kindergarten Family Workshop - Monday May 3rd @ 7:30pm-8:30pm

Girls Scouts of Michigan
Make New Friends (Kalamazoo Region) for Kindergarten & First Grade Series - Tuesdays May 4th to May 25th @ 5pm-5:30pm

Michigan Alliance For Families
Building Parent Leaderdhip Skills in Early Childhood - Every other Monday April 12th to May 24th @ 7pm to 8pm

Michigan State University Extension
MSU Extension's Facebook Page for LIVE events
The Parent Talk System - Mondays April 19th to May 24th @ 7pm-8:30pm
Parenting Hour Positive Discipline - Tuesday May 4th @ 8pm-9:30pm
Kids Say the Meanest Things - Thursday May 6th @ 6:30pm
Guiding Principles for Highly Successful Parenting Series - Wednesdays May 5th-June 2nd @ 1:00pm-2:30pm
Parenting Hour Young at Heart - Tuesday May 11th @ 8pm-9:30pm
Parenting Hour Working Together to Develop Literacy Skills - Tuesday May 18th @ 8pm-9:30pm
Learning to Talk & Language Development - Thursday May 20th @ 10am
Parenting Hour Together We Can: Co-Parenting - Tuesday May 25th @ 8pm-9:30pm

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Michigan Stay Well Mental Health Resources

If you’re feeling emotional distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, get free, confidential support from a Michigan Stay Well counselor.

Dial 1-888-535-6136 and press “8”

The Stay Well counseling line is available 24/7.

Michigan Stay Well also provides the following free services for Michigan residents:
Virtual Support Groups
Older Adults - Wednesdays at 10am
Families (parents) - Mondays at 4pm
Educators - Tuesdays at 4pm
Front-line Workers - Thursdays at 4pm
People Using Substances to Cope with Stress - Fridays at 4pm
People Facing Unemployment - Tuesdays at 11am

Helplines - Call & Text For the Following:
Michigan Stay Well Counseling via the COVID-19 Hotline
National Disaster Distress Helpline
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Hotline
Michigan Crisis Text Line
Michigan PEER Warmline

Live & Recorded Mental Health Webinars, Behavior Health Guides, and other Video Resources are also available through Michigan Stay Well.
Contact Allegan County Community Mental Health for Local Services
For 24-hour crisis service call:
269-673-0202 or 1-888-354-0596
TTY/TDD #269-686-5313

To apply for services call Access:
269-673-0202 or 1-888-354-0596

ACCMHS Business Hours*:
Monday - Friday 8AM to 5PM
* Some services may be made available outside these hours.

Allegan County Community Mental Health
3285 122nd Avenue
P.O. Box 130
Allegan, MI 49010

The information below on has been provided by Allegan County Community Mental Health:
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Copyright © 2021 Help Me Grow Allegan, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
310 Thomas Street,
Allegan, MI 49010

For questions, contact:
Stormie Drake
Great Start Parent Liaison
(269) 512-7747

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Help Me Grow · 310 Thomas St · Allegan, MI 49010-9158 · USA

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