Early Childhood Programs
Portage Public Schools offers Early Childhood Programs that are income-eligibility based and tuition-based. These programs are available at select sites throughout the district. Please inquire with the program coordinator listed below for enrollment and other information. Also listed below are area programs administered outside of Portage Public Schools.
Portage Public Schools Curious Kids Program is a tuition-based preschool to meet the needs of your 3- and 4-year-olds. Our Bright Beacon and Safe Harbor Preschools help develop knowledge, skills, and behaviors that prepare children for Kindergarten. There are nine areas of development and learning – physical, cognitive, social-emotional, literacy, language, mathematics, science, social studies, and the arts. We encourage children to use their imaginations and problem-solving skills to create a fun and stimulating learning environment. Both programs utilize the Creative Curriculum, which provides research-based learning opportunities and Lively Letters, which brings the letter sounds to life.
Curious Kids Milham Office, 269-323-6780
Michigan’s Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) is a high-quality preschool education for students who turn 4 by September 1 of the enrolling school year. GSRP eligibility is primarily based on income. Some families above the income limit may be eligible, but may need to pay a fee based on a sliding scale. The GSRP location in Portage is housed at Woodland Elementary.
Georgia Boyle, 269-323-6614
Kristin Kelly, 269-323-6625
Kathleen Kline, 269-323-6623
Portage Head Start
Head Start is a Pre-K program that facilitates young children’s learning through experience. The county-wide program runs from September to June and is offered at 12 locations around Kalamazoo County. Head Start provides children with learning activities that focus on social/emotional, physical, and intellectual growth, as well as early math and literacy skills. It also offers services for the families of enrolled children. These services support parents in their role as a child’s first teacher, since doing so helps to strengthen family ties. Head Start focuses on the developmental needs of the child and family.
KRESA, 269-250-9200 – Ask for Head Start office
For more information and applications for Head Start and the GSRP visit kresa.org
Kalamazoo County Ready 4s
Kalamazoo County Ready 4s is a community-designed high quality pre-Kindergarten program for 4-year-olds. It is focused on helping local public and private pre-kindergarten programs offer tuition assistance to qualifying families so they can afford to enroll their 4-year-olds in a high-quality pre-kindergarten program; while building a sustainable pre-kindergarten program for all 4-year-olds in Kalamazoo County.
Donna Neevel, 269-366-9140
Early Childhood Special Education
Children ages 3-5 may be enrolled in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE), an intervention program for various disabilities or impairments when determined eligible according to the Michigan Special Education Rules and Regulations. Parents request assessment through the KRESA Pre-Primary Evaluation Team (PET). Services to be provided are specified at an Individualized Educational Planning (IEP) team meeting. For more information, contact the PPS Special Education office or Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency (KRESA).
Linda Buel, 269-323-5010