Great Start Readiness Program

The Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) is Michigan's state-funded preschool program designed for four-year-old children. The GSRP was designed to provide a high-quality preschool experience for children with factors potentially placing them at risk educationally. Eligibility for GSRP is based on income and/or other risk factors, however programs may enroll up to 10% of children who are over income. Research on preschool programs and specific research on GSRP indicates that children provided with a high-quality preschool experience show significant positive developmental differences when compared to children from the same backgrounds who did not attend a high-quality preschool program.

The GSRP is administered by the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Great Start. Locally, the Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Service Agency (MARESA) is the grantee of the Great Start Readiness Program with responsibility for oversight of the grant and all of the components therein. MARESA collaborates with several agencies, including the Marquette County Great Start Collaborative, our sub-recipients, local school district representatives, and parents.

There are currently ten Great Start Readiness Programs operating in the Marquette and Alger counties. All programs must meet the criteria established by the State of Michigan, including staff with early childhood credentials and training in curriculum. The GSRP program follows the Standards of Quality and Curriculum Guidelines set by the Michigan State Board of Education and licensing requirements of the Department of Human Services. Legislation also requires each GSRP sub-recipient to participate in the Great Start to Quality STAR rating system and obtain at least a 3 STAR rating (from a possible 5). This system evaluates programs based on quality indicators aligned with Michigan's Early Childhood Standards of Quality for Infant and Toddler Programs and Early Childhood Standards of Quality for Prekindergarten.

GSRP enrollment for 2018-19
For the 2018-19 year, children must turn 4 years of age on or before September 1.  However, a provision exits for parents who wish to request early enrollment for children who will turn 4 after September 1, but on or before December 1.

If you would like additional information on GSRP, including eligibility and how to apply, please contact your MARESA GSRP Early Childhood Contact, Tammy Nyen at 906-226-5160 or e-mail:, or the MARESA GSRP Early Childhood Specialist, Diane Gilfoy, at 906-226-5172 or e-mail:


These materials were developed under a grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE).