Why early education matters

April 17, 2020


Early Childhood Education

Build an educational foundation that will help your child succeed.

The importance of early childhood education (ECE)

Research has shown that 90% of a child’s brain development happens before age five. Through early childhood education (ECE) children get to participate in quality early learning experiences and caring relationships, which research and experience shows prepares them for greater success in school and life.

ECE is more than just “daycare.” Children benefit from programs that provide:

  • Evidence-based curricula
  • Developmental assessments and nutritious meals
  • Opportunities for parents/guardians

ECE programs are run by trained professional educators licensed by the State of Michigan. They are required to have background checks, fingerprinting, professional development, safety inspections, and compliance checks.

Types of licensed child care centers

Child care center

A facility based in a commercial building that receives one or more children for care (without parents present) for periods of less than 24 hours a day.

Home-based family care home

A facility based in a home that cares for 1–6 unrelated children for more than 4 weeks a year.

Group child care home

A center based in a home that provides care for 7–12 unrelated children for more than 4 weeks a year.

Here are some things to consider when evaluating your ECE options.

Star Rating

The state of Michigan rates ECE centers through their Quality Rating Improvement System. Participation in the rating system is optional. Providers that do participate can receive 0–5 stars.

Teacher Training and Experience

ECE centers are staffed with teachers who have varying degrees of experience and professional training, which may include a degree in early childhood education and continuing professional development coursework.


Some ECE centers follow a structured curriculum and/or Great Start to Readiness, Michigan’s approved set of curricula for use in the statewide PreK program.

Helpful resources:

Did you know?

  • Kids who aren’t reading at grade level by 3rd grade are 4 times more likely to drop out of school (Heckman, J.J. 2017 in Hope Starts Here report)
  • Low-income children who participate in high-quality ECE earn up to 25% higher incomes than their peers when they grow up (Heckman, J.J. 2017 in Hope Starts Here report)
  • Research finds that nearly half of the black-white kindergarten achievement gap could be eliminated with high-quality ECE (Duncan and Magnuson 2013, in 2014 White House report)

Written by Brilliant Detroit - Cindy Eggleton