Great Start Collaborative Partner Spotlight: MSU Extension

Describe your agency.


Cooperative Extension Systems are part of Land Grant Universities nationwide. In Michigan, Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) responds to the needs of communities by bringing the knowledge and research of Michigan State University to people throughout the state. We provide education on a variety of topics housed in four institutes: Agriculture and Agribusiness; Community, Food and Environment; Health and Nutrition; and Children and Youth.


What programs do you offer for young children and their families?


Our Child and Family Development Team within the Children and Youth Institute supports children and families by providing parenting education, family engagement programming, and professional development for caregivers and early childhood professionals. We offer statewide virtual webinars as well as local in-person programming in collaboration with community partners.


How do families enroll in your programs?


Families can enroll in our statewide webinars on an ongoing basis. They can either go to our website,, follow us on Facebook @MIStrongerFamily, or email Courtney Aldrich,, to be added to a monthly distribution list of our upcoming programs with registration links. For local programs, we collaborate with community partners to market the programs and provide enrollment information.


How does your organization use parent voice to inform your programs?


All of our programs are developed in response to the needs of agencies and parents in our communities. We often receive requests for particular types of programs. For example, many parents request classes on discipline, helping children manage their big feelings and stress, and co-parenting. We also ask participants to evaluate our programs and we remain responsive to participant feedback regarding the relevancy of our programs for various audiences as well as the programs they would like to have us offer.


What do you most appreciate about your GSC membership?


We love the strong partnerships we have with our Great Start Collaboratives. The GSC brings together such a wide variety of agencies working for children and families and brings us all the opportunity to know each other’s work and partner with one another to share and provide resources and programming. Our children and families benefit from the way the GSC acts as the hub and leader in identifying and bringing others together to meet the needs of young children and families.


Funding from the Office of Great Start within the Michigan Department of Education supports the implementation of Great Start.