Early Childhood

Our mission is to model child-centered, play-based environments that support critical thinking skills, develop positive self-esteem, and facilitate independence and competence.

Full Day Preschool: Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) - Begins Tuesday, September 5, 2023

The Grand Rapids Public Schools Great Start Readiness Program is a state-funded full day free preschool program for qualifying four-year-old children. To qualify for GSRP, children must turn 4 on or before December 1. An age waiver may be available for scholars who turn 4 between September 2nd and December 1st. 

Learning in a Grand Rapids Public Schools World-Class Preschool through GSRP prepares children to be successful in kindergarten and beyond. Experts agree that children who have quality early learning experiences are better prepared to be successful in school and throughout life. Preschool is the essential first step in your child's lifelong education. Children have opportunities to build social skills daily, making decisions, solving problems, discovering friendships, and above all - build a love for learning!

Our GSRP World-Class Preschool Offers:

  • 24 Safe, Convenient Locations throughout Grand Rapids.
  • Highly Qualified World-Class Teachers who monitor each child's progress and partner with families to support at-home development.
  • Inclusive Classroom Learning that encourages social, cognitive, and physical development supported by a research-based curriculum. Children interact in both large and small groups. The environment and activities are designed to assist in the development of pre-reading, pre-math, science, social studies, and the arts. 
  • Free, Nutritious Meals
  • Adventurous Field Trips that encourage learning in new environments. 
  • Family Engagement Events

Great Start Readiness Program Schools: 

Apply Today:

Application begins mid-February, and placement rounds start in July. Children are placed in order of eligibility and are not guaranteed a spot. An intake application must be completed and on file to be placed. Many families qualify for free preschool through the Great Start Readiness Program grant. If a family's income exceeds grant eligibility, there is a potential tuition option.  Call our Early Childhood Office at 616-819-2111 to see if your child qualifies or email EarlyChildhood@grps.org to learn more. 

 Apply for GSRP

GSRP developed under a grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Education provided in partnership with  Kent Intermediate School District

Q. How does my family/child qualify for the GSRP Preschool?

A. The Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) is funded by the Michigan Department of Education and has defined a list of eligibility factors, primarily income. Information collected during the formal application process determines eligibility status and placement.

Q. What documents are required for GSRP Preschool?

A. You will need to submit your child's certified birth certificate, immunization record, physical/health appraisal completed in the past year, proof of income, and proof of residence that your family resides in (current gas/electric, rent/lease/mortgage document). Other required paperwork will need to be completed with the Preschool teaching team prior to your child starting, along with GRPS online registration.

Q. Is my child automatically enrolled once I complete the application for GSRP Preschool?

A. The intake application is the first step in the process to applying for preschool. After completing the application, you will still need to provide income documentation, additional information to verify eligibility, and complete the enrollment process. Priority for enrollment is based on family income and additional life experiences. Tuition free programs are required to follow prioritization guidelines when enrolling children into State Funded Preschool programs. Eligibility is primarily based on family income (federal poverty level), life experiences and child's age.

The Great Start Readiness Program is funded by the Michigan Department of Education and has a defined list of eligibility factors. Preschool applications are reviewed for Head Start eligibility first. Each child must qualify for the preschool program based on guidelines that include income verification and documentation of other school readiness risk factors.


  1. Children who meet the current age entry date (September 1), whose family income is between 0-100% federal poverty level (FPL), or meets one of the established categorical eligibility criteria.
  2. Children who meet the current age entry date and whose family’s income is between 0%‐250% FPL.
  3. Children who meet the current age entry date, whose family income is over 250% FPL and will pay tuition to participate only if seats are still available.
  4. Children who are in the age gap entry date of September 2 to December 1 whose family income is between 0%-250% FPL.

Q. What is the age eligibility for GSRP Preschool?

A. Children must be 4 by September 1st of the current year. If an age waiver is offered by the state (yearly decision made by the State), this would also allow children who are four between September 2nd of the current year and December 1st of the current year. Children who are 5 by September 1st of the current year are too old and are not eligible to attend GSRP.

Q. When is the first day of GSRP Preschool?

A. Preschool students who have been placed usually begin the week after the elementary students begin. The assigned preschool teacher will communicate your specific start date once required documents are received, required paperwork is completed, and online registration is completed. 

Q. Is bus transportation available for my GSRP Preschool child?

A. Bus transportation is available for students who are attending their neighborhood (attendance area) school and are more than one mile away from their neighborhood (attendance area) school. Transportation is not available for students who are attending a school that is not their neighborhood (attendance area) school, including theme schools.