At Starfish, we believe that early learning has lifelong benefits.
The best education possible!
We’re committed to providing the best education possible for our youngest children, and one that supports the whole child and the whole family. Did you know? Essential brain development occurs during the first three years of a child’s life. As such, the years before kindergarten are critical, and Starfish is here for every step of that journey.
Who is eligible for Starfish ECE programs?
We offer free (must be income eligible) programs for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old. Our Marygrove Early Childhood Center offers tuition-paying options. Starfish also supports moms-to-be and pregnant mothers with children. Learn about our home-based ECE programming and our Nurse-Family Partnership program.
Starfish ECE center locations
We have 13 ECE centers located in Wayne County, Michigan. Our interactive map provides directions and service information for all centers. You may also visit our Locations page for a full list of Starfish sites.
Starfish ECE program offerings
All Starfish Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs are designed to promote the development of children during their foundational years. This prepares children for eventual success in school, work, and life. Our programs also emphasize the role of parents and caregivers as a child’s first and most important teachers. We partner with you to build on your unique strengths in order to meet the unique needs of your children.
Prenatal & Infant/Toddler Programs (prenatal to age 3)
Infant/Toddler programs are tailored for the specific needs of our very youngest learners. We promote physical, cognitive (mental processes associated with learning, such as remembering and problem-solving), social, and emotional development through safe and developmentally enriching caregiving.
Preschool Programs (ages 3 to 5)
Our preschool programing promotes school readiness of children by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development. We provide a learning environment that supports children’s growth in many areas such as language, literacy, and social and emotional development.
Great Start Readiness Program (4-year-olds)
The Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) is Michigan’s state-funded preschool program for four-year-old children. Several of our centers offer GSRP options, which focus on creating a safe, nurturing place for children to learn, explore, and build relationships.
Starfish Early Childhood Education highlights
- Center-based and home-based programs.
- High-quality HighScope® curriculum, which is based on interactive, hands-on learning, and individual creativity.
- Dedicated, caring, and professional teaching staff—100% of our teachers have an associates, bachelor’s, master’s degree and/or Child Development (CDA) credentials.
- Low child-to-staff ration, which means more individual attention.
- Your family will be paired with a Starfish Family Service Guide (FSG), who helps you navigate the ECE program and steers you toward services your family may need.
- Whole-child wellness: social, emotional, and developmental. Each Early Childhood Center has an on-site licensed Preschool Behavioral Health Therapist (PBHT).
- Starfish has a wide array of behavioral health services. Our PBHTs can work with your family to create an integrated One Starfish program just for you.
- Whole-child wellness: nutrition. Nutrition education as part of the curriculum helps establish a foundation for healthy eating habits throughout life.
- A nutritious breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack are served in a family-style setting at our centers. All are low in sugar, salt, and fat.
- Whole-child wellness: physical health. Medical, vision, hearing, and dental screenings.
- We encourage and support family members to actively volunteer in the classroom.
- We help empower family members to be early-learning advocates and leaders through opportunities such as parent policy council and parent policy committee.
What is a home-based program?
- We bring school to you—in the comfort of your own home!
- Focusing on: moms-to-be and pregnant moms with children ages birth to three
- A certified and trained Starfish staffer will arrange biweekly visits with you and your children year-round.
- One-on-one and customized plans based on YOUR needs. This might include:
- Prenatal information
- Emotional & social support
- Referrals and resources
What do our families say?
- Virtual learning: “Our teachers have been in constant contact which I appreciate so much—whether it’s calling to check in or giving me further educational ideas to help me help my daughter during this time.”
- Whole-family support: “The family service guide at my center is amazing! My family was in need of some mental health services and she went above and beyond in helping us find the services we so desperately needed!”
- Leg up on learning: “Liliana is 5! She is ready for Kindergarten thanks to the amazing teachers at Starfish! She honestly had the best, most caring teachers. They helped her learn many new skills such as talking, colors, counting, and even how to make friends! I recommend all parents to contact Starfish and enroll their child.”
Starfish ECE partnerships
Thrive by Five
Thrive by Five Detroit is a collaborative partnership among three Detroit social service agencies: Development Centers, Focus: HOPE, and Starfish Family Services. Our goal? To offer innovative Infant/Toddler and Preschool programs to families in Detroit. What is the Starfish role? We operate as the lead agency and fiduciary.
Great Start Collaborative
The Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) is Michigan’s state-funded preschool program for four-year-old children with factors which may place them at risk of educational failure. The program is administered by the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Great Start. Starfish is part of the Great Start Collaborative Wayne County