S aginaw County Great Start Collaborative 
June 2015

Summer is here!    

It's almost officially the summer season with the school year quickly winding down. How can you help your children and family enjoy the warm weather months and keep learning right through until September?  


Reading is key and our local libraries have great summer reading programs. For active learning, the Saginaw County Parks have play dates throughout the summer as does the Saginaw County Birth to Five program.  

  • Park play dates are 10-11 a.m. twice a month at Imerman Park, 3495 Midland Road, in Saginaw Township. Call 989-790-5280 for dates and themes.
  • Birth to Five playgroups are 10-11:30 a.m. on the last Wednesday of every month at Brunkow Elementary, 3000 S. 24th in Saginaw.  

Get outside and enjoy some free slower time with your families this summer! 


Fifth Annual Great Start Day at the Zoo was a huge success!



On Thursday, May 7th, the Great Start Collaboratives of Saginaw, Bay-Arenac, and Midland counties held their 5th annual Great Start Day at the Zoo event at the  

Children's Zoo at Celebration Square in Saginaw. In the span of 4 short hours, 3,700 people walked through the gates! A record-breaking attendance for this event! Many families were return participants who said they look forward to attending this event every year.


This year we also had the Saginaw Police Department on hand to provide families with the opportunity to see their police vehicles up close, talk with officers, and learn more about being a police officer. Kids loved sitting in vehicles and getting their pictures taken with the officers. We cannot thank the Saginaw Police Department enough for their involvement in this year's event! 


In fact, this event wouldn't have been a success without the help of many community partners. We would like to thank the  Children's Zoo at Celebration Square for their continued partnership, the planning committee that put many hours into ensuring this event was a success, the early childhood agencies from around the region that came out  to volunteer their time by sharing  resources and engaging in activities with families, the many volunteers that helped throughout the day and evening, Tommy the Magician, magicians Cameron Zvara and Jeff Nalazek, storytelling by Public Libraries of Saginaw and Bay County Library System, Saginaw Police Department, WHNN and WIOG for their marketing and media sponsorship and Meijer for their financial donation.


It truly was an event FOR the region, LED by the region!




pediatricSpotlight: Summer Planner 


 Summer safety tips:

  • Use tic/bug repellant to minimize bug related illnesses. Don't forget to spray the pets with insect repellent also; they love to snuggle with the kiddos!
  • Update the bicycle safety helmets for the proper fit. Be a good and safe example and wear one also!
  • Teach kiddos to walk across the street and not run out from between parked cars. Always hold hands!
  • Remember - water safety covers pools, baby pools, buckets, streams, bathtubs, toilets and more! No child or adult is "drown proof"; stay within arm's length from your youngster when near or in the water.
  • Avoid sun exposure during peak hours from 10am - 6pm. Apply sunscreen liberally 30 minutes before going out and reapply every 2 hours, more often if swimming. Keep sunglasses and wide brimmed hats near.
  • Avoid bushy, overgrown areas where poison ivy, oak and sumac can be hiding. Learn to recognize what they look like so they can be avoided.
  • Have a first aid kit well stocked and accessible! Keep one in the car for trips and park outings. Keep emergency phone numbers close or programmed into your cell phone.
  • Stay Hydrated!! Don't wait till the kiddos say they're thirsty; offer fluids often. By the time they ask they are already dehydrated!
  • Keep kiddos away from the grill! (Even when done grilling it's still hot.) Be sure to check the internal temperature of meat to be sure it's cooked thoroughly. When picnicking avoid foods that spoil quickly.
  • For more fun ideas see www.pbs.org/parents/summer 

Summer Reading Programs:

  • Barnes & Noble's Summer Reading Program 2015: Read any eight books this summer and record them in this Imagination's Destination Journal. Bring your completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store between May 19 and September 7. Pick your FREE reading adventure from the books listed.
  • Saginaw Public Libraries: Reading is FUN Beach Party - Kick off the Summer Reading Program with a beach party! Join Rick Kelly for sing-alongs, dance-alongs, beach balls, and even a hula hoop and limbo challenge. Dates are:
    • Monday, June 15 - 2 p.m. at Wickes Library
    • Monday, June 15 - 6:30 p.m. at Butman-Fish Library
    • Wednesday, June 17 - 2 p.m. at Hoyt Library
    • Thursday, June 18 - 3 p.m. at Zauel Library
    • For more information on other programs, visit your local library or their website.

Children's Fun Day is August 19
Come back to Summertown with the Saginaw County Great Start Collaborative and Saginaw County Parks & Recreation for Children's Fun Day from 3-7 p.m. on August 19 at Haithco Park, 2121 Schust, in Saginaw Township.
This free event includes entertainment, learning, beach activities, health and safety vendors and more. Food will be available for purchase.
Visit saginawcounty.com/parks for more information.

Parent Voice

The Parent Coalition is ready for summer with two park events planned for June and July and a parent training in August.

  • June 22 is from 3-5 p.m. at the Rainbow's End Playground at Kochville's Krossroads Park. We will have activities and refreshments for this park play date. Also, bring your bikes or trikes to enjoy the path
  • July 23 is from 3-5 p.m. at Richland Township Park in Hemlock, next to the Hemlock Farmer's Market.
  • August 24 is a Parent Evening from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Nativity Lutheran Church in St. Charles. This free evening will include dinner, childcare, and a training session on using your voice as an advocate for your child.

In April, we shared a Parent Evening with childcare providers to talk about child development and dealing with delays. In May, we learned more about Great Start to Quality and Race to the Top services for childcare providers and parents at our morning Parent Coalition meeting. We also hosted a Parent Caf? in St Charles and took part in the Great Start Day at the Zoo and the CAN Council Baby Academy.


Please plan to join us for some fun this summer and find out how to get more involved by contacting Jill Armentrout at 810-441-5347/ jillsarmentrout@gmail.com or Lorisa Bellinger at 989-249-7063/ magicmom3@sbcglobal.net 



Family-Friendly Business Spotlight Winner

The Saginaw County Great Start Collaborative is honoring Leaman's Green Applebarn of Freeland with its Family-Friendly Business Spotlight Award for June-July 2015.

Leaman's family-owned orchard, shop and farm

offer a festive variety of indoor and outdoor activities for all ages and abilities during the summer and fall months. 


Parents who volunteer with the Saginaw County Great Start Parent Coalition helped choose this award designation to honor its community service and help especially to young parents.    

"Mindful of every opportunity to share the vitality of Michigan farmstead history, they want each person who visits the farm to learn or experience at least one new idea about sustainable living, good eating habits, farming, care of the earth, animals, community outreach and more," said the parent who nominated Leaman's.


"This includes hundreds of school-age children who come to the farm and barn on field trips and pick their own apples to see where food comes from. Visitors also enjoy the playground, small animal viewing, hayrides and tasting cider and baked goods. The shop offers affordable handmade wreaths, dried flowers and crafts."


savethedate Remember Dads and Granddads
on their special day
June 21, 2015


Julie Kozan               Jill Armentrout                       Lorisa Bellinger
GSC Director            GSC Lead Parent Liaison           GSC Co-Parent Liaison
jkozan@sisd.cc         jillsarmentrout@gmail.com       magicmom3@sbcglobal.net
989.399.7452           810.441.5347                          989.249.7063

You can also visit our website at www.greatstartsaginaw.org

All children will enter kindergarten safe, healthy and ready to succeed 
in school and in life.