New daycare could be coming to Rapid’s downtown bus station

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Child care is expensive and not easy to find. Add a full-time or part-time job and the equation becomes more difficult.

Through a partnership with Grand Rapids Public Schools, the WK Kellogg Foundation may have found a way to solve both problems. Their latest proposal is an early childhood development center inside the city center rapid bus station, allowing parents on the go to drop off their children and get to work in seconds.

“Just a one-stop shop of opportunity,” said Yazeed Moore, senior program manager at the Kellogg Foundation. “Parents have to work, so… where do you put your child to ensure they are in a healthy and nurturing environment?”

The Kellogg Foundation already has a strong partnership with GRPS – together they run programs for early childhood development in eight of the system’s schools. Their Preschool Deliberate Play, or PPTK, programs have been helping children ages 0-5 for several years.

Moore says early childhood education is more than snacks and naps, it’s an important first step in a lifetime of nurturing.

“It starts the life of a child. It leads to higher graduation rates, it leads to better productivity,” he said. “It’s all about how do we make sure children and families have access to the best quality education to live their best lives.”

While the project is still in its early stages, the hope would be to make room for around 80 children in the new centre. The downtown Rapid station is already zoned for mixed-use development.

“We are always excited to explore innovative opportunities with partners,” said Deb Prato, CEO of Rapid. “The Early Childhood Development Partnership is in its infancy and we are currently exploring the possibility of moving forward. Ultimately, transit is integrated into the fabric of our community, we are committed to exploring partnerships that make our community a more equitable and accessible region.

The aim is to make childcare accessible and journeys shorter. The program, if approved, would target low-income residents. In 2018, the Kellogg Foundation conducted a geographic survey and found that downtown was particularly devoid of child care, so the need is there.

“It not only prepares the future workforce, it also supports our current workforce,” Moore said.

To learn more about the WK Kellogg Foundation, click here.

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