CMU's Brazelton Touchpoints Program graphic

Finding the right preschool for your child can be difficult and frustrating as schools immediately fill up or only offer part-time care.

One couple from Alma found an incredible childcare center in Mt. Pleasant at Central Michigan University's campus.

"There is so much more that he can do now on his own that was not possible just a couple months ago," said Stephanie Terrian.

When Stephanie and her husband, Cody, enrolled their son, Ian, at the Child Development and Learning Laboratory at Central Michigan University, it was initially a shock to 4-year-old Ian.

Now, after being at the center for only a couple of months, Stephanie is so happy to see her son open up and make friends while improving on his writing skills and speech skills.

"He is always talking about his friends and how much fun he has," Stephanie said. "It was not like that before. He's definitely opened quite a bit since being here." 

Ian has been able to grow and learn through a new program offered at CMU's Child Center, the Touchpoint program.

The mission of the new program is to create a healthy and open dialogue while creating a positive environment.

"Touchpoint's program really lets the parents know this is a safe place," said Amy Bond, field placement coordinator at CMU's Child Center. "This is a safe place that their children enjoy coming too and that we're there to support them as much as we're there to support their children." 

The program involves two key steps: incorporating parents throughout the year and annual provider training.

Teachers do home visits before school starts and call parents monthly throughout the year in order to create family goals and check on at-home practices.

"As you start building these relationships and they start feeling better about it and want to come because they know we want them and appreciate them," said Margaret Desornes, the lab director at CMU's Child Center. "The more they are here and feel welcomed here, the better their children do." 

The center can help a total of 72 children thanks to a partnership with CMU's Early Child Development and Early Education programs.

The students are earning college credit while getting hands-on experience.

"We are also able to give the children so many more experiences because we have enough adults to spread children out throughout the center," Desornes said.

Ian will begin kindergarten next year. His parents say that they feel ready for him to move on and it's only November.

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