How To Help Young Children Learn at Home and Beyond


Berrien County Great Start Collaborative offers way to keep young children learning

BERRIEN SPRINGS — Berrien County Great Start Collaborative (GSC) is now offering a way for young children in the area to keep learning during the state’s stay-at-home order.

The group has partnered with Bright by Text, a national parent texting program, to quickly put expert tips, games and child development information directly into the hands of parents and caregivers.

“We are excited to partner with Bright By Text to share actionable information from trusted early childhood experts to parents and caregivers of young children to support healthy child development and build strong, resilient families,” said Kristen Chism, Berrien County GSC director.

The texting service, aimed at parents with children under the age of 8, includes brain development, games and activities, health and wellness, STEM, safety and more. It partners with experts like PBS, Vroom, “Sesame Street,” the CDC, and others to develop content for families.

Chism said the service will also share information from local resources specific to Berrien County, like digital library resources, food pantries and preschool open enrollment periods.

“Being able to share information from local partners is so important during this unprecedented time when families and caregivers need it most,” Chism said.

She said Bright by Test is proven to build nurturing caregiver-child relationships, and positively impact a child’s healthy development and school readiness.

“This innovative service will help provide equitable solutions to early education while schools remain closed,” Chism said.

To sign up, parents and caregivers can text the word “SWMichigan” to 274448. They will receive two to four text messages per week, and each message includes a link to a landing page with more detail, short modeling videos and links to related resources.

For more information about Berrien County Great Start Collaborative, visit

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