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We’ve compiled a guide of need-to-know information and resources for childcare and returning to school in 2021. 

MICHIGAN—School season is upon us. And thus, so is the annual pilgrimage to Meijer, Target, or Walmart to talk your kid out of a $50 bedazzled backpack as you wander the aisles in search of necessary supplies.

Still, the tradition isn’t the same—not right now, given the emergence of the highly contagious Delta variant and the accompanying resurgence of COVID-19 cases. This is a stressful time for everyone, especially families and caregivers. 

But you’re not alone. Whether you need childcare, financial support or guidance, organizations throughout the state and country are offering support.

This post compiles helpful resources for Michigan families. 

Please reach out to isaac@couriernewsroom.com to add a resource to the list or request more information.

Back-to-School Resources

Making Lessons Entertaining

Detroit Public TV Educational Resources: DPTV shows and resources for children are available 24/7 online and on the PBS KIDS app. There you can catch “Arthur” or drop your kids off at “Pre-School U.” These activities are engaging and educational.

WKAR At-Home Learning: WKAR in mid-Michigan has similarly expanded its programming, including “Curious Crew,” produced in house. Its offerings include learning tips and resources for families, which can be found in the weekday newsletter.

Specifically for the Littles 

Online Instructional Resources – Early Childhood: The state of Michigan has compiled online resources for young children, ranging from reading to telehealth.

Mi Kids Matter: For those with children ages 0 to 3, good childcare can be hard to find. This website will put you in touch with childcare providers and give you kits for what to do along the way.

Great Start to Quality: Find information and rankings for childcare options in your area.

An Older Student’s Research Tool Box 

The Henry Ford: If you’re staying home, creativity doesn’t have to cut off. Teach your kids with these online programs curated for all age groups, like coloring exercises for the little ones and engineering activities for the not-too-little.

Michigan eLibrary: Find the reading material and research you need to help with homework or projects or pursue a passion in physics or art history.

Help for Special Education Families 

Michigan Alliance for Families: Supported by the state of Michigan, the Michigan Alliance for Families offers resources and help for parents whose children have special education needs. Many of these needs have changed during the pandemic, and the Michigan Alliance for Families has adjusted to provide for the new environment.

Family Matters: Use these fact sheets to update yourself on special education options in Michigan.

ALSO: Clarity in a Tense Moment Could Mean All the Difference for Michiganders With Autism

Support for Grandma and Grandpa & Aunt and Uncle

Family Caregiving: Many families aren’t only taking care of children but aging or ill family members, as well. If this is you, this page can point you to resources.

AARP Guide for Grandfamilies: It’s not uncommon for the burden of childcare to fall on grandparents. These family units, known as “grandfamilies,” are all the more common during COVID-19.

Grandfamilies.org: For more on grandfamilies, visit this website.

MORE: A Historic Investment in Schools Will Change Students’ Education for the Better. But Will It Last?

A Financial Helping Hand 

MI Bridges: MI Bridges is where you can go to find resources on a variety of childcare needs and manage your case information within the state.

Income Eligibility Scale: See what you need to qualify for the CDC financial assistance program.

Child Development and Care: Reference this page for information on Michigan’s Child Development and Care program.

Staying Safe in the New School Year 

COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens: What should you know about the COVID-19 vaccine for kids and teenagers? Click here for more.

COVID-19 Parental Resources Kit: The pandemic has had a physical, emotional, and mental impact for children, even if they haven’t always expressed it. Here’s what you can do to mitigate the negative effects.

My Child Is Showing Signs of COVID-19 at School. What Do I Do?: This step-by-step guide shows you what to do after you get a phone call from the nurse’s office.

Helping Children Cope: Know the warning signs for when a child is feeling depressed, and know what your role is.

Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools: Here’s what you can do to stop the spread.

RELATED: ‘Coming Back to the Unknown’: Michigan Makes ‘Historic’ Investment in Student Mental Health in 2021