Muskegon Rescue Mission opens affordable day care

What’s happening: Bright Futures Daycare & Preschool, located at 1747 Seventh St., is now open to serve Muskegon families. Bright Futures is an extension of Muskegon Rescue Mission, one of the largest faith-based emergency shelter providers in West Michigan. This new licensed day care and preschool offers low-income families affordable, quality child care.

Why it’s important: Homelessness and housing instability experiences in early childhood are associated with delays in children’s language, literacy, and social development. The average homeless child moves as many as three times a year. Typically, children from low-income or homeless families entering kindergarten are 12 to 14 months behind their peers in language and social skills. This achievement gap tends to persist and may widen. These young learners benefit significantly from a solid foundation in learning and a strong start in their education.

How it works: Bright Futures utilizes a research-based curriculum to enhance the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive growth of the children they serve. The program considers each child’s abilities and interests to develop activities fostering growth and development in social, emotional, self-regulation, curiosity, and creative avenues. The program is led by professionals with decades of experience in academic development and cognitive learning, and incorporates a STEAM-based curriculum (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics). 

Who can participate: Bright Futures Daycare & Preschool is open to children from newborn to 12 years old and has space for 105 children. Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis. If enrollment is full, children will be placed on a waitlist and parents contacted as an opening occurs. Rates for day care range from free to market rate in accordance with the state of Michigan Child Development and Care program. During enrollment, the center will work with parents individually to achieve a rate plan that addresses their financial needs. This will provide low-income families with affordable child care as they continue to work or seek employment opportunities to help them overcome poverty. 

Center hours: The center is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Rooms are divided into age-appropriate groups: Infants (newborn to 1.5 years), Toddlers (1.5 to 3 years), Preschool (3 to 5 years), and School Age (K-12 years). Children are served two family-style meals and two snacks daily, free of charge. 

What they’re saying: “STEAM education is an approach to teaching and learning that combines science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math. A child’s excitement for learning is sparked by incorporating fun, hands-on activities,” says Bright Futures Daycare & Preschool Director Nicole Hawkins. “Children are naturally curious, and the Bright Futures program will let them question, wonder, experiment, and explore. This experience will bring education to life and provide a solid foundation.

“By investing in preschool, a key education component, we can help unlock equality across race, geography, and income,” Hawkins says. “Bright Futures Daycare & Preschool is committed to ensuring all young people, particularly the most vulnerable, are prepared for a future where they can fulfill their greatest potential through a strong start in their education.”

To learn about Bright Futures Daycare & Preschool program or complete enrollment, families are encouraged to visit

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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.