Early childhood & INFANT CARE OPTIONS
Finding, choosing, and affording the licensed child care that is right for your child and family can be challenging. Fortunately, there are local organizations here to aid your search and provide the resources you need. For a comprehensive search of all licensed child care programs in Michigan, visit Great Start to Quality, the state’s quality improvement system that supports child care providers and families. Additionally, from child care to developmental concerns to play groups, 5toOne is your connection to early childhood resources in the 5 counties of Northwest Lower Michigan. Learn more about funding assistance with the Tri-Share Pilot Program that splits the cost of care between participating employers, employees, and the State of Michigan.
ANGEL CARE CHILD CARE
Located on the east side of Traverse City, Angel Care Child Care is a non-profit organization that provides loving, quality early childhood programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
BUILDING BLOCKS PRESCHOOL & CDC
The staff at Building Blocks Preschool implements themed lesson plans using hands-on activities and experiments, helping build confidence and self-respect, and incorporating a variety of classes such as music and Spanish. This preschool and kindergarten-prep school is conveniently located near downtown TC.
The Pathfinder School has two pre-kindergarten classrooms for children between 3 to 5 years old. The early childhood program focuses on the whole child; their social, emotional, physical, and mental growth. Pathfinder strives to create authentic relationships between children and teachers as well as help children possess a sense of belonging within the community.
Pathways Preschool cultivates a space of curiosity and wonder that fosters playfulness and exploration. Pathways values the journey over the destination, and trust in children’s basic goodness to guide them towards self-mastery.
TCAPS EARLY CHILDHOOD
TCAPS’ early childhood programs provide the youngest learners the opportunity to create, explore, think and reason in environments that are nurturing, respectful, engaging and fun. TCAPS offers preschool, Montessori, Great Start Readiness, special education, and extended day care.
TEDDY BEAR DAY CARE & PRESCHOOL
Teddy Bear Daycare & Preschool LLC. was founded in 1984. Over the years, it has evolved into a unique and wonderful environment that was designed by the children, for the children with an emphasis on social, emotional, and physical development.
THE CHILDREN’S HOUSE
The Children’s House classrooms utilize Montessori developmental learning materials to inspire the students’ curiosity and to help them find answers. Programs are available for children ages 3 months to 14 years.
TRAVERSE CITY COOPERATIVE PRESCHOOL
For more than 50 years, the Traverse City Cooperative Preschool has offered families a play-based cooperative preschool that creates a learning environment that inspires children and adults to discover, create, learn and grow together. The preschool balances structured, teacher-lead time with free play during which children can express themselves, move at their own pace and interact with other children at their own comfort levels.
YMCA CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER
The Grand Traverse Bay YMCA offers year-round licensed child care dedicated to nurturing the potential of every youth. Curriculum aligns with Michigan’s Common Core Standards, and resources are available for behavior, mental health, education, and more. Financial assistance may be available.
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS
kINDERGARTEN TO TWELTH GRADE (K-12)
Grand Traverse County
Other Regional Resources
Post-Secondary & Certification Programs
NORTHWESTERN MICHIGAN COLLEGE
#1 in Michigan Community College for Bachelor’s Degrees
Northwestern Michigan College is a publicly funded community college that serves people, organizations and businesses, offering instruction to more than 50,000 learners annually throughout the Grand Traverse region and beyond. NMC offers associate degrees and professional certificates, and bachelor’s degrees through the Great Lakes Maritime Academy and Great Lakes Water Studies Institute, including Michigan’s first community college bachelor’s degree. With median earnings of $100,000+ within three years of graduation, NMC alumni find success in diverse careers such as Marine Technology and Culinary arts. The associate degree in Nursing is also one of the Top 25 most affordable nursing programs. NMC’s extensive Lifelong and Professional Learning program offers a wide array of personal and professional classes and certifications to more than 10,000 learners a year, including youth and life enrichment classes.
NMC UNIVERSITY CENTER
Since 1995, the NMC University Center has been a unique partnership between Northwestern Michigan College and senior universities located throughout Michigan offering select bachelor degree-completion, graduate, doctorate, certificate and endorsement programs. Students attending the University Center can complete a four-year degree — or advanced degree — without leaving northwestern Michigan. In short, they could “start here and stay here” to fulfill their educational goals without being away from families, their jobs or their communities. The NMC University Center partner universities include Central Michigan University, Davenport University, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, and Michigan State University.
MICHIGAN TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY
Located in the Traverse Connect building at 202 Grandview Parkway, the Michigan Tech Grand Traverse Area research hub is Michigan Tech’s inaugural workspace in Northern Lower Michigan. The Traverse City workspace will advance research in areas such as aerospace communications, manufacturing simulations and renewable energy. Michigan Tech’s Grand Traverse Area Research Center was established in 2021. Read more about it here. Michigan Tech now offers its TechMBA program out of the Grand Traverse Area location!
TECH CAREER HUB
20Fathoms’ Tech Career Hub offers learning, networking, and career growth opportunities for tech professionals at all stages of their careers. They offer workshops, professional development courses, and career guidance resources provided by local employers and tech experts.
ask your northern navigators
Originally from the Detroit area, Laura and her family moved to Traverse City in 2013 – one son was starting Kindergarten and the other a toddler. Her family has navigated the education and child care system, and Laura now works as the Director of Extended Educational Services at NMC.
DIRECTING THE EXTENDED EDUCATION UNIT OF NORTHWESTERN MICHIGAN COLLEGE HAS BROADENED MY UNDERSTANDING OF THE GREAT RESOURCES AND AMAZING CONNECTIONS TO A GLOBAL COMMUNITY THAT WE HAVE RIGHT HERE IN TRAVERSE CITY. THERE ARE SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN AND GROW HERE.
Laura’s top tip? This is not just a region of natural beauty. It is also a region full of possibility!
A Traverse City boomerang, Pam returned to town after spending most of her adult life in Chicago. Drawn back by an increasingly progressive community, Pam is raising her son to have the same beach-hopping childhood she enjoyed now in a changing, more diverse, and inclusive environment.
Pam’s top tip? If you have young children and require care, start reaching out to daycares and preschools right away…and get outside every day!
Photography by Allen-Kent Photography, The Pathfinder School, Interlochen, Gary Howe, John Paul Morris, & Camille Hoisington.