Learning Spaces

IFF Learning Spaces aims to increase capacity and improve access to quality early childhood education (ECE) in Detroit, MI and Southeast Grand Rapids, MI.

The free program offers community-based ECE providers:

  1. Grants and consulting services to improve ECE facilities and transform spaces into safe and inspiring learning environments, laying the foundation for positive early childhood experiences.
  2. Technical assistance

Given COVID-19 and its long-term implications, IFF experts are on the ground with Detroit- and Southeast Grand Rapids-based ECE providers to assess facilities and provide funding to align with mandated state guidelines.

Applying to Learning Spaces

Applications are now closed. Please check back for the next opportunity. For questions or assistance, please contact Francesca Lucido: gro.ffi@odiculf


About our language translation: We welcome participation across all of Grand Rapids’ communities, and we understand that many immigrant populations, while able to speak and listen in English, may still feel more comfortable reading and writing in their native language. That’s why we’re providing our webpage and application form in Spanish.

You are welcome to provide your answers in Spanish, and a professional translator will translate your answers into English for IFF’s staff to review. Of course, some of your answers may be personal, and it’s always possible your meaning will get lost in translation. That’s why we suggest that you to use the English application form if at all possible.

We also want to be clear that all training sessions and other program activities, including any Q&A with our staff, will be offered exclusively in English, and program participants should be proficient in English reading, writing, and speaking.

Learning Spaces: Three Stories of Growth

This video highlights stories from three providers who have since graduated from the Learning Spaces program

ECE Service Gap in Detroit

Watch IFF’s video to learn more about Detroit’s early childhood care gap and what we can to do to address this challenge. Visit our Research and Evaluation page for previous reports on the service gap in Detroit.

Actionable Knowledge for ECE Providers

With support from The Kresge Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation, IFF and partners have worked to create various pieces of actionable knowledge for providers of early childhood education.

IFF and funders collaborate closely with Hope Starts Here, which is a larger ECE initiative across the city of Detroit to broadly address and raise awareness to this issue.

The importance of facility quality in early education, by Model D Media

Big and small: Sharing early education wisdom from rural to urban communities
Model D Media, 7/23/2017

The high cost of limited access to early childhood education in Detroit
Model D, 7/10/2017

Prepared to learn: Why early education is so important for Michigan’s children
Model D, 6/26/2017

The positive signs, and challenges ahead, for early education in Detroit and Michigan
Model D, 6/19/2017

What Michigan can learn from Chicago about growing early childhood education
Model D Media, 5/8/2017

What will it take to make Detroit a “baby friendly” city?
Model D Media, 4/17/2017