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Parents, children have fun while learning in ECFE

Parenting can be very challenging and overwhelming; especially with the fast paced, filled-up schedules families have today.

Park Rapids Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) and community partners understand many of the stressors affecting families with young children and provide help and support throughout the year at the Play And Learn School (PALS) in Park Rapids.

Some activities are designed to give parents tools to make their job easier such as the support and information they get in mixed ages classes or Circle of Parents groups that are offered throughout the year.

Programs like Safety Kids Camp, Baby Showers, parenting speakers or Early Childhood Screening teach children and their parents/guardians information and skills that can enhance their lives.

Annual events including the Sweetheart Dance, the Holiday Activity Fair and Week of the Young Child Adventures Around Town are all about fun. Activities and events are open to all families with children from birth to 5 years. There may be a tuition charge for some classes but sliding fees are available.

Parents often sign their children up for programming because they know it is good for their kids but they stay involved because it makes their parenting job less stressful and more enjoyable. Several activities are coming up this spring. Call 237-6600 for more info or to sign up.

n Week of the Young Child Adventures Around Town: Activities are available at area businesses this week through April 16. Fliers are available at Community Education.

n Speaker extraordinaire Jessica Burkhamer: Thursday, April 28 at the Park Rapids Area High School from 6:30-8 p.m. Childcare is available for a small fee. Those attending must register by Tuesday, April 26.

Burkhamer is a nationally renowned speaker and author who lives and works in the community. She blends sound parenting advice with practical solutions and entertains while educating.

Participants will learn how to set boundaries with children while maintaining control of their own temper and frustration, emotionally connect with children, and help children work through a variety of feelings and make appropriate choices for the situation at hand.

n Year-end fun at Heartland Park: May 4 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Bring lunches. Lemonade and cookies will be available, along with plenty of activities.

n Early Childhood Screening: May 24-26. The Minnesota State Department wants all children screened when they are 3 years old instead of waiting until right before kindergarten.

n Safety Kids Camp and Climb Theatre: May 31-June 1 from 9-11:30 a.m. This is fun and could save lives. Kids will practice hands-on safety skills and be part of the interactive Climb Theatre safety skits.

n Summertime Preschool: June and July "By the Sea" sessions available.

n Steppingstones to Kindergarten will be held in August to help prepare new kindergarteners for their exciting school year. Watch for information in the summer Community Education brochure.

For more information on any of these programs call 237-6600.