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Patriot Perspective: Community Education provides lifelong learning

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Lifelong learning is offered through the variety of community education based programs that span the life stages from early childhood to adult basic education.

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Early learning

Children from birth to age five can attend an Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) class with a parent. The early learning experiences combine instruction, social time and encouragement for “at home” practice to increase child and family development skills.

The informal nature of an ECFE class makes the learning time fun. Learning Is Fun is a preschool for children ages three and four years.

School Readiness is offered one year before a child is ready to go to kindergarten. The School Readiness class is used to prepare students to work cooperatively and have pre-reading, writing and math skills.

Stay and Play Extended Day is a new class that developed from parent interest in a full-day preschool experience for their child. The ECFE/School Readiness Parent Advisory Council meets to assess classes offered, recommend changes, assist with fund raising and promote class participation.

The Early Childhood (EC) Coalition has been working in the school district for 10 years to support literacy through community wide connections with parents and child care providers. The EC Coalition gives away free books through the Bright Red Book Shelf program located at the Lakes Area Food Shelf in Pequot Lakes, Crosslake Food Shelf, Breezy Point City Park and the Jenkins gas station.

School age

The school age child care program operates before school from 7-8 a.m. and after school from 3-6 p.m. Kid Konnection is open on non-school days, too.

There are 80-plus children enrolled in the school-age child care with an average daily attendance of 50 students.

Preschool enrichment classes include Ready Set Grow preschool, preschool Spanish, swimming lessons, Safety Kids, summer Fun with Friends and ECFE family events.

Youth enrichment options serve students from kindergarten to grade 12 and include Eagle View Homework Help, Kinder Camp-transitions to kindergarten, Youth Sports, Friendship Club for special needs students and friends from the middle school/high school, elementary Spanish, babysitter training, swimming lessons, Safety Town, drama camp and youth driver’s education.

Adults

Adult enrichment classes offered include driver improvement, technical theater, guitar lessons, wood turning, publishing your book, Mac user group and community theater productions. Adult Basic Education is offered to prepare for taking the GED test.

Community services offered by the Pequot Lakes Community Education program include program management for the Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts. Performance contracts, grants, fund raising, ticket sales, program publicity are coordinated by community education through the efforts of a volunteer board.

The Community Education Advisory Council meets monthly during the school months to provide community connections and input into the programs offered, the operation of programs and information on local resources to utilize for community education programs.

Current Advisory Council members are Lydia Loven, chair; John Ehlert, vice chair; Debi Backdahl, Heather Neumann, Anna Braam, Kathie Harman, Jon Lubke, Ann Hutchings, Mike Erholtz, Todd Lyscio, Angie Wallin, Carrie Espeseth and Chris Lindholm, superintendent.

The community education purpose statement is to develop a strong community by promoting lifelong learning and enrichment to all individuals through a balanced program of civic, cultural, recreational, skills and academic educational opportunities.

Please contact us to share your ideas on what can be done to improve community education for the School District 186 area communities of Pequot Lakes, Breezy Point, Crosslake and Jenkins. Community education is here to provide lifelong learning for you.

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