Have you heard the expression, "It takes a village to raise a child?" Did you know that Pine River-Backus has an excellent "village" right here in our community?

Early Childhood Family Education is a place where families come to connect. Parents and children connect with each other through play, reading, singing, movement and creativity.

Children practice their social skills by playing alongside friends of similar age, sharing toys and getting to know each other. Parents get to connect with other parents, grandparents and staff to discuss day-to-day life and to support each other in the parenting adventure.

PR-B offers classes for all ages. Our infant class typically meets on Tuesday afternoons. Our low-key hour includes casual conversation, storytelling and developmental information.

Our toddler classes meet on Monday mornings or Tuesday evenings. This is a great time to introduce your 1- to 3-year-old to school. The hour-long, non-separating class includes free play, group time, snack and large motor opportunities.

We also offer traditional ECFE class, which is held three times on Mondays. We have stations that expose children to different areas of developmental learning, group time and snack time. Parent conversation happens around the table and includes parent-only snacks, a hot cup of coffee or a cold bottle of water, and a time where parents can simply feel supported.

My goal, as a parent educator, is to encourage parents to learn from each other. Parents are the most important teacher.

There is a lot going on in early childhood beyond family classes. We provide special education services, early childhood screening, programming for 3- and 4-year-olds, and host several events throughout the year. Open gym, playground dates, Week of the Young Child and other opportunities are free for families to attend regardless of traditional class participation.

Every early childhood program looks different. I am proud to be a part of the village at Pine River-Backus. As we learn more and more about how important these early years are, I am honored that families choose to spend some of those years with us!

If you're still looking for your "village," or feel led to support other families, please explore our Early Childhood Family Education program. We accept registrations year-round and would love to get you plugged in. Check out our Facebook page (Pine River-Backus Early Childhood Education) or call Charity (218-587-8003) for more information.