Page 1

THE

EDUCATION October 2017

ISSUE

HOW YOUR KID

can end bullying Page 30

Why a gap year

ISN’T CRAZY Page 18

A CASE FOR THE

HPV VACCINE Page 22

THINK BEFORE

you praise Page 14

NOT ENOUGH

recess Page 36

Jane and Maria of Inver Grove Heights

PREGNANCY CRAVINGS EXPLAINED! Page 12


Epilepsy Foundation of MN MNP 0817 H2.indd 1

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VOLUME 32

ISSUE 10

42

Where to explore this fall!

30 Mean What’s it going to take to reduce bullying in schools and online? Upstanders!

36 More recess! It’s not just kids — but also teachers — who need extra time to recharge.

48 How to help Parents can do a lot at home with their kids to encourage successful learning at school.

River views from the lesser-known west side of Nicollet Island abound for curious families.

About our cover kids Names: Jane and Maria

Ages: 2 and 4

Parents: Ted and Christina Ries

City: Inver Grove Heights

Sibling: Archie, 6 months

Personalities: Silly and sweet (Jane), effusive (Maria) Favorite animals: Peppa Pig (Jane), butterflies (Maria) Favorite books: Go Away, Big Green Monster! (Jane) When the Sky Is Like Lace (Maria) Favorite activities: Playing with their dollhouse, dance parties in their PJs Favorite foods: Spaghetti Photos by Eva Hagel of Grape Soda Photography / grapesodaphotography.com Want to see your kid on the cover? Find out how at mnparent.com/coverkid.

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October 2017 • mnparent.com


8 FROM THE EDITOR

Under pressure?

18 TEENS AND TWEENS

Well-rounded

Parents, teachers and kids today face incredibly high expectations.

A gap year before college can be part of a better education.

10 CHATTER

20 #ADULTING

Showing diversity

Functional anxiety

This story’s illustrations can be customized to match your family.

Worry about our kids? We all do it. How to tell when it’s gone too far.

12 BUMP, BIRTH AND BABY

22 ASK THE OB/GYN

26 BOOKSHELF

Making a difference A local poet has written a children’s book that addresses the immigrant/refugee experience. 28 IN THE KITCHEN

Rich and moist

The HPV vaccine

This unique brownie recipe supplies extra protein for your family’s diet — with black beans!

Your pregnancy cravings may indicate unmet nutritional needs.

This childhood shot prevents multiple kinds of cancer.

66 FROM OUR READERS

14 THE UNCENSORED TODDLER

24 ON BEHAVIOR

Strange pairings

Not so fast

Invisible wound

If your kid is really bright, don’t be too quick to label him ‘smart.’

Exclusion bullying can be as hurtful as a hard shove.

16 SCHOOL DAYS

52 Education Resources

A magical ride Harry Potter changed our family.

All aboard!

Our readers share their favorite photos of kids enjoying train toys and railway adventures.

& About 60 Out Calendar

mnparent.com • October 2017

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FROM THE EDITOR mnparent.com

PUBLISHER Janis Hall jhall@mnparent.com SALES MANAGER AND CO-PUBLISHER Terry Gahan tgahan@mnparent.com EDITOR Sarah Jackson 612-436-4385 • editor@mnparent.com CONTRIBUTORS Amy Beseth, Jamie Crowson Megan Devine, Julie Kendrick Shannon Keough, Laura Malm Michele St. Martin, Laura Ramsborg Sheila Regan, Dr. Erin Stevens Susan Wangen, Jen Wittes Jennifer Wizbowski, Stephanie Xenos CREATIVE DIRECTOR Valerie Moe vmoe@mnparent.com GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Dani Cunningham Kaitlin Ungs CLIENT SERVICES Delaney Patterson 612-436-5070 • dpatterson@mnpubs.com CIRCULATION Marlo Johnson 612-436-4388 • distribution@mnparent.com mnparent.com/find-a-copy ADVERTISING 612-436-4360 • sales@mnparent.com 50,000 copies of Minnesota Parent are printed monthly, available at news stands statewide. Get Minnesota Parent mailed to your home for just $12 a year. Call 612-825-9205 for more information.

Minnesota Parent (ISSN 0740 3437) is published monthly by Minnesota Premier Publications. POSTMASTER send address changes to: MINNESOTA PARENT, 1115 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403. Minnesota Parent is copyright 2017 by Minnesota Premier Publications. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Address all material to address above.

Full of surprises W

hen it comes to academics, parents today face a ton of pressure! Even before our children are born, we’re encouraged to read to them and expose them to music in utero. Then there are the educational toys required to foster early math, reasoning and motor skills. And the music and movement classes. We must make our kids smart to give them a learning leg up, an edge in life. But be careful: If your toddler starts showing signs of intelligence and wit, you shouldn’t necessarily tell her she’s “smart.” No, you must emphasize the value of hard work — to encourage a growth mindset — to put her on a path to early college readiness. Photo by Tracy Walsh / tracywalshphoto.com With preschoolers, we must read — to them and with them — constantly; we must present our kids with math problems in the car to encourage pre-algebra skills; and our kids need to be involved in sports as soon as possible so they can learn teamwork, patience and kindness (and become sports stars, too, natch). Got all that? Though I tremendously enjoy watching my son learn about the world (and develop new amazing skills along the way), I do find the demands our culture puts on us positively daunting. This month — with our annual Education Issue — I hope we can help with new ways to look at early learning and academics (and take some of the pressure off). When editing this issue, I was surprised to learn many things: • Our kids aren’t getting enough recess. And a less-is-more teaching attitude may be the solution. (Thanks, again, Finland.) • A gap year for high school grads needn’t be a year to simply slack; in fact, numerous gap programs give kids incredible learning opportunities (and they’re still allowed college placement afterward). (And, psst: Where your kid goes to college doesn’t matter as much as you think.) • Our kids have the power to be the best preventers of bullying. • The HPV vaccine — yes, for 11- and 12-year-olds — makes perfect sense. • You can make brownies with black beans instead of flour. (Why is this education related? My kid’s home lunches just got higher in protein.) • I knew praise was bad if overused (and I knew I was supposed to emphasize hard work). But, thanks to this issue, I now know the art of simple acknowledgement (and listening). (See The Uncensored Toddler for the full story.) I hope you, too, find some interesting tidbits in this issue so you and your kids can actually enjoy the ride from early learning to kindergarten and all the way into those post-college years. They’re coming faster than you think! Sarah Jackson, Editor


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Sarah Jackson

CHATTER

Cool posters We’re swooning over the modern designs coming out of Telegraph Paper Co., the brainchild of graphic designer and painter Lindsey Anderson of Moorhead. Anderson started out selling greeting cards. But then after spending time with her niece and her friends’ kids, she was inspired to switch gears to create educational, color posters for youngsters. “I noticed how eager and excited they were about learning new things and I absolutely loved the passion they had for learning,” said Anderson. Her hand-illustrated, educational prints come in 8x10 and 11x14 sizes and cost $20 and $39.50 with topics including dinosaurs, deep-sea fish, butterflies, planets, constellations, grammar and even morse code! “My goal is to inspire kids to keep being curious and to want to learn more about the world around us — and beyond,” Anderson said. Learn more at telegraphpaperco.com.

A book that shows diversity Not all families look the same. And yet, in children’s literature families are illustrated relatively rarely with diversity in mind. Mothers, fathers, grandparents and children tend to be uniformly white or portrayed as animals.

was born in Liberia, were disappointed (and

books about kids that in one way or another

surprised) that they couldn’t find any books

were considered not ‘normal’ but ‘special.’”

depicting a multiracial family like theirs. A saleswoman, when asked, found a

After studying the books, they soon saw that there were, in fact, no books that fit

couple books that included children with

the bill. They left empty handed — and

brown skin.

greatly disheartened.

“Then I asked for families that looked more

Even when they searched online, few

When looking through the inventory at a

like ours,” Barrett Cooper said. “The woman

stories reflected their family of four. And

bookstore, Minnesota native Norah Barrett

blushed. She sent us to the ‘special families’

those that did were more focused on racial

Cooper and her husband, Randolph, who

section of the store, a tiny bookshelf with

issues, rather than every-day activities.

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October 2017 • mnparent.com


And so Loving Lion Books of Minneapolis was born, along with the company’s first release, Love Family, which tells the universal story of a large family get-together, including the waiting, playing, laughing and closeness that can ensue, all told through the eyes of a young girl. What’s more? Love Family — illustrated by the company’s co-founder Joelle Nelson, a Minneapolis mother of two — is customizable. When ordering, families can choose different skin and hair colors and different faces for the grandmother, mother, father and daughter with four choices for each character. Barrett Cooper said the company plans to create more books with even more diversity, including same-sex parents, and characters with hijabs, chunnis, turbans, patkas and kippahs, so that all children can see themselves and their families in stories about everyday life.  Learn more at lovinglionbooks.com.

↑ Norah Barrett Cooper and her husband, Randolph, (pictured with their kids, Louis, 2, and Grace, 4) started Loving Lion Books (with local artist Joelle Nelson) to bring more diversity to children’s books. Science Museum MNP 1017 2-3page.indd 1

9/15/17 10:41 AM

mnparent.com • October 2017

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Jen Wittes

BUMP, BIRTH & BABY

What makes a belly I

like to tell my daughter she’s made of teddy grahams and milk. Cottage cheese with pickles and Wheat Thins. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches. My son is all brownies and Mexican food. Those were my go-to pregnancy cravings. Powerful, consuming, satisfying, must-have. “What’s your baby made of?” It’s one of my favorite questions to ask. It inspires a variety of eager answers as women wistfully recall how nothing ever tasted as delicious as fresh summer strawberries drenched in table salt; Nilla wafers; pastrami. The flip side of the craving is — of course — the aversion. Some of those make sense. Alcohol smells bad because it’s not good for Baby. Same could be said of mercuryheavy fish, secondhand smoke, paint fumes. Some of these smells can become intolerable during pregnancy. But what do you say of the mom (ahem, ME while pregnant with my son) who can’t choke down a single green veggie during the first trimester? I tried everything — melting cheese on green beans, hiding broccoli in a favorite pasta dish. Usually a salad enthusiast, I couldn’t stand anything green.

But why? Although somewhat scientifically mysterious, cravings and aversions are most likely caused by hormonal fluctuations. Women experience all kinds of hormonal influences throughout their fertile years: A mate smells appealing during ovulation. Chocolate, which has been shown to have a similar effect as morphine on the brain, is craved during PMS, when a woman is

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October 2017 • mnparent.com

experiencing anxiety and cramps. The hormones associated with pregnancy and birth are even more dynamic than those of the monthly cycle — making foods, perfumes and environmental toxins smell even stronger. The hormone answer makes sense; but some look deeper. When I asked my midwife about eating cold cuts during pregnancy (and the possible threat of listeria), she told me she was less concerned about the unlikely chance of listeria and more interested in why I was craving cold, salty meat. To her, this was a possible indicator of protein deficiency and/or low blood pressure. On that note, why wouldn’t you follow your bliss toward oranges, spinach or butternut squash? On some level, it must mean a need for vitamin C, iron, vitamin A. But then, cookies and cream ice cream with a side of Doritos is a more typical craving than quinoa and kale.

Beware of pica Pregnancy cravings and aversions are usually harmless, as long as the expectant mother is trying to eat a well-balanced diet of healthy grains, good protein and a variety of fruits and veggies. Occasionally, a condition known as pica is developed during pregnancy. Pica is an eating disorder in which substances that aren’t food are craved, and sometimes indulged in. Some common non-foods craved include dirt and soil, plaster, ice chips and soap. Speculative theories as to what causes this in pregnancy include those good old hormonal changes, psychological issues and anemia or iron deficiency. If you crave something that’s not food, you should definitely talk to your doctor. You should also find a real-food replacement — earthy mushrooms and root vegetables if you’re craving soil, for example. Some believe that increasing intake of


BABY STUFF

A dosing paci

From the makers of the now-beloved snotsucking nasal aspirator known as NoseFrida, comes a medicine syringe topped with a binky — the MediFrida Accu-Dose Pacifier Medicine Dispenser. Genius. $12.99 • target.com, amazon.com

essential fatty acids helps stabilize cravings and aversions. Flax oil, avocados and eggs are sources of such acids.

EXERCISE PREGNANCY STUDY

Go bland and cold As for severe morning sickness, try saltines first thing in the morning; and when NOTHING sounds good, opt for cold and bland foods. Aroma is a nausea trigger. Cold sorbet, chilled fruits and yogurts (which are natural gut balancers anyway) are good choices. Nausea cures include lemons, ginger ale, ginger tea and complex carbs such as whole grains. In the meantime, try to enjoy your new palate! One of the “joys” of pregnancy is experiencing your body, your life, your environment — including tastes and smells — in an entirely new way. And be sure to tell your baby, someday, what he’s made of! Besides, you know, love. Jen Wittes is a certified postpartum doula and writer who now works in marketing and communications. She lives in St. Paul with her two kids, two cats and husband. Send questions or comments to jwittes@ mnparent.com.

The University of Minnesota is seeking women who are currently less than 20 weeks pregnant to participate in a research study examining the effect of exercise and wellness on mood following childbirth. DETAILS: • Program delivered to you via the mail and phone

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• Must be 18 years of age or older

• Must be considered low-income, defined as:

• Must not currently exercise regularly

-Enrollment in any government assisted program (e.g., WIC, SNAP) AND/OR

• Must not take antidepressants • You will receive $100 & a FitBit for your time (you will be allowed to keep the FitBit after the study is over)

-Annual income that is considered low (less than $45,510 for a family of four, less than $30,044 for a family of two, and less than $22,311 if single).

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9/21/17 3:38 PM

mnparent.com • October 2017

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Shannon Keough

THE UNCENSORED TODDLER

Think before you praise “

Good job, Sasha!” enthused a fellow mother at the park as she tailed her preschool-aged daughter up and down the slides. “Great climbing! I’m so proud of you, strong girl!” This was one of the more effusive examples of “positive reinforcement” I’ve witnessed since becoming a parent. But if you spend any time at playgrounds or other kid-friendly spots, I’m sure you’ve noticed this almost aggressive culture of praise — maybe you’ve even taken part in it yourself. Of course, it’s understandable. What parent doesn’t delight in her child’s burgeoning skills? When your daughter does something new or impressive — learns to tie her shoes, produces a detailed painting, shares her dessert with a friend — it’s only natural to want to celebrate a little. Right?

The dark side of praise But praise is a tricky thing. Laura Davis and Janis Keyser, in their book Becoming the Parent You Want to Be, outline some of the problems with praise. For example, they point out that praise is often conditional. “Because children most frequently receive praise for things they ‘do’ or ‘make’ rather than just for being themselves, they can end up wondering if they’re OK when they are not ‘producing’ or ‘achieving.’”

‘You’re so smart!’ OK, so it’s important to love your children for who they are — and who they are is a super smart kid, right? According to a survey conducted by Columbia University, 85 percent of

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October 2017 • mnparent.com

Instead of exclaiming, ‘What a beautiful painting!’ you can instead say, ‘Tell me about your painting.’ American parents think it’s important to tell their kids that they’re smart. The basic theory is that telling your child he’s smart will boost his self-esteem, thus promoting confidence as he takes on new academic challenges. However, recent research suggests that the opposite might be true: Vigorously labeling your child as “smart” can actually encourage him or her to underperform academically. Bursting the bubble of every intelligence-praising parent is Dr. Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology, who led a 10-year study on the effect of praise on students in 20 New York schools. One exercise in the study began with nonverbal IQ tests of fifth-grade students

involving a series of fairly easy puzzles. When each child finished the test, he or she learned the score and was given one line of praise. Some were praised for their intelligence: “You must be smart at this.” Others were praised for their effort: “You must have worked very hard.” For the next round of testing, the students were given a choice. One option was a test that would be more difficult than the first, but the children were told they’d learn a lot from attempting the puzzles. The other test was easy, just like the first one. The results? Of those praised for their efforts, 90 percent chose the harder set of puzzles. Of those praised for their intelligence, a majority chose the easy test. In other words, the “smart” kids took the cop-out. Dweck addresses these results in her study summary: “When we praise children for their intelligence, we tell them this is the name of the game: Look smart, don’t risk making mistakes.”


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TODDLER STUFF

Kid gloves

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Acknowledge or ask So, you might be asking yourself: What can I say to my child that won’t ruin her for life? Davis and Keyser recommend simple acknowledgement: “Acknowledgement is a way to respond to children that is descriptive and nonjudgmental, yet it lets you convey your feelings.” For example, they suggest you “share your observations” and “use descriptive language” to avoid the pitfalls of evaluation. You can also ask questions. Instead of exclaiming, “What a beautiful painting!” you can instead say, “Tell me about your painting.” “Encouraging children to talk about themselves and what they are doing is one of the most powerful kinds of acknowledgement we can give,” Davis and Keyser wrote. Shannon Keough lives in St. Paul with her husband and two children. Send questions or comments to skeough@mnparent.com. mnparent.com • October 2017

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A magical experience I

t is with heartfelt thanks that I would like to express my gratitude to J.K. Rowling for writing the Harry Potter series of books. With her writing, she’s given me a wonderful excuse to spend hours snuggled up next to my children, reading and connecting with them in an almost magical way. When the Harry Potter book series first came out, I was teaching third grade. I read the first few books and enjoyed sharing them with the avid and eager readers in my classroom. More recently, my two eldest children read the first book on their own during their self-selected reading time at school. Last spring, when I was looking for a good book to spark interest in reestablishing family read-aloud time in our home, I purchased the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and gave it a go. (As of Sept. 5, 2017, there’s an animated Kindle in Motion version of the edition as well.) Once we started reading, we were hooked.

All that we’ve gained During the past six months, Rowling’s engaging and imaginative characters and stories have accompanied us on all of our summer travels via audiobook form as well as in print as we’ve read the books together on our old, beaten up couch upstairs. We’re currently on Book 5, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I truly feel that this time I’m sharing with them has become almost as enchanting as the books themselves. My four children (ranging in ages from 6 to 12) honestly beg me to read to them at night. If that isn’t enough to leave me spellbound, I don’t know what is!

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October 2017 • mnparent.com

It’s been a delight to see the stories through their eyes. My youngest ones have been acting out the scenes — making wands out of sticks and flying on imaginary broomsticks. We’ve also enjoyed watching the film adaptions to each book we finish as well. Rereading the books with my kids, I can see the larger-than-life lessons Rowling weaves into her narratives. I’ve had so many great teachable moments with my children while reading the books, which have expanded their vocabulary, comprehension and understanding. I admire Rowling’s creativity and voice.

Aren’t the books controversial? Over the years there have been debates, especially in Christian communities, over the Harry Potter books based on claims that the novels contain occult or Satanic subtexts. If you’re considering reading the series, go in with the understanding that you’ll be reading about wizards, witches and magic. But also with the understanding that it’s a work of fiction and, in my opinion, the likelihood that a child will turn to the “dark side” after reading a book from the series is highly unlikely. Besides, books (and all other forms of media) can bring up excellent starting


Why kids should read Harry Potter Here are a few educationally sound reasons to read Harry Potter books, condensed from imaginesoup.net: ⊲ J.K. Rowling’s rich word choice will improve your child’s vocabulary, and her fantastic worlds will encourage imagination. ⊲ Brilliant storytelling and complex plots engage kids to encourage a love of reading. ⊲ Essential life lessons can be found in the books: Friends stick together no matter what. Be kind and accepting of those who are different. People aren’t all bad or all good, but a mixture of both. Bravery means standing up for what’s right and acting on it, even when it’s hard. Intelligence, loyalty and courage are important. Love is stronger than evil.

points for conversations about confusing or controversial subjects with children. Reading together is a wonderful way to spend positive, quality time with your children that supports literacy and the development of your child’s imagination. Megan Devine is an elementary school teacher who lives with her husband and four children in Northeastern Minnesota. She blogs at kidsandeggs.com.


What’s the point of a gap year? T

he chatter is everywhere: A gap year — once considered a questionable, even risky path reserved for unsure seniors — is now a viable, respectable alternative to starting university course work. In fact, a gap year seems to be an increasingly legitimate part of the American post-grad experience. And yet, I never thought it would be something I’d want for my child. College after high school, my husband and I have said repeatedly as we’ve raised our kids, is not optional. It’s not that we didn’t want to give our kids a choice. It’s just that secondary education seems to be an absolute and immediate necessity, a protection of sorts, to give our kids the best chance at making the most of their dreams (or really just making it).

We found our way Then again, I made my own path. I graduated from a small mountain high school that didn’t exactly point me in the direction of collegiate advantage. I knew, at just 17, however, that I wanted to go get a college degree, even though it was up to me to find a way to do it — and pay for it. I completed a year and a half of community college while working two jobs to finance my tuition and my living expenses.

TEEN STUFF

After that, I was exhausted, and I decided I needed a semester off. So I took it. (Shhh. My parents still don’t know.) After that, I applied to a small liberal arts college and finished my degree, even fitting in a semester abroad. I think what I’m most proud of is making it through that journey of persistence. My husband had a similar experience. After a semester at a university, he went on to pursue a six-month cultural experience on a small island chain in the South Pacific. It made a big impression on him. Upon his return, he pursued his degree — and earned honors all three years. In his words, he had grown up a bit and was ready. We each found our way on a path that was meant for us. There’s a great book that I would encourage parents of high schoolers to get their hands on: Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania. In it, the author describes in detail the post-secondary choices and educational paths of politicians, executives and recent college graduates who ended up being successful in their careers. In many cases, those with elite university degrees ended up in the same places as their contemporaries from smaller, lesser-known colleges.

Got college-bound kids?

There’s a gap for that Our son is a high school senior this year. As I’ve watched him navigate the pressures at a high-performing high school — 90 percent of the kids are college bound — my perspective on a year “off” has changed a bit. Mostly, I’ve been thinking about how academic stress has shaped his life. He’s had to work much harder than I did, and he’s been measured by far stricter standards. I see how this stress has tried him and tired him. I’ve come to terms with the fact that maybe a six-month or yearlong gap may be the best education he could get. See, the modern version of a gap year, increasingly being called a bridge year, isn’t time to sit in front of an Xbox or glued to Netflix. It’s a year of organized gap-year experiences. Geared toward academics, adventure, community service, environmental conservation, internship/work experience, travel/culture and spirituality, gap-year programs are designed to kick-start the journey into adulthood, not delay it. Gap veterans say the point isn’t a year of slacking, but rather a life-changing time of strategic exploration, reflection and, ideally, maturation. Instead of taking freshman comp, your kid could tag sea turtles in Costa Rica, do an

Bestselling author and New York Times journalist Frank Bruni argues that too many young people believe their futures will be determined by where they’re accepted into college. But it’s simply not true, according to the real stories found in Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania. $14.99 • amazon.com

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October 2017 • mnparent.com


LEARN MORE American Gap Association americangap.org Center for Interim Programs interimprograms.com Global Citizen Year globalcitizenyear.org USA Gap Year Fairs usagapyearfairs.org

internship at a Buddhist studies center in France or build classrooms, teach and travel throughout East Africa. Afterward, your kid might know not just what he wants to major in — but why.

Advocacy and options During the past 10 years, the concept of an experiential gap year has gained popularity in the U.S. — and universities have come out in support of the practice as well, including Ivy League institutions. Gap years aren’t just popular among wealthy families, however, according to the service-oriented gap program known as Global Citizen Year, which sends “bold high school grads” to Brazil, Ecuador, India and Senegal. Though most gap programs worldwide are geared toward kids in other countries (where the practice of gap years is more popular), USA Gap Year Fairs are U.S.-focused and bring together “reputable gap year organizations,” to meet with students and parents. Earlier this year, Groves Academy in St. Louis Park hosted one of the organization’s fairs. A

related Gapmatcher app helps connect kids with their ideal gap programs. The U.S.-based Center for Interim Programs, founded in 1980, offers gap-year counseling. And the nonprofit American Gap Association, an accreditation and standards-setting organization for gap years, also provides a list of programs. Gap-year advocates say the average investment in college is too great to enter into without first growing up a bit, rather than going directly into — as one Global Citizen Year student put it — “the 13th grade.”

The ins and outs Did you know students can get accepted into the colleges of their choice — and their colleges can hold their spots open until they return from their gap-year programs? (After being accepted at Harvard, Malia Obama famously took a gap year that included international and domestic enrichment programs. Barack and Michelle Obama moved her into a Harvard dorm room this past August for the 2017–18 school year.)

And did you know a gap year can be pursued midway through college or even after graduation? Most gap programs are looking for 18- to 22-year-olds. If this is something your kid is considering, be sure to read the fine print and don’t act last minute. Applications for the 2018-2019 Global Citizen gap year, for example, were due Aug. 31, 2017. These days, high-school counselors can help your kid look not just at college options, but also gap-year programming. Above all, I think it’s important to also seek out people’s stories — family friends, neighbors and colleagues — with your 16- or 17-year-old. Trust the values you’ve raised your children with (and their special wiring) as you look at all the available choices. Now that a gap year isn’t totally on the naughty list, I feel I can relax a bit as my son makes this decision. It’s almost like I’m giving him a choice after all. Jennifer Wizbowski lives in Excelsior with her husband, and daughter and son, ages 14 and 17. Send comments, questions and story ideas to jwizbowski@mnparent.com. mnparent.com • October 2017

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Amy Beseth

#ADULTING

Mother’s intuition vs. anxiety A

s a childbirth educator and doula, I hear the term ‘mother’s intuition’ a lot. Experienced mothers attempt to reassure moms-to-be or new moms with, “Don’t worry: You’ll just know. It’s just a mother’s intuition.” I’ve been guilty of using this form of advice myself, knowing quite well that when I get this little nugget of misinformation, I find myself bewildered and wondering why I’m not one of the special moms who’s lucky enough to “just know.” Because I also struggle with anxiety, I often wonder: Are the fearful feelings I sometimes have just my mother’s intuition trying to tell me something important or is it my anxiety creeping in? I sat down with Hannah Godbout, a Minnesota clinical psychologist and mother of two, to discuss, anxiety and mother’s intuition. “Anxiety at its core is functional, necessary; it is part of our instinctual drive

to keep us safe, and so likely part of how we keep our babies safe as well,” she said. “The pitch of a babies cry, for example, is designed to drive us crazy, make us anxious, so we take care of them. I’m sure this ‘instinctual anxiety’ is present in many of our mothering moments, as part of keeping our children out of danger.” A light bulb went off inside of me: This could be the motherly instincts I’ve been daydreaming about having (and perhaps had all along). In other words, there’s a positive to anxiety.

about my anxiety and suppressing it — or immediately overreacting and removing myself and my children from the situation — I felt empowered. I knew my feelings were HEALTHY and NORMAL (two words that all doulas love to hear). The anxiety I felt was appropriate for the situation. It was my motherly instincts telling me to protect my children. So, instead of reacting negatively to the situation, I was able to recognize my natural reaction to potential danger, and I was able make the best choices to keep my kids safe.

Healthy and normal

Unless it isn’t

Following my conversation with Godbout, I found myself in a situation in which my three kiddos (not swimmers yet) were about to enter deep water. Even though they were safely secured in lifejackets, I felt a rush of anxiety come over my body. With Godbout’s clarification in mind, instead of feeling ashamed

So how do you distinguish between anxiety as a problem and functional anxiety (in the form of mother’s intuition)? There is, Dr. Godbout explained, a difference between what would be described as healthy or functional anxiety and what is defined as dysfunctional. “If a mother feels that her worry/fears are significantly interfering with her ability to function (get out of the house, respond to her baby, continue other relationships), or her anxiety keeps increasing and is not starting to ease after six months or so, or it is clearly present in many areas of her life, we can more easily say that this is not typical worry about her child, but perhaps something that needs to be diagnosed and treated,” Godbout said.

Anxiety at its core is functional, necessary; it is part of our instinctual drive to keep us safe. 20

October 2017 • mnparent.com


WHO TO CALL If you feel like you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder or would like to learn more, talk with your doctor or check out postpartum.net/locations/ minnesota for local resources and hotlines or reach out to Pregnancy & Postpartum Support Minnesota at 612-787-7776, ppsmhelpline@gmail.com or ppsupportmn.org.

For example, if you jump out of bed at night and fly to the crib because you heard your baby cough and have a gut feeling that it didn’t sound normal, you might call that functional anxiety. But to stay at the crib all night watching the child sleep, just in case, for months, would be dysfunctional, Godbout said.

Finding help and hope If you’re unable to shake the feeling of anxiety, if you constantly find your mind thinking of would-be worst-case scenarios long after a stressful event has taken place — or way before it before there is anything to stress about — it may be the time to take action. Evaluate how often your fears affect you and those around you, and allow yourself to receive help if you need it. I wish I’d sought help earlier. It took me far too long to recognize that, at times, my anxiety was dysfunctional. Now, after seeing my general practitioner, receiving medication and some good therapy, I no longer spend my days waiting for disasters. I now recognize the beautiful moments of functional anxiety in which I’m providing my children with my focus and protection. I feel proud when it shows up. But I’m happy I’m able to shut it down, too. Amy Beseth is a mother of three and the owner of Pride & Joy Doula Services, serving St. Paul, Minneapolis and the surrounding suburbs. Learn more at prideandjoydoula.com. mnparent.com • October 2017

21


Dr. Erin Stevens

ASK THE OBGYN

Yet another shot!? Can we skip the HPV vaccine? Many parents find HPV vaccination to be a particularly challenging topic as they struggle with the idea of their child receiving an injection related to sexual health. But the vaccine — which is given during elementary school — is recommended to prevent multiple types of cancer in adulthood for both males and females.

What is HPV? The human papillomavirus (HPV for short) is the most common sexually transmitted infection. It’s so common, in fact, that ALMOST ALL people who are sexually active at any

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point in their lives will contract at least one of the many existing strains of HPV. The majority of HPV infections don’t cause any physical effects and are cleared by the immune system. However, certain strains of HPV cause genital warts and — most worrisome — there are high-risk strains of HPV associated with the development of cancer. The most common cancer that’s been linked to HPV is cancer of the cervix, but it can also cause anal, esophageal, vulvar and vaginal cancers. Because HPV spreads by skin-to-skin contact, condoms can’t fully protect against transmission.

What is the vaccine? The HPV vaccine is an immunization that protects against the strains of HPV known

to be most commonly associated with genital warts and cancer. It’s FDA approved for both males and females ages 9 to 26. The CDC recommends administration at age 11 to 12. For those age 14 and younger, the HPV vaccination includes a series of two shots given in a physician’s office six to 12 months apart. Those aged 15 and older require three shots given over a 6-month period. It may seem unusual to consider the future sexual health of your fourth- or fifth-grader, but it’s truly crucial. The key to HPV vaccination is PREVENTION. It can’t treat an infection that’s already present. This means the best time to vaccinate is BEFORE onset of sexual activity of any kind (not just intercourse). This allows for the development of immunity before potential exposure to HPV.


Although a male doesn’t have a cervix and thus can’t develop the most common type of cancer associated with HPV, vaccination is important to prevent genital warts, anal and esophageal cancers — and transmission to future partners.

Is it safe? In recent years, many parents have become wary of vaccines. This is largely related to a study linking vaccines containing thimerosal (a preservative) with autism. This study was debunked due to the use of false data. And there’s still no proven association between vaccines and autism. Vaccines undergo clinical trials prior to their FDA approval to ensure their safety. After approval, their use is monitored by the CDC and FDA so that any trends in negative side effects can be identified. The HPV vaccination is generally well-tolerated. It doesn’t contain thimerosal, but it does contain other preservatives that prevent growth of germs and keep the vaccine safe for administration. The most severe reaction that can occur with HPV vaccination is anaphylaxis caused by an allergy to any of the components of the vaccine. Such a reaction is rare. The most commonly experienced side effect of HPV vaccination is soreness at the injection site. Some patients may experience dizziness, nausea, flushing, headache or a slight fever. No long-term side effects have been identified. What’s right for your family? Talk to your pediatrician. Even if you’re not quite ready to have your child vaccinated, you can start the conversation and ask further questions. Learn more at cdc.gov/hpv. Dr. Erin Stevens sees patients at the Edina location of Clinic Sofia, a local OBGYN clinic known for its personalized approach to women’s health care. She’s a member of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Learn more at clinicsofia.com. mnparent.com • October 2017

23


Michele St. Martin

When bullying isn’t physical

R

uby was a bubbly 6-year-old who usually bounced out of bed in the morning, excited for a day at school with friends and Ms. Martinez, her cherished teacher. Ruby had attended a mind-boggling number of birthday parties since the beginning of the school year, and also had playdates with several friends from kindergarten who were now in her first-grade class. Her mother, Lyn, was surprised when Ruby told her one morning, “I don’t want to go to school anymore. I don’t have any friends.” “You were at Victoria’s birthday party last week, and you’ve been friends with Jasmine, Maddy and Jia for a long time,” Lyn told her daughter. “Victoria’s mom made her invite the whole class. Nobody likes me. Maddy said I’m a big baby!” Ruby’s lower lip trembled, and her eyes filled with tears.

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Lyn was at a loss. She comforted Ruby, then encouraged her daughter to stand up for herself. Kids have spats, she told herself. It’ll work out. I probably shouldn’t make a big deal out of this.

Excluded at recess Children do have fights, and sometimes they stop playing with each other or prefer other friends. But they also bully other kids, and Lyn soon saw for herself that Ruby was being bullied. It happened during Lyn’s stint volunteering as a recess monitor. She saw Ruby

approach an empty swing. Madeline said something to Ruby, then covered the swing with sand. Ruby walked away. Later, Lyn spoke to Ms. Martinez, who confirmed that Ruby hadn’t been playing with the other children over the last few days, but the teacher hadn’t seen anything physical occur. “Ruby says no one likes her, and kids have been calling her names,” Lyn said. “She didn’t want to come to school. Being excluded by girls who used to be her friends is hurtful.”

Recognizing a problem

Kids have spats, she told herself. It’ll work out. I probably shouldn’t make a big deal out of this.

Lyn did some research and ended up on PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center website (pacer.org/bullying). She learned the difference between conflicts, when children might clash or disagree, but don’t deliberately hurt one another, and bullying, when one or more


children purposely hurt, harm or humiliate a child. Lyn was convinced that Ruby’s former friends were bullying her. Lyn decided against contacting the girls’ parents. Ms. Martinez changed the class seating arrangements, and Lyn encouraged Ruby to make new friends. Lyn took an active role in arranging playdates. It took a while, but Ruby eventually made new friends. She seemed happier and more confident, too.

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25


Sheila Regan

BOOKSHELF

Branching out Bao Phi, an acclaimed local poet, is expanding his repertoire with a new children’s book, influenced by his childhood and his role as a father.

P

eople who follow Minnesota writer Bao Phi on Facebook know that his feed is like a live memoir. His anecdotes about parenting, and his musings on writing, life and the world can be a joy to follow. In fact, one of his Facebook posts — a poignant story about going shopping with his 8-year-old daughter, Sông, and losing her in the store — compelled two filmmakers, Dominic Tassencourt Howes and Joel Weber, to create a beautiful short video poem, starring local actor Randy Reyes, titled Unique, With Love. It’s no surprise Phi is such a natural at social media. Being a part of a community is so integral to who he is as an artist, arts administrator and activist. Though he’s usually soft-spoken, Phi is constantly giving his time and energy to help other artists and causes he believes in. In turn, he found a community of support when it came time to write his first children’s book. After years of fellow writers telling him he’d be great at the art form, he eventually sat down with other children’s book authors and got some advice and encouragement. “The children’s book community in Minnesota is just lovely,” he said. “Everyone’s really supportive.” To create his first-ever children’s book, A Different Pond, Phi adapted a poem he’d written his father, who would take him fishing as a boy. (His family came to the U.S. in the shadow of the Vietnam War when he was a young child.) Phi’s manuscript was discovered by

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October 2017 • mnparent.com

coincidence when he wrote a blog post for the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, where he’s the program director. It was about a children’s book — Here I Am by Patti Kim. Phi praised her work, and discussed how he, as a parent, wanted to be sure his daughter had diverse books to read. The publisher of Kim’s book, Capstone Young Readers, reached out to Phi to thank him for the review, and asked him if he wrote children’s books. Of course, Phi happened to have one he was already working on, and sent it to them. Six months later, they bought it. A Different Pond has received rave reviews since its August release. It features illustrations by California-based graphic novelist Thi Bui, who also came to the U.S. from Vietnam. (Her autobiographical book, The Best We Could Do, came out in March, also to much acclaim.) A Different Pond came out on the heels of Phi’s second book of poems by Coffee House Press, Thousand Star Hotel, published earlier this summer. The works in the book of poetry touch on race, identity and politics, topics he’s explored since his early days scribing poems for the speech team at South High School and during his early career gaining national fame as an award-winning slam poet. Phi, a Macalester alum, continues to infuse politics into his work, but there’s a more intimate side to his writing as well.

↑ Bao Phi published his first children’s book, A Different Pond, as well as a new poetry collection, Thousand Star Hotel. Photo by

Anna Min of Min Enterprises Photography

“The last few years of my life have all been about being cracked open,” he said. Phi credits therapy as one way to become more vulnerable in his writing. “Straight men of color are taught that we need to appear strong because we are ‘fight or flight’ all the time,” Phi said. “The idea of being vulnerable can be daunting because our self-mechanism in this country is always have your walls up.” Phi often discusses his writings about his daughter with Sông’s mother, with whom he trades off parenting duties. Writing about parenting can be tricky, as he balances writing about his experiences as a single co-parent with what he feels is best for his daughter. And now that Sông is old enough, Phi talks to her about how she figures in his writing. “It’s a combination of intuition and also consent,” he said, adding, “The scary thing is what she’s going to write about me.” Sheila Regan lives in Minneapolis. She writes for numerous publications and also teaches children’s theater.


ABOUT THE BOOK Bao Phi’s first children’s book, A Different Pond (Capstone, $15.95), gives a glimpse into the relationship between a father and son through the lens of a real-life long-ago fishing trip Phi took with his father when he was a boy. They awoke early before his father’s long workday to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. It wasn’t just for fun: A successful catch under starry skies meant a fed family. Between hope-filled casts, Phi’s father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam. A review from the kid-lit site Brightly, called the tale “a beautiful and powerful story about family, culture, sacrifice, memories of home and life as a refugee. Bao Phi’s smooth prose and Thi Bui’s evocative illustrations combine to tell the story of a simple but profound fishing trip between father and son that carries with it so many of the hopes, dreams and challenges of the immigrant experience.”

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IN THE KITCHEN

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October 2017 • mnparent.com


BLACK BEAN BROWNIES INGREDIENTS 1 15-ounce can of black beans 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 3 eggs 3/4 cup sugar ½ cup cocoa powder ½ teaspoon baking powder Pinch of salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup mini chocolate chips DIRECTIONS Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Drain and rinse black beans. Process beans in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Pour in oil and eggs and blend. Blend in sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and vanilla until all ingredients are mixed well. Add 1/2 cup chocolate chips and pulse a few times until incorporated. Spread the batter into the baking dish and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the baking dish and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before slicing into 2-inch squares. Source: We discovered this recipe through Coborns Delivers’ new To the Table fresh meal kits. It’s one of more than 20 seasonal meal and dessert options for busy families that can be added to online grocery orders. Learn more at cobornsdelivers.com/tothetable.


upstan HOW TO BE AN

kid r u o Y urs) o y , (yes elp can h ng. i y l l bu stop

By Julie Kendrick

Has bullying become our new normal? Many parents and educators have anecdotal evidence that bullying has been on the rise, and experts point to disturbing statistics: More than one out of every five students say they’ve been bullied, according to 2016 data from the National Center for Educational Statistics.

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October 2017 • mnparent.com


nder


AN TO BE

der n a t ups HOW

But here’s a ray of light: Five out of five students can become “upstanders,” kids who take action when they see bullying happening. Most parents want to raise kids who would never, ever bully anyone. So they work to encourage empathy, impulse control, problem-solving and healthy friendships. Kindness is an almost universal goal. But with a bullying epidemic raging all around us, especially in our digital spaces, truly responsible parenting may require more. Experts say we need to raise a generation of kids who stop being “innocent bystanders” and instead become “upstanders.”

COACH THEM EARLY But how? Julie Hertzog, director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center based

in Bloomington, said one of the key factors is timing. She suggests having a conversation about bullying before it happens. “Don’t wait until your child tells you about a bullying situation to talk to them about self-advocacy and advocacy for others,” she said. “Children need selfconfidence and resilience to feel empowered to stand up for themselves. And those same skills help them look out for others. Be sure your child understands that it’s not OK to be silent or to look the other way when they see bullying.” Can you coach your child to be an upstander? Yes, says Patricia Agatston, who spoke at the World Anti-Bullying Forum, held earlier this year in Stockholm, Sweden. Kids who learn to develop empathy and other social skills can often turn around tough situations, all by themselves, said Agatston, author of Cyberbulling in the Digital Age. “It’s important to stress that intervention doesn’t have to be confrontational,” she said. “A lot of kids will say: ‘I’m not brave enough to stand up to this person.’ But what we know from the research is that kids who are targeted by bullying or cyberbullying say what helps them the most is just to have someone come up to them and say, ‘I’m sorry that happened,’

and listen to them.” One study indicated that more than half of bullying situations — 57 percent — stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied. School-based bullying prevention programs, meanwhile, have been shown to decrease bullying by only 25 percent.

THE POWER OF THEATER Jacie Knight, the founder and artistic director of Youth Performance Company in Minneapolis, spends most of her working days around young people. In recent years, she’s noticed her young actors talking more and more about disturbing bullying situations. “I want the world to be a kinder place, so it makes me so sad to see a growing tolerance for those who are behaving in ways that are incredibly cruel,” she said. Hard times call for great art, so Knight decided to commission an original play with music, MEAN, which tells the story of three young people being bullied — a young woman teased because of her physical appearance, a youth harassed for his sexual orientation and a devout Muslim being ridiculed because of her faith. The play incorporates social media, music and high-energy dance numbers to share a serious message: Bullying can stop, but only if we’re brave enough to step up

ME AN tel ls th e st or y of ...

a devout Muslim who is ridiculed because of her faith ...

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October 2017 • mnparent.com

a youth who is harassed for his sexual orientation ...


and say “no.” “When kids see something acted out by other young people just like them, it helps spark recognition in a way that’s uniquely powerful,” Knight said. “They feel they’re seeing their story, or the story of someone they know, and the empathy that can be built through that theatrical experience can be life-changing. Just seeing for yourself what it’s like for someone to go through a day being bullied, and to understand how that impacts someone’s life, can be a catalyst to open your heart and change the way you interact with others.” Knight hopes the production will inspire young people to speak up when they witness bullying in their own lives. “It’s our intention that audiences will be moved to self-reflection, conversation and maybe even a change of attitude,” Knight said. “I want everyone who attends a performance — school groups, families, kids and adults — to be able to look at their own behavior in light of what they experience during the show.”

REAL-LIFE STORIES Rita Cannon, MEAN’s playwright, took an investigative approach when she began writing the show. She interviewed adults, teachers and young people about their experiences. “Some of the most powerful scenes in

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and a young woman who is teased because of her physical appearance. mnparent.com • October 2017

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AN TO BE

der n a t ups HOW

the show, like when bullies force a girl to look in a mirror and say she’s ugly, came directly from those interviews,” said Cannon, a Minnesota native who currently lives in Los Angeles. “What you’re seeing on stage is a pretty accurate representation of the way that some kids treat each other. But, more importantly, some of the solutions that are presented — getting help from an upstander, changing schools or relying on family — are ones that really worked for the kids I interviewed.” Katherine Fredrikson, 16, plays a plus-size girl being bullied over her looks in the current production of MEAN. The Robbinsdale resident is a junior at the Performing Institute of Minnesota Arts High School. While she describes her current school environment as a “welcoming and accepting community,” her middle school years were challenging. “Middle school is a time when kids react to what’s going on inside themselves by taking it out on each other,” she said. “Our school had all kinds of anti-bullying efforts going on, so kids were smart enough not to try obvious or violent things, since those were easy to spot. But kids being unkind or mean, like giggling at people or excluding them, was happening all the time.” Fredrikson ate lunch all by herself during her entire sixth grade year. Her experience, while painful, has caused her to have a more empathetic perspective: “If I see anyone sitting alone, anywhere I am, I make it a point to join them. I know how it feels.”

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nts eleme rates o p r s o inc seriou MEAN hare a s o t sic ying. of mu t bull e abou g a s s me e Ulrich Jacquelin Photo by

Her advice for parents wanting to make sure they raise upstanders? “Remind your children to be kind,” she said. “Encourage them to be forgiving, but to understand how to set boundaries, too.”

THE RISE OF CYBERBULLYING While bullying has always been a sad fact of life for kids, it’s increasingly happening in on social media. The percentage of individuals who have experienced cyberbullying has nearly doubled over the past decade, according to PACER. “I’ve been doing this work for more than 10 years, and bullying has shifted from being a face-to-face, physical encounter to something that increasingly takes place online,” Hertzog said. “If someone is being bullied on a playground, that’s happening in

Middle school is a time when kids

react to what's going on inside themselves by

taking it out on each other.

— KATHERINE FREDRIKSON, A LOCAL TEEN STARRING IN MEAN

public, where adults or other kids might be around to intervene. But a group chat that’s ‘invitation only’ takes place in secret, and that can be a very dangerous thing, because everything is happening silently.” Before your child acquires access to social media, it’s important to talk about what’s appropriate, what’s not and how to respond if someone says something hurtful online. “You need to determine your own family guidelines on how you’ll handle these situations,” Hertzog said. “It’s important to remind your kids that they don’t have to respond immediately, especially if they’re angry.” In other words, the goal is to keep things from escalating, despite the immediacy of our mobile culture. Parent can discuss the long-term consequences of hurtful words, even those said in retaliation or in defense of a friend. Say: “Are you sure you’d want others to see a screen shot of your angry response if it got out tomorrow?” After all, no one wins when it comes to bullying — in person or online. “They need help in understanding that you can’t control what is happening or what bullies are saying,” Hertzog said. “But you can control how you respond and what part you want to play.” Julie Kendrick is a contributing writer for many local and national publications. She lives in Minneapolis. Follow her on Twitter @KendrickWorks.


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Parent’s Night Out is Saturday, October 21. Drop off the kids ages 2 – 10 at the Y for a night of food, fun & games. Registration is required.

17-SAC17

For more details go online to

ymcamn.org

or call 612-230-9622 Membership not required to enroll. mnparent.com • October 2017

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LIFE WITH MORE

r ec e s

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October 2017 • mnparent.com


ss

What would educatio n look like if we gave k ids — and teachers — more breaks throughout the day? BY SUSAN WANGE N

W

e’re five minutes late for recess. It’s pretty typical. My lesson ran over because there’s always just one more student to check in with: One was struggling; one was bored because he finished early. During school days, I often feel like a carnival man, spinning plates on every part of my body, hoping none of them crash to the ground.


LIFE WITH MORE

r ec e s s

As soon as the kids are dismissed, my harried routine begins: I check all their assignment journals, lay out my papers for the after-lunch lesson and, if I’m lucky, go to the restroom. Then I look up at the clock and realize I have 10 minutes for my own lunch before having to pick up the class again. Ten minutes isn’t enough to sit down, eat and talk with other adults. And that’s not to mention the lack of playtime the students are getting: With a combined 35 minutes for lunch and recess, students surely aren’t getting enough of a cognitive break or sufficient movement and fresh air to help them accomplish all that we ask of them during a normal school day. And I’m not alone in this belief. There’s now a growing movement in educational circles to add extra recess, developing alongside a movement for less or no homework. Teachers who have added more recess in other states are reporting higher student engagement and more focus from kids throughout the day. And that’s a start. But I think we need to do more.

The Finnish model Finland has been in the educational spotlight, particularly in the last decade, for having some of the top test scores in the world. Educators from all parts of the globe have visited, studied and toured Finland’s model for education to figure out: What are they doing right? Michael Moore’s 2015 documentary — Where to Invade Next — highlights the no-homework culture of Finnish schools, which also offer some of the shortest school days/years in the world. If you’ve done any research into the Finnish model of education, you’ve heard this phrase before: Less is more. Here’s where the extra recess comes in. Finnish students are given more breaks, both outside and inside. Lessons are concise and focused. And here’s the key: That means teachers are getting breaks, too! I’ve talked to so many teachers who are giving 110 percent — and there’s nothing left. How can we possibly be expected to enrich brilliant minds and produce top test scores, when we have our own basic needs (bathroom and meal breaks) that aren’t being met? Some people think teacher breaks are just as important as breaks for students. Most parents out there have had to deal with a teacher who’s less than perfect. What a struggle it is to have a child who doesn’t want to go to school, or who says the teacher is mean or crabby. Maybe those teachers just need to retire. But I can’t help but wonder, do those “bad” teachers just need a break? Which of their needs aren’t being met? Of course, any union representative will argue that teachers have breaks. And, yes, legally, we’re given minutes for prep time as well as a lunch break — not to mention time for lesson planning before and after school and the occasional teacher work day (in which students aren’t in session). But is this enough? No. As I mentioned above, that prep time goes way too fast. And most of the teachers I know are willing to give up their lunch time in a heartbeat if they see a student who’s struggling or hurting, or just can’t get it together. It’s who we are. We wouldn’t be here otherwise.

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Baby steps for Minnesota As a teacher, I’m excited to hear that many districts around the country and even in the Twin Cities are starting to employ extra recess times. This past year, I decided to try some experiments in my fourth-grade class. A typical schedule for us (and for many local schools) is:

A girl works on a lesson at a primary school in Rovaniemi, Finland. Photo

by Michal Knitl

9–11:45: Reading, Writing, Spelling 11:45–12:35: Specialists (Art, Music, PE) 12:50–1:25: Recess and Lunch 1:25–3:45: Math, Science, Social Studies That’s about two hours and 45 minutes of instruction in the morning, and two hours and 20 minutes in the afternoon. Those are some long learning blocks.

mnparent.com • October 2017

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LIFE WITH MORE

r ec e s s Teachers, of course, over the past few decades have become masters at breaking up those blocks. Things like brain breaks, movement games and partner activities have become commonplace. But they don’t have the same effect as fresh air and movement. The past couple years I’ve taught reading for just over 60 minutes, followed by writing and spelling for an hour and 45 minutes. And I couldn’t help feeling like it was a lot to ask from a room full of 9-year-olds. So this past year I added an extra recess break. It lasted 10 minutes, door to door, meaning, if it took us three minutes to line up, that was three minutes less playtime. Likewise, if it took the students too long to line up to go back inside, that was time they lost for the next day. (They got pretty good at transitioning quickly.) I was blown away by the results. When they came in from outside, they got right to work on the next activity. You could hear a pin drop in my room. They were refreshed, ready and calm. I was able to teach much more content in writing and spelling this year than the previous one. And we’re talking about a change of only 10 minutes! Overall, I took five minutes from reading, and five from spelling. What I gained was far more. We went out when it was drizzling rain, and we went out any day it was above zero. I played goalie in soccer, and pushed them

This past year I added an extra recess break. It lasted 10 minutes, door to door. I was blown away by the results. on the tire swing. I watched their red cheeks as they hung upside down on the monkey bars, happy to just be kids. They came to depend on the fresh air. The bottom line: Kids need to move. They need breaks.

Learn more ⊲⊲Finnish Lessons 2.0: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? By Pasi Sahlberg ⊲⊲Teach like Finland: 33 Simple Strategies for Joyful Classrooms by Timothy D. Walker ⊲⊲11 Ways Finland’s Education System Shows Us That Less Is More: See tinyurl.com/finnish-11.

What can we do? We need to keep encouraging our school districts to see the value in recess — free play, outside, with all types of movement. Our kids need sufficient recess blocks and small breaks throughout the day. When expectations are made clear for the students, there’s very little instruction time used. And, in my experience, students are more productive, allowing teachers to spend more time on what matters, rather than adding in homeroom activities to simply “get their energy out.” Once we master the breaks, we can focus on our instruction, and refining our homework policies and class sizes. I’m starting to think those Finnish teachers are on to something. I know: We aren’t Finland. We’re the U.S. But with a few simple tweaks, I believe we can see a world of difference for our students. Susan Wangen is a Minnesota native and a fourth-grade teacher in the southwest suburbs, where she lives with her husband and two kids, age 8 and almost 2. Follow her blog at throughthetreetops.wordpress.com.


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The art of

urban idyll Looking for places in town that feel a bit removed from the hustle of the metro, but are well within city limits? When you’ve hit your limit on trips to apple orchards, pumpkin patches and corn mazes, check out these local gems!

STORY AND PHOTOS BY STEPHANIE XENOS


Music Man

the

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Go off road

at Cedar Lake

If you’ve walked the paved paths around Cedar Lake — or created a loop bike by exploring the Cedar Lake Regional Trail and Kenilworth Trail — you know the charms of this easier-going cousin to Lake Calhoun. But did you know there’s a not-so-secret wooded path that starts at the northern-most point of the lake? Here — a short walk east of the parkway-trail junction — you can stroll alongside boggy expanses and through tall stands of trees while you enjoy peek-a-boo views of the blue lake, all away from the cyclists swarming the main trail. Make a day of it: Bring a picnic lunch and sit by the water’s edge. It may no longer be summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play in the sand of this lake’s many beaches, including the formerly nudist Hidden Beach of the eastern shore. Locate all the lake’s attractions and the northern trail’s features — known among locals as the Mound, Big Woods and Memorial Cedar Grove — at cedarlakepark.org/maps. Hungry? Hit Rustica or Punch Pizza at Calhoun Village (3200 W Lake St.), a half-mile walk from Cedar Lake’s South Beach.

>

Dive “under the sea” into Disney’s 1989 full-length film with the Academy award-winning® score performed live by the Minnesota Orchestra!

mnparent.com • October 2017

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9/21/17 9:46 AM


The art of

urban idyll

Venture out

at the Bird Sanctuary

With its wooden boardwalk and heavily wooded terrain, Robert’s Bird Sanctuary near Lake Harriet’s Rose Garden (4124 Roseway Road, Minneapolis) feels truly removed from the hustle bustle. This 33-acre preserve is big enough to keep you from running into too many other visitors, except possibly of the woodland variety. The throngs of dog walkers and cyclists just across the way at Lake Harriet feel miles away. On our visit, a deer and its fawn appeared as if by magic munching away at the abundant vegetation. Of course, it’s a great place to spot birds as well or construct an imaginary adventure that takes you and your little ones deep into an enchanted forest to rescue a unicorn. Make a day of it: From the bird sanctuary, you can check out through the adjacent gardens and many shaded bridges and trails. Or explore the shore of Lake Harriet. Hit Wild Rumpus Books in Linden Hills, named Bookstore of the Year by Publisher’s Weekly for its atmosphere, selection and live animals, too! Warm up with coffee and carbs at Dunn Brothers or Great Harvest before heading home!

Explore the woods

at St. Kate’s

Don’t let the tall, wrought-iron fence enclosing St. Catherine University (2004 Randolph Ave., St Paul) put you off. The campus is the perfect destination for wandering the woods, meandering through an English garden and encountering ducks, geese and even an occasional heron. The grounds are wide open and contain enough corners to explore to keep the kids busy for hours. Follow one of the paths through the mini-woods just south of the pond. Bring along a bird book and identify the avian visitors that waddle and float past, or make a foray to the mini-island in the middle of the pond and devise a make-believe scenario. There’s even a playground nearby that’s nearly always deserted on weekends if you want the best of both worlds. Make a day of it: St. Kate’s is Highland Park adjacent, so finding good options for lunch won’t be hard. And the neighborhood theater (760 Cleveland Ave. S., just two block away) often has a kid-friendly film on view. But if you ask us, the best bookend to a day outside is a little time with a good book — or three. Make your way, just down the street, to the Highland Park Community Center (1978 Ford Parkway) for a little quality time in the stacks.

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October 2017 • mnparent.com

>


TWIN CITIES ACADEMY Here’s Why: • 100% of our students graduate • More than 95% of our students go on to college • The University of St. Thomas selected us as 1 of 10 schools to authorize • Newsweek ranked us the #1 high school in the state of Minnesota and 42nd in the nation in 2014 • Recognized as a Minnesota Reward School for five consecutive years

A H I G H E R S TA N D A R D O F A C A D E M I C E X C E L L E N C E 690 Birmingham Street, St. Paul, MN 55106 | 651-205-4797 | twincitiesacademy.org

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9/13/17 2:33 PM

9/15/17 10:51 AM

mnparent.com • October 2017

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The art of

urban idyll

Find the other side

of Nicollet Island

Nicollet Island Park (40 Power St., Minneapolis) and its overlook of St. Anthony Falls — with its torrents of rushing water — is an iconic Minneapolis park that bustles with elaborate tented wedding parties at the pavilion year round and Music in the Park performances in summer. But have you ever ventured to the north side of the island? It’s a decidedly different, more serene world, crisscrossed by walking paths and soaring shade trees. This little slice of the city is best approached from the adjacent — and easily accessible — Boom Island Park (724 Sibley St. NE) or B.F. Nelson Park (434 Main St. NE, Minneapolis), which includes paved trails, a playground, views of the skyline, river access and a picturesque bridge that leads to a steep, stable access trail carved into the hillside. Once you reach the top, you’ll find quiet residential streets lined with enchanting historic homes, surrounded by overgrown gardens and picket fences. It’s the perfect location for an extended game of I Spy! Make a day of it: Afterward, stop by Kramarzuk’s Sausage Co., a cafeteria-style Polish restaurant and market, (about six blocks away at 215 E. Hennepin Ave.) Complete your tour with coffee for you and house-made gelato for the kids at Wilde Roast (65 SE Main St.), three blocks away on St. Anthony Main.

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October 2017 • mnparent.com


See open sky

at Open Book

Not all urban idylls involve nature. Before temperatures plummet, head to Open Book (1011 S. Washington Ave, Minneapolis). This nonprofit literary arts center is home to The Loft Literary Center, the Minnesota Center for Book Arts and Milkweed Editions. Even seasoned visitors might not be familiar with one of the more beguiling features of this urban literary outpost — the outdoor deck on the third floor. The deck is lined with sailcloth tarps that create a sense of drama on a windy day, perhaps just the thing to excite the imagination of bold young adventurers. Bring a game or a book and enjoy the outdoors in the middle of the hustle-bustle of urban life. If it rains, you can retreat indoors to one of several spaces on the first or second floor for reading and hanging out.

Make a day of it: Just a few blocks to the north, a trifecta of kidfriendly fun awaits. Indulge your collective sweet tooth at Izzy’s Ice Cream (1100 S. Second St.), challenge your children to run up and down the spiral hill at Gold Medal Park to burn off excess energy then venture up to the top of the Guthrie for a panoramic view of the river.

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Today, there are over one million kids who have been poisoned by lead from old paint. Home repairs that create even a small amount of lead dust are enough to put your family at risk. If you live in a home or apartment that was built before 1978, make sure you renovate right with a contractor that is Lead-Safe Certified in accordance with the new EPA guidelines for any renovation or repair project.

To find a Lead-Safe Certified contractor in your area, visit epa.gov/getleadsafe or call 800-424-LEAD.

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8/5/11 5:51 PM

what makes

Calvin Christian School special? Your child! We’re small enough that your son or daughter has a special place here—but we have a big academic vision and a rich, biblical worldview. Since 1961, Christian parents have looked to Calvin Christian for excellent, God-honoring education. Call today for more information or to schedule a visit. Stephanie Xenos is a freelance writer and mother based in St. Paul.

K-12 Edina • Blaine • Fridley www.calvinchristian.org 612.900.7300 Calvin Christian School MNP 1012 H4.indd 1

9/18/12 3:42 PM

mnparent.com • October 2017

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What’s your role? Five Twin Cities educators share how parents can best support their kids in the classroom — at home BY LAURA MALM


W

hen it comes to education in the U.S., teachers lead the way in molding young minds. But it’s a huge job. One might argue it’s actually too much for teachers to do alone. After all, learning doesn’t stop when the school bell rings. And support at home can make a big difference in a child’s educational experience. How exactly can parents and caregivers most effectively and efficiently help kids with the task of learning at home? Here’s what five Twin Cities educators had to say:

Read at home. Reading is one of the simplest yet most effective things a parent can do to support a child’s education. Whether you stock your home collection or visit the library frequently, be sure to read to — or even alongside — your child. Make reading a part of your everyday routines. Go for books, magazines, newspapers, toys manuals, LEGO instructions, anything that encourages the act of reading. “I cannot stress this enough: Reading must happen at home every single day for at least 20 minutes,” said Erica Larson, a second-grade teacher at Benjamin E. Mays IB World School in St. Paul. “Listening to an adult read helps a child at any age to hear and see what fluent reading sounds and looks like.” Larson also noted that going beyond reading to discuss a book can help children build comprehension and conversation skills, too.  “If time is an issue, break the 20 minutes into two 10-minute sessions,” Larson said. “When you set time aside each day for reading, you reinforce the importance of reading. You also create a wonderful and magical bonding time for you and your child. Practice, repetition and the positive emotions that come from parent-child reading experiences prepare your child for a lifelong love of learning.”

Create routines. Set a regular wake-up time every day, followed by a wholesome breakfast. After school, set time to get outdoors and exercise before preparing a meal together. A nighttime routine might include bathing, story time and then lights out early enough that kids get plenty of sleep. “Of course, there will be times when this is not possible, but consistency is key,” Larson said. “If you can maintain a balanced lifestyle and schedule most of the time, your child will get more out of school and life in general, and so, too, will the whole family.”

Encourage problem solving. “In most elementary school classrooms there is a large focus on building students’ number sense — and less of an emphasis on memorizing procedures and basic facts,” said Kimberly Henke, an academic support specialist for the Robbinsdale School District. Henke said teachers want children to be able to compose and decompose numbers in a variety of ways. For example, when adding two-digit numbers, students aren’t

taught to just add the ones column and then the tens column. Teachers want students to see numbers from all angles. They want to encourage numerical flexibility and investigative thinking. “These skills are essential to prepare students for the future where they will need to think in different ways to solve complex problems,” Henke said. “When helping with homework, encourage your children to share their thinking and have them draw a picture to help them solve a problem they are struggling with.”   Parents can try asking questions that require mental math strategies in everyday situations. Henke provided a few suggestions: ⊲⊲See numbers in a variety of ways: 7=5+2; 7 pennies; 10–3; or 2+2+2+1 ⊲⊲How many more do you need to make 10? Or 100? ⊲⊲Counting coins: How much more do you need to make a quarter. Or a dollar? ⊲⊲Money: How much change will I get if I pay with a $100 bill? ⊲⊲Fractions: When cutting food into equal parts, ask your child share a specific fraction of the food.   ⊲⊲Measurement: Find the area or volume of something tangible. mnparent.com • October 2017

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What’s your role? One thing Henke stresses is the power of language. “When sharing your own experiences around math or reading, be careful not to say things like, ‘I am not a math person,’” she said. “This can send a negative message about a child’s own ability.” Henke also stressed the importance of building kids' ability to persevere when things are challenging. “No one is born bad at reading or bad at math,” Henke said. “All our brains work in different ways, and if something is hard, we just need to find a way that makes sense. Help your children by allowing them to struggle and work through challenges independently.”

Walk the walk. It’s said that little minds are like sponges, absorbing everything they see and hear. Retired educator Joe Schreifels saw this phenomenon firsthand through his experiences as an elementary school teacher in South Washington County

School District, where he worked for more than 33 years. “To me, the most important job of a parent is providing the right environment for the child as he or she develops,” Schreifels said. Part of this includes tangible steps like providing healthy meals, having adequate school materials, setting limits on technology and providing a proper place for kids to do homework. Other aspects of a supportive environment come from the attitudes parents exhibit and the actions they take — all of which kids observe and mimic, no matter their age. “Provide an atmosphere in which a child sees how parents show respect, support and care for others. Do volunteer work, respect the environment and accept responsibility for actions without blaming others,” Schreifels said. “The child can learn as he sees the actions of his parents, and he, in turn, does the same actions.” In addition, Schreifels said, parents should encourage kids to explore their own interests. “Provide an atmosphere where the child can expand his world, try new activities, learn new skills,” he said. “These can vary from sports to music, from dance to taking a class at the science museum in virtual reality.”

Allow independence. Resist the desire to discover every detail of your child’s day. Keep in mind school is a big step toward independence, and parents can use it as an opportunity to let their children spread their wings. “The top way parents can support a child’s education is to let children experience school,” said Betsy Osterhaus Hand, principal of Saint Ambrose of Woodbury Catholic School. Having worked as a teacher and then in administration for 17 years, Osterhaus Hand understands the tendency of parents to want to know the day’s happenings the minute kids get home from school. However, firing off questions right away is overwhelming to kids. They tune out — and turn off. “I often heard more about my children’s days when we were playing catch with a Frisbee or making dinner together. It didn’t feel like I was grilling them,” Osterhaus Hand said. She recommends encouraging kids to focus on the positive. “I would usually let my own children have 30 seconds to be negative, and then I wanted to hear positive things about school,” Osterhaus Hand said. “It is easy to focus on what is wrong with the teacher and with other students, but much healthier to discuss intellectual pursuits and funny things that happened.” By talking with your kids, you may discover some stories that bother you. If you do, reach out to the school to try to get the facts before jumping to conclusions. “If you are worried about what is going on at school, check with the teacher,” Osterhaus Hand said. “I recommend getting the adult side of the story. Showing your child that you and the teacher are a united front is a great approach.”

Get involved. “The No. 1 way parents can help support their child’s education is to become


Provide an atmosphere in which a child sees how parents show respect, support and care for others. Do volunteer work, respect the environment and accept responsibility for actions without blaming others.

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involved,” said Jamie Groth, an instructional support specialist in literacy at Northport Elementary School in Brooklyn Center. Groth said this can happen in many ways. Try building a relationship with the teacher through emails, phone calls or even a notebook sent back and forth in your child’s backpack. Consider joining the PTO or volunteering in class. Attend school functions with your child. “These opportunities are not always just for the students, but for the parents to connect and show support of their child and also the school,” Groth said. “Any way that parents are in the loop on their child’s education is a win-win for everyone involved.” A parent herself, Groth knows the value of open communication with her children’s teachers. “Being present and sharing with their teachers is so much easier because we communicate and have open dialogue,” she said. Having a positive attitude about the school is also very important. Groth said: “Parents may not always understand or even agree with what kind of work the student is bringing home, but showing that they back the school sends the right message to the students on how to respect the school environment and teacher alike.” Laura Malm is a writer, editor and storyteller who lives in Woodbury with her husband and two daughters.

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Join us for our Great Scarecrow Festival! September 9th – October 29th, 2017

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visit our facebook & website for orchard updates & more! emmakrumbees.com 9/19/17 12:03 PM

mnparent.com • October 2017

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EDUCATION RESOURCES ADVERTISER LISTINGS

Charter

Cyber Village Academy Cyber Village Academy is a charter school serving students K–12 in a unique hybrid model that blends on-campus and online instruction. Strong test scores; great climate! Perfect for families wanting to stay highly involved in their children’s education! 768 Hamline Ave S St. Paul cybervillageacademy.org

Edvisions Off Campus School (EOC) EOC is an online learning community for 7–12th grade students. Create projects based on your interests and enjoy a flexible schedule while earning credit for your MN high school diploma. Discover what you are passionate about while developing real-life skills. Online Throughout Minnesota 507-237-8444 lovethisschool.org

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October 2017 • mnparent.com

King of Grace Lutheran School King of Grace is a private, Christian elementary school focused on academic excellence. We achieve this through a challenging curriculum, partnering with parents for success and anchoring our daily instruction with God’s Word. Offering Pre-K–8th Grade. 6000 Duluth St Golden Valley 763-546-3131 kingofgraceschool.com

Twin Cities Academy (TCA) TCA serves a diverse student body to succeed in a rigorous college preparatory program. TCA’s core values are fairness, cooperation, integrity, responsibility, civility, and hard work. Our educational model emphasizes: • Rigorous academics • Active community involvement • Active citizenship • Relationship building 690 Birmingham St St. Paul 651-205-4797 twincitiesacademy.org

Dance/Music/ Performance St. Paul Ballet

This non-profit, community dance school offers lessons for ages 2–100, year-round for all income levels and abilities! Children ages 7+ perform in two major shows yearly; winter and a Spring Showcase of students. Birthday parties and drop-in classes available. 655 Fairview Ave N St. Paul 651-690-1588 spballet.org

Stages Theatre Company Stages Theatre Company is committed to the enrichment and education of children and youth in a professional theater environment that stimulates artistic excellence and personal growth. 1111 Mainstreet Hopkins 952-979-1111, option 4 stagestheatre.org


mnparent.com/education

Other

Landmark Center St. Paul’s historic Landmark Center boasts four FREE museums and galleries showcasing art, music, and history. Families can take part in incredible hands-on musical experiences, amazing wood art interactives and engaging historical exhibits. 75 W 5th St St. Paul 651-292-3225 landmarkcenter.org

Preschool

Dodge Nature Preschool On a 110-acre area of our Environmental Educational Preserve, Dodge Nature Preschool brings the natural world into the lives of children, through visits to our farm, reptile lab and raptor house, hikes, gardening, and more. NAEYC accredited. Four Star Parent Aware rated. 1715 Charlton St West St. Paul 651-455-4555 dodgenaturecenter.org

Especially for Children For 41 years, Especially for Children has provided high quality childcare and education for Twin Cities families. Our NAEYC Accredited programs foster the development of the whole child. Visit us today! Bloomington, Circle Pines, Coon Rapids, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Edina, Inver Grove Heights 952-857-1100 especiallyforchildren.com

Faithful Beginnings Daycare, Preschool and Pre-K Programs Faithful Beginnings offers high-quality, top-rated daycare, preschool and pre- K programs where Catholic values shape hearts and minds. Our safe, supportive learning environments encourage students to know God and enable them to reach their full potential academically, physically and spiritually. 50 locations throughout the Twin Cities faithful-beginnings.org

Lake Harriet United Methodist Preschool Lake Harriet United Methodist Preschool offers an experience-rich, play-based, parttime, preschool program for children 3-5. MN Licensed & NAEYC Accredited. Our small class sizes (10:1 ratio) and expert early childhood educators foster children’s curiosity, confidence and excitement for learning. 4901 Chowen Ave S Minneapolis 612-926-8043 lakeharrietumpreschool.org

Minnetonka Baby & Me Learn about infant growth and development, meet other parents, and enjoy spending time with your new baby at Minnetonka Early Childhood Family Education’s Baby & Me classes. Licensed parent educators lead the discussions, covering important topics such as healthy eating, sleeping habits, and what new research tells us about your baby’s important first experiences. 5621 Cty Rd 101 Minnetonka 952-401-6800 minnetonkacommunityed.org

mnparent.com • October 2017

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EDUCATION RESOURCES ADVERTISER LISTINGS

New Horizon Academy New Horizon Academy is a Minnesota familyowned child care program that provides exceptional early education and care to over 8,000 children, ages 6 weeks through 4th grade, every day! All eligible programs are accredited through NAEYC and hold a 4 star rating through Parent Aware. Over 60 convenient locations throughout the Twin Cities area 763-557-1111 newhorizonacademy.net

Playworks Playworks is the South Metro’s premier provider of quality childcare and family fun. Offering certified teachers, state-of-theart facilities, and excellent care options, Playworks is a safe and exciting place for your child to play, laugh and learn. 2200 Trail of Dreams Prior Lake 952-445-PLAY (7529) playworksfun.com

St. David’s Center for Child & Family Development St. David’s Center serves children and families through our inclusive early childhood education, autism services, pediatric therapies, children’s mental health services, and special needs support. Our state-of-the-art classrooms, playgrounds, and DNR certified school forest encourage a love of learning in all children. 3395 Plymouth Rd Minnetonka 952-939-0396 (General) 952-542-8700 (Intake) stdavidscenter.org

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Private

Agape Christi Academy A classical, Christian school assisting parents in raising children to love the Lord with their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Enrolling preK–8th grade for 2017-18 (expanding through grade 12 in coming years). 9957 Valley View Rd Eden Prairie 952-856-0103 agapechristi.com

The Blake School Blake students strive for excellence in academics, athletics, and the arts. Thoughtfully prepared curriculum helps students think critically, solve problems, empathize, create, and make our world better. Blake provides need-based financial assistance to approximately 21 percent of its student body. admissions@blakeschool.org Highcroft Campus (Gr. pre-K–5): 301 Peavey Ln Wayzata; Blake Campus (Gr. pre-K–8): 110 Blake Rd S Hopkins; Northrop Campus (Gr. 9–12): 511 Kenwood Pkwy Minneapolis; 952-988-3420 blakeschool.org

Breck School Breck is where perpetually learning students meet a perpetually learning school. Come visit our beautiful campus where students progress from wide-eyed preschoolers to wise seniors among peers and adults who feel like family, with abundant opportunities in academics, athletics, service, and the arts. Financial aid available.

123 Ottawa Ave N Golden Valley 763-381-8200 breckschool.org

Calvin Christian Schools (CCS) CCS’s comprehensive program provides rich learning experiences that meaningfully integrate a biblical world view. Over the past 50 years, CCS has built a solid reputation for delivering an outstanding, Christ-centered education. Today Calvin Christian’s three campuses serve nearly 450 students representing 100 churches and 45 metro communities. K-8: 4015 Inglewood Ave S Edina 8966 Pierce St NE Blaine High School: 755 73rd Ave NE Fridley 952-927-5304 calvinchristian.org

French American School of Minneapolis (FASM) FASM offers programs from 16 months to Grade 5 now with an added daily comprehensive music component. At the heart of its curriculum is a strong focus on harmonizing French, English and the Arts to the bilingual learning experience. 9400 Cedar Lake Rd St. Louis Park 952-944-1930 fasmpls.org

Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School (K–8) Heilicher delivers academic excellence in a nurturing environment. Our inquirybased/STEAM approach emphasizes critical thinking, second language learning,


mnparent.com/education creative expression, and global engagement. Jewish values based education promotes a lifelong love of learning. Currently accepting applications for all grade levels. 4330 S Cedar Lake Rd Minneapolis 952-381-3500 hmjds.org

Holy Name of Jesus School (HNOJ) Holy Name of Jesus School offers a Catholic education for preschool through sixth grade. Families choose HNOJ School for the small class sizes, rigorous academics, stellar teachers and affordable tuition. 155 Cty Rd 24 Wayzata 763-473-3675 hnoj.org/school

DanceCo Performance Company MNP 1017 H6.indd 1

Kindergarten Cookie Night Thursday, Nov. 9 • 6:30 p.m.

The International School of Minnesota (ISM)

Parents: Learn about our Kindergarten program and take a tour! Kids: Decorate (and eat) cookies!

ISM is a private, non-sectarian, college prep school for preschool (age 3)–grade 12. In addition to a rigorous curriculum, students experience an international learning community where cultural diversity is embraced and celebrated. World language is taught daily by native speakers. Extended day available 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Weekly swimming lessons included for preschool– grade 3. Rolling admissions. Come for a tour! 6385 Beach Rd Minneapolis 952-918-1800 internationalschoolmn.com admissions@ism-sabis.net Facebook: The International School of Minnesota

Liberty Classical Academy Liberty Classical Academy has built one of the most creative, energetic and richly inspiring environments in the Twin Cities. Our pre-K through 12th grade program exposes students to the greatest in academics, art, and virtue. At Liberty Classical, we are building lives that inspire.

9/1/17 10:40 AM

Holy Name of Jesus School Holy Name of Jesus School MNP 1017 H4.indd 2

RSVP 763-473-3675 hnoj.org/school

9/19/17 9:53 AM

3878 Highland Ave White Bear Lake 651-772-2777 libertyclassicalacademy.org

Minnehaha Academy From pre-K to grade 12, we provide children with exceptional academics in a caring community. Minnehaha graduates dynamic leaders who significantly impact the community and world. Busing and tuition assistance available. Email: admission@MinnehahaAcademy.net Lower & Middle School: 4200 W River Pkwy Minneapolis Upper School: 1345 Mendota Heights Rd Mendota Heights 612-728-7722 MinnehahaAcademy.net mnparent.com • October 2017

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EDUCATION RESOURCES ADVERTISER LISTINGS Minnesota Waldorf School

Visitation School

White Bear Lake Area School District

Located on eight acres of open space with areas of prairie and oak savanna restoration, our school is a haven for curious minds, active bodies and open hearts. The Waldorf curriculum skillfully weaves core academics with music, art, movement, foreign language, handwork and horticulture, creating lifelong learners who are curious, motivated and conscientious.

Visitation School provides an excellent academic program within a Catholic environment. Visitation is coed from preschool– grade 6 and Minnesota’s only all-girls college preparatory school in grades 6–12.

The White Bear Lake Area School District serves nearly 9,000 students in programs ranging from Early Childhood offerings to high school graduation. Students at all levels achieve outstanding results though community partnerships, world language experiences, and International Baccalaureate opportunities.

70 E Cty Rd B St. Paul 651-487-6700 x202 mnwaldorf.org

Risen Christ Catholic School Financially accessible K–8 Catholic school providing a quality dual language education to a diverse community of learners. Students develop full academic bi-literacy (Spanish/ English) across all subjects through a culturally, rich faith- and values-based curriculum. Tuition based on family income. 1120 E 37th St Minneapolis 612-822-5329 risenchristschool.org

Saint Agnes School Established in 1888, Saint Agnes is nationally recognized. We seek to form Catholic hearts and minds, while providing opportunities for excellence in academics, arts, athletics and service. Our traditional, liberal arts education is infused by the classics and emphasizes faith, reason and virtue. 530 Lafond Ave St. Paul 651-925-8803 saintagnesschool.org

Saint Thomas Academy A Saint Thomas Academy education is an investment in your son’s future. Students receive a personalized, faith based, college preparatory education. Our teachers guide each student to be an intellectual, ethical, servant leader throughout his life. We are an all-male school serving grades 6–12. Every year, we provide more than $2.5 million in financial grants. 949 Mendota Heights Rd Mendota Heights 651-454-4570 cadets.com

St. John the Baptist Catholic School & Preschool St. John’s provides a competitively priced, comprehensive, faith-filled education preschool through middle school. Focusing on academic excellence and virtue enables students to discover and live up to their full potential. We help form productive citizens and disciples of Jesus Christ, setting a foundation for life. 845 2nd Ave NW New Brighton 651-633-1522 stjohnnyb.org

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2455 Visitation Dr Mendota Heights 651-683-1700 visitation.net

West Lutheran High School West Lutheran High School offers a student focused learning environment with Christian influenced classes and extracurricular activities. Students are able to take PSEO and AP college credit on campus taught by our instructors, as well as online college courses. 3350 Harbor Ln N Plymouth 763-509-9378 wlhs.net

Public

Minnesota Online High School (MNOHS) Nationally accredited with four strong commendations, MNOHS is a creative, connected public charter school for students who need a flexible schedule. With a 13:1 student-teacher ratio, we get to know each student and encourage all to expect joy in learning. Serving students across Minnesota 1-800-764-8166 mnohs.org

Minnetonka Public Schools Among the state’s highest performing school districts, Minnetonka is recognized nationally for classroom technology and was the first in Minnesota to teach computer coding to all elementary students. Every school offers a language immersion option (Chinese, Spanish, or English) beginning in Kindergarten. Specialized programs for highly gifted students. 952-401-5000 minnetonkaschools.org Clear Springs Elementary School, Minnetonka 952-401-6950 Deephaven Elementary School, Deephaven 952-401-6900 Excelsior Elementary School, Excelsior 952-401-5650 Groveland Elementary School, Minnetonka 952-401-5600 Minnewashta Elementary School, Excelsior 952-401-5500 Scenic Heights Elementary School, Minnetonka 952-401-5400

4855 Bloom Ave, White Bear Lake 651-407-7500 isd624.org Early Childhood Program (0–5): Normandy Park Education Center, White Bear Lake Elementary Schools (Gr. K–5): Birch Lake Elementary, White Bear Lake Hugo Elementary, Hugo Lakeaires Elementary, White Bear Lake Lincoln Elementary, White Bear Lake Matoska International IB World School, White Bear Lake Oneka Elementary (Gr. 2–5), Hugo Otter Lake Elementary, White Bear Township Vadnais Heights Elementary, Vadnais Heights Willow Lane Elementary, White Bear Lake Middle Schools (Gr. 6–8): Central Middle School, White Bear Lake Sunrise Park Middle School, White Bear Lake High School Campuses (Gr. 9–12): White Bear Lake Area High School - North Campus (Gr. 9–10), White Bear Lake


mnparent.com/education YMCA The Y is for Youth Development, nurturing the lives of children through value-based enrichment programs and serving the needs of infants, toddlers, preschool, and school age children. We are your partner with over 70 program locations across the metro area. Metro-wide 612-230-9622 ymcamn.org

Resources

Berlitz Kids® Year-Round Programs Berlitz provides engaging language & cultural programs year-round for children and teens designed to excite and motivate them to learn a new language. Expect all the educational advantages Berlitz is famous for. Summer Programs, After School Programs, Private and Group Tutoring available. Berlitz Minneapolis Learning Center 6800 France Ave S, Ste 180 Edina 952-920-4100 berlitz.us

Help Me Grow MN Young children grow, learn and change all the time. Keep track of the developmental milestones your child reaches. If you have concerns about your child’s development, talk to your doctor or refer your child to Help Me Grow MN. 1-866-693-4769 helpmegrowmn.org

mnparent.com • October 2017

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EDUCATION RESOURCES ADVERTISER LISTINGS Mathnasium Mathnasium specializes in teaching kids math the way that makes sense, helping them catch up, keep up, and get ahead. When math makes sense, kids excel and become excited about math – yes, even your kids! Call today for a free trial. 21 Twin Cities locations 877-601-MATH(6284) mathnasium.com

Minnesota Zoo Visit where amazing lives – every day! Bring the family to discover 5,300 animals along scenic indoor and outdoor trails year-round. From family nature clubs and overnights to school break camps and special events, the Minnesota Zoo offers engaging programs for all ages.

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13000 Zoo Blvd Apple Valley 952-431-9200 mnzoo.org

Parent Aware Parent Aware helps families find the quality care and education their children need to succeed. Parent Aware is a search partner. We work side-by-side with families, offering free resources to help them make informed choices about high-quality care and education. Statewide Locations 888-291-9811 parentaware.org

Science Museum of Minnesota The Science Museum of Minnesota is the Twin Cities’ must-see, must-do museum. Hands-on exhibits, a giant screen Omnitheater, provocative live science

demonstrations, and activities for all ages will provide an unforgettable spark of science learning and fun. 120 W Kellogg Blvd St. Paul 651-221-9444 smm.org

The Works Museum Explore engineering with hands-on activities and design challenges created just for kids and families. Start your engineers with our interactive exhibits, camps, field trips, birthday parties, Pre-K programs, and family events like Robot Day and Tech Fest. Visit today! 9740 Grand Ave S Bloomington 952-888-4262 theworks.org


mnparent.com/education

anguages, many cult Two l nfnite possibilities! ures, i

Special Needs

Specialty

Groves Academy serves students grades 1–12 who have learning disabilities and attention disorders. The Learning Center at Groves offers testing and services to families in the community. Teachers receive literacy training through our Institute for Professional Learning. We transform lives through education.

City Pages Winner: Best of the Twin Cities! Year-round traditional drawing and painting classes and camps for students ages 5–18 years. Exceptional student/teacher ratio. Homeschool Program. A Renaissance Program for adults also offered. See samples of student artwork; visit our website. Call for a brochure.

Groves Academy

3200 Hwy 100 S St. Louis Park 952-920-6377 grovesacademy.org

¡Dos lenguajes, muchas culturas, infnitas posibilidades!

The Art Academy

651 Snelling Ave S St. Paul 651-699-1573 theartacademy.net

X Kindergarten through Eighth Grade X Minnesota’s only Catholic dual immersion school X Tuition based on family income X Bilingual, multicultural, financially accessible X Students thrive in a safe & nurturing environment Attend a K-3 Dual Immersion Information Night on 10/25 or 11/29 at 6:00pm to learn more!

1120 East 37th Street Minneapolis, MN 55407 www.risenchristschool.org 612-822-5329

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Out & About

HALLOWEEN

mnparent.com/calendar

OCT. 13–OCT. 29

Pumpkin Nights

⊲ Walk a half-mile path lined with more than 3,000 carved pumpkins, larger-than-life displays and multi-sensory experiences, plus food and activities for all ages. Costumes are encouraged. Leave props at home. When you buy a ticket, you choose an entry time. You may enter anytime within your 30-minute time window. Once inside, you can stay as long as you’d like. When: Oct. 13–Oct. 29 Cost: Online tickets are $16 for ages 4 to 12 and ages 60 and older, $20 for ages 13 to 59, and free for ages 3 and younger. Parking is free.

SEPT 29.–OCT. 29

Spookley the Square Pumpkin

⊲ When Spookley arrives in the pumpkin patch, he’s teased because of his odd shape. Even after his new friends — the boisterous spiders Edgar, Allen and Poe — try to convince him to run for the Pick of the Patch contest, Spookley isn’t so sure. However, a threatening storm gives Spookley an opportunity to discover his own worth. When: Sept 29.–Oct. 29 Where: Stages Theatre Company, Hopkins Cost: $12–$16; lap passes are $5 for ages 3–4 and free for ages 2 and younger. Info: stagestheatre.org

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Where: Minnesota State Fairgrounds, St. Paul; Enter at 1719 Como Ave., Falcon Heights. Info: pumpkinnights.com

OCT. 8–30

Anoka Halloween ⊲ This metro-area suburb is believed to be the first city in the U.S. to put on a Halloween celebration to divert its youngsters from Halloween pranks. Today, the city is hard to beat for Halloween festivities, including parades and pumpkin-carving contests, plus other events such as bingo, a bonfire, a scavenger hunt, costume contests, a carnival and more. When: Oct. 8–30; highlights include a preschooler costume contest and a Big Parade of Little People on Oct. 27, and a carnival and a Grand Day Parade on Oct. 28. Where: Anoka Cost: FREE Info: anokahalloween.com

OCT. 14–15

Farmer Ken and Jan’s Pumpkin Patch ⊲ Take a trolley ride and bring home a Halloween pumpkin. When: 12:30–4 p.m. Oct. 14–15 Where: Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, Minneapolis Cost: Regular fares ($2–$5 for ages 4 and up) apply; pumpkins are $5. There are no advance tickets or reservations. Info: trolleyride.org

OCT. 21–22, 28–29

ZooBoo

⊲ The Como Zoo is transformed into a family-friendly celebration with live entertainment, animal visitors and craft projects, all geared toward ages 8 and younger as part of an annual fund-raiser.


When: 4:30–7:30 p.m. Oct. 21–22 and 28–29 Where: Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, St. Paul Cost: $6 to $7, plus fees; adults and all children who want to trick or treat need a ticket. Info: comozooconservatory.org

OCT. 27

West St. Paul Cost: Admission — $12 per person for ages 3 and older — includes one Scary Trail pass. Admission is $8 if you register online before noon on Oct. 26. Info: dodgenaturecenter.org

OCT. 29

Halloween Hodgepodge

Halloween Extravaganza ⊲ Take a hike on the friendly Trick-orTreat Trail or through a frightening forest on the Scary Trail. Other activities will include nature shows, face painting, a DJ dance, a costume contest, live animals and concessions. When: Oct. 27 with family activities from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and the Scary Trail from 7 to 10 p.m. Where: Dodge Nature Center,

⊲ Activities geared toward ages 18 months to 12 years at this beloved indoor event include face painting, carnival games and inflatables, a family dance and trick or treating. When: 3–7 p.m. Oct. 29 Where: Eagan Community Center Cost: $5 in advance with a fooddonation item, $7 at the door with a food-donation item. Info: cityofeagan.com

Great Pumpkin Festival ⊲ This annual event offers all the fun of Halloween without the fright, featuring staff dressed as costumed characters, storytelling, music, crafts, face painting, treats and a costume parade with candy. When: 1 p.m. Oct. 29 Where: Landmark Center, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: landmarkcenter.org

Trick ‘r Trolley ⊲ Wear your Halloween costume and hop on a trolley for a ride, a story and a treat. When: 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Oct. 29 Where: Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, Minneapolis Cost: $5 per passenger. Tickets will be available only at Wild Rumpus Books (wildrumpusbooks.com). Info: trolleyride.org

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Photo by Dan Norman

Out & About OCTOBER

mnparent.com/calendar

ONGOING

The Abominables ⊲ Minnesota’s unique youth hockey culture is the star of this one-of-a-kind world-premiere musical, created by and for Minnesotans. Geared toward ages 8 and older, the story follows Mitch, who’s always played on the A team, but is worried he might get sent down to the B team. When a young hockey-playing yeti appears at Bantam tryouts, things go from bad to worse. When: Through Oct. 15 Cost: Tickets start at $15; $5 lap passes are available for ages 3 and younger.

The Hobbit ⊲ Celebrate the 80th anniversary of the publication of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy novel. This captivating, 70-minute production — geared toward ages 7 and older — tells the tale of Bilbo Baggins’ unexpected journey with the legendary wizard Gandalf, Master Thorin Oakenshield and a band of ragged dwarfs. When: Through Oct. 22 Where: Stages Theatre Company, Hopkins Cost: $12–$16; lap passes are $5 for ages 3–4 and free for ages 2 and younger. Info: stagestheatre.org

Tinkertoy ⊲ This interactive exhibit — developed in collaboration with GE technologies and

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Where: Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis Info: childrenstheatre.org

Playskool, the infant/preschool toy division of Hasbro — features Tinkertoys as well as giant replicas of the classic construction sets to provide educational activities. When: Sept. 23–Jan. 15 Where: Minnesota Children’s Museum, St. Paul Cost: Regular admission is $12.95 for ages 1 to 101. Info: mcm.org

OCT. 1

Caponi Art Park Medieval Fair ⊲ The Middle Ages come to life with authentic costumes, music, dance, weaponry and interactive demonstrations by the Society for Creative Anachronism.

When: 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Oct. 1 Where: Caponi Art Park, Eagan Cost: $5 Info: caponiartpark.org

OCT. 3–NOV. 12

Balloonacy

⊲ Back by popular demand, this preschooler-friendly play follows the adventures of a single man and a mysterious, playful red balloon. When: Oct. 3–Nov. 12 Where: Children Theatre Company, Minneapolis Cost: Tickets start at $15. Info: childrenstheatre.org


OCT. 8–MAY 13

Sundays at Landmark ⊲ This annual fall-to-spring series of cultural and arts events is designed to entertain, enrich and educate all ages. When: Events start at 1 p.m. (except where noted) and are free through 2017: Oct. 8 (Nooks and Crannies Tour), Oct. 22 (Saint Paul Civic Symphony), Oct. 29 (Great Pumpkin Festival), Nov. 12 (Traditions of Germany), 6:30 p.m. Nov. 26 (Rose Ensemble) and Dec. 10 (Santa’s Workshop) — plus more to come in 2018. Where: Landmark Center, St. Paul Cost: All the events listed here are FREE. Info: landmarkcenter.org

we can make homelessness history.

OPENS OCT. 13

Mazes

⊲ Visitors can maneuver their way through a collection of mind-bending adventures, 3D puzzles and full-body games in this new exhibit that encourages problem-solving and creativity. When: Opens Oct. 13 Where: Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul Cost: This exhibit is included in regular museum admission of $18.95 for adults and $12.95 for ages 4–12 and 60 and older. Info: smm.org

2309 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404 612.874.0311 • www.ststephensmpls.org

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OCT. 14

OCT. 20–21

Twin Cities Book Festival

Kids at the Castle ⊲ During this regular morning playdate, kids can enjoy visual games, storytelling and music-and-movement activities geared toward ages 2 to 5. On Oct. 21, stick around afterward for Mini Transmission: Movin’ and Grovin’ at the Castle with DJ Jake Rudh from MPR’s The Current 89.3, featuring dancing, a craft activity, balloon art, photo stations and refreshments.

⊲ Internationally renowned visiting authors, local literary heroes and kids’ activities are at the heart of this daylong festival. You’ll also find a teen stage and a book fair that offers a snapshot of the local publishing scene (as well as great deals on new and used books). When: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Oct. 14 Where: Historic Progress Center & Fine Arts buildings, Minnesota State Fairgrounds, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: raintaxi.com

When: 9–10 a.m. Oct. 20 and Oct. 21 with Mini Transmission from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Where: American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis

Cost: $8 per family; registration is not required. Normally, museum admission is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for ages 6–18 and free for ages 5 and younger. Info: asimn.org

OCT. 25

Unity Day ⊲ Wear orange to honor National Bullying Prevention Month in October. Schools, communities and online communities are all invited to participate. When: Oct. 25 Where: Minnesota Cost: FREE Info: pacer.org/bullying

CHILDCARE/EDUCATION

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www.childrensyamaha.com • 612-339-2255 Schools in Edina & Roseville

Bring Growing With Music to your child care program or playgroup!

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Call 952-935-5588 and schedule a tour! www.misamigosimmersion.com

Locations in Hopkins, Minnetonka, and St. Paul

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March 2017

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MN MUSIC HALL of FAME AT YOUR PARTY! Choose band size &/or Panda! • Music for all ages available! • Special rates for flexible scheduling •

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FROM OUR READERS

Choo choo! When it comes to toys and adventure, your little ones love trains!

↑↑Lenni, 2, of Andover, with her cousins, Layla, 9, and William, 5

↑↑Catherine, 3, of Edina

↑↑Evan, 2, of Parkers Prairie

↑↑Linnea, 2, of Anoka

↑↑Luke, 3, of Mendota Heights

↑↑Evelyn, 19 months, of St. Paul

↑↑Kieran, 5, of St. Paul

Want to see your kid on this page? Send photos with your child’s first name, age and city to editor@mnparent.com.

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October 2017