• Amazing Opportunities for You and Your Young Child

    Posted by Julie Midas, District 742 Director of Early Childhood Education on 8/31/2016 12:30:00 PM

    We are very excited to be able to offer a multitude of educational early childhood and preschool opportunities for families with young children birth to kindergarten entry.

    District 742 Preschool

    New this fall is free Voluntary Preschool for 4-year-old children. This preschool is available on a limited basis to children living or attending day care within the boundaries of Discovery, Lincoln and Talahi Schools. In addition, we offer financial assistance to qualifying families at all preschool locations: Clearview, Colts Academy, Discovery, Kennedy, Lincoln, Oak Hill, Talahi and Westwood schools.

    Preschool for 3-year-old children is also offered at most locations and Early Childhood Family Education has many opportunities for children and parents to enjoy time together.

    District 742 preschool

    Please check out Early Childhood Education opportunities at www.isd742.org/earlychildhood. Call Jan today at 320-253-5828 to register for a preschool class and/or a parent and child class. We look forward to meeting you and your child at school in September!

    Don’t forget… you are your child’s first and most important teacher, so remember to read, talk and play with your child each day.

    Julie Midas, Director of Early Childhood Education

    Julie Midas, District 742 Director of Early Childhood Education

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  • Early Childhood Mental Health

    Posted by Angie Klinefelter, Licensed Early Childhood Parent Educator on 7/29/2016 1:30:00 PM

    St. Cloud Area School District 742 Early Childhood Education staff attended the 2016 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Conference in Duluth this past April. Londa Wagner(Mental Health Triage Therapist), Deb Bryer and Angie Klinefelter (Parent Educators) did the following presentation titled: The Enhancement Project: How One School District has Implemented a Program to Integrate Early Childhood Mental Health and Birth to 2 Special Education Services”.

    The project was developed for children birth-three years of age and their caregivers with social emotional concerns as the focus. The early childhood mental health perspective is integrated into the existing early intervention model. The parent educator is added to provide individualized services to strengthen the parent-child relationship and address social emotional needs of young children.

     Early Childhood Child

    For more information regarding Social Emotional Development from the infant/toddler perspective, view this article on relationships.

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  • Self-Regulation is Key

    Posted by Linda McNelly, Licensed Early Childhood Parent Educator on 3/22/2016 4:45:00 PM

    This week, our early childhood family education groups have been looking at the development of self-regulation in toddlers. The following are key points made by Tovah Klein in her 2014 book, “How Toddlers Thrive: What Parents Can Do Today for Children Ages 2-5 to Plant the Seeds of Lifelong Success”.

    Parent and Child

    Young children are experiencing complex emotions: fear, anger, worry, sadness, elation, pride, shame and making new neural connections everyday (through their senses, language and through play). They often don’t quite know how to handle all this new information and stimulation.

    Parent and Child

    Self-regulation is what enables a child to handle intense thoughts and emotions, keep on task, bounce back from disappointment, solve problems, listen, make friends, manage everyday stress and develop coping mechanisms. Self-regulation is also a set of life skills that enable a child to calm down, communicate needs and stay relatively secure, even through change and transition. These skills are hard-wired in the brain, if conditions are good -and when parents help them develop through modeling, guiding, providing comfort and scaffolding. Developing self-regulation skills takes repeated practice over time.

    Parent and Child

    For information on early childhood family education from St. Cloud Area School District 742 visit our website or call 320-253-5828 and we will be happy to connect with you and your family.

    Linda McNelly, Licensed Early Childhood Parent Educator 

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  • Preschool Registration - It's Time!

    Posted by District 742 Preschool Licensed Teachers on 2/4/2016 2:00:00 PM

    Early Childhood Preschool

    Preschool registration for the 2016-17 school year is just around the corner! St. Cloud Area School District 742 offers high-quality, early childhood programming for 3-year-olds and 4 to 5-year-olds in an inclusive setting located in six locations across District 742.

    District 742 preschool classes offer opportunities for developmentally appropriate activities that focus on the following areas: math and literacy instruction, gross and fine motor development, art and music, and cooperative play with peers.

    Early Childhood Preschool

    The thought of sending your little one off to school for the first time might feel overwhelming. Your child will practice skills such as engaging their peers in play, following the routines and rules of the classroom, and how to trust adults other than their parents. Children quickly become active members of the classroom community. As teachers, we work hard to prepare your child socially, physically and academically for kindergarten.

    If you were to ask a preschool student what their favorite part of school is, you should expect PLAYTIME to be the typical response. Young children do most of their learning through play. Future scientists, architects, chefs, writers and doctors are born through play. Children learn to compromise, negotiate and plan together. They develop plans and execute them. There is triumph and disappointment. But most of all there is fun and enjoyment. Visit any preschool classroom and you will see learning can take place in a variety of ways.

    Early Childhood Preschool

    We value quality interactions with children and their families. Conversations are plentiful and reciprocal. Children love to learn about their teachers as much as we love getting to know our students. Books are selected with care to inspire, entertain and engage young readers. We can provide a window to the rest of the world through quality literature. Music choices are carefully made to encourage active participation and instill a love of music. Art activities are open-ended and of wide variety. As children use many different materials, we see future artists hard at work!

    We see parents as an integral part of a child’s preschool experience. We welcome and encourage questions, concerns and suggestions. If you have questions about District 742 preschool, please contact Jan at 320-253-5828. Open house information for the 2016-17 school year can be found on our website

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  • The ABCs of Birth-Three Early Childhood Special Education Services

    Posted by Jean Motschke & Ione Schmitt, Licensed in Early Childhood Special Education & Occupational Therapy on 1/12/2016 4:20:00 PM

    ECSE Mom and Child

    Watching a young child grow and develop is exciting and joyous! Parents watch their infants and toddler’s development unfold with a sense of awe and wonder. While all young children grow and develop at their own rate, some young children experience delays and this can be very difficult for parents. Help at an early age can make a difference in the lives of all young children with developmental delays or special needs and their families. 

    Help Me Grow (www.helpmegrowmn.org) is the name of the program in Minnesota that is designed to promote early learning and development for young children and support for their families. Parents concerned about their child’s development can call Minnesota Help Me Grow (1-866-693-4769) or call the St. Cloud Area School District 742 Early Childhood Special Education office at 320-253-5828 to refer their child. 

    Eligibility for birth to three intervention services is determined through an evaluation process. The evaluation team includes parents, caregivers and professionals such as: early childhood special education teachers, occupational, physical and speech therapists, vision teachers, audiologists, autism specialists, school psychologists, social workers, etc. A parent’s written permission is required before the evaluation can begin.

    Children birth to three years of age, who may be experiencing delays in their development for several reasons, including special health conditions, may receive infant and toddler intervention services through the St. Cloud Area School District 742 Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) program. These services are designed to meet the unique developmental needs of each child and their family and are offered at no cost to families. Accessing these services as early as possible will ensure the best developmental outcomes for the child. 

    After a child is found eligible for infant and toddler intervention (birth to three services), the first step is to develop a service plan with the family. The Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is a written plan for providing early intervention services for the child and family. 

    ECSE Mom and Child Interacting

    The IFSP is developed by a team including the parent(s) and/or other family members and professionals who understand the child’s developmental needs. The goal of the IFSP process is to provide families with resources and strategies that they can embed into daily activities to help their child grow and develop. Based upon the evaluation information, the family and educational team identify priority outcomes and services needed for the child and family. Services are provided in natural environments including a family’s home or childcare setting. 

    With infant and toddler intervention, we believe that parents know their children best and are the most important people in their child’s life. Children develop skills through regular and repeated opportunities for learning. Parents and caregivers, who spend the greatest amount of time with their children, are the most effective teachers! Let’s partner together to Help Children Grow! For more information on St. Cloud Area School District 742 Early Childhood Education visit our website at www.isd742.org

    “The birth through three (B-3) program looks at your child as a whole person. Medical therapists focus on a specific area, and the B-3 teacher gets to put everything together as a whole. You have always celebrated Natalia’s accomplishments; no matter how small. You make the sessions feel like just play even though there is a whole science behind what you guys are doing. In our world that is full of medical talk, it’s refreshing to have a program that can deliver the services your child needs, but do it in a way that you forget it is professional therapy.”    - Amber Remley, Parent

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  • What is ECFE?

    Posted by Lucy Bauer & Ellen Kearns-Early Childhood Parent Educators on 12/17/2015 9:00:00 AM

    Parents and their young children birth to age five have been coming to school together in the St. Cloud community since 1972. Originally funded by grants under the Bush and Kellogg Foundations, the Parents Are Teachers (PAT) and Family Oriented Structured Preschool Activities (FOSPA) are the fore runners of Minnesota’s state wide parent-child program called Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE).

    ECFE Child

    The focus of ECFE in St. Cloud School Area School District 742 continues to be the development of caring, competent, and confident parents and children. Our goal is to help families develop healthy parent-child relationships that will positively shape children’s futures and bring personal growth and fulfillment for parents. Parents today face many issues related to the care of the family and children. We believe that parents can expect and should receive education and support from their community.

    ECFE parents and kids

    The beginning is the most important part of the work. To learn more about the benefits of ECFE visit the Minnesota Association for Family and Early Education (MNAFEE) website and view the ECFE Evaluation Report HERE. Or get answers to commonly asked question about ECFE from MNAFEE HERE

    For more information visit our website at www.isd742.org. You will hear more about our programs and useful resources for families as the months progress. We have classes for everyone! View them and register in the new winter catalog. We can't wait to meet you and your family!

    Lucille Bauer-Early Childhood Parent Educator

    Ellen Kearns-Early Childhood Parent Educator

    ECFE Class

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  • Welcome to Early Childhood Education!

    Posted by Director of Early Childhood Education, Alicia Jepsen on 12/15/2015 12:00:00 PM

    Director of Early Childhood Alicia Jepsen

    Greetings from Early Childhood Education in St. Cloud Area School School District 742! Early Childhood Education provides comprehensive services and supports to families across our school district. I want to take this opportunity to share information about each of the unique programs in early childhood and all the opportunities and supports we provide to families and caregivers of our youngest learners in our district.

    Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) is an opportunity for parents/caregivers to come together with their children ages birth to kindergarten entrance to engage in developmentally appropriate learning activities with their child, as well as engage in conversations with other parents, facilitated by a licensed parent educator, to discuss the joys and challenges of parenting in this 21st century world. Families enjoy time together to play, learn and grow, build their confidence as a parent, support their child’s early development and learn about resources and supports that are available in our community.

    We are excited to roll out our new Early Childhood Education Winter catalog with a new design! Take a look at the opportunities that are available to you at our early childhood center, Colts Academy in St. Joseph, or at one of our early childhood classrooms at Discovery and Talahi Community Schools. Families do need to register for classes in ECFE. There are many different options for different age groups, times and locations. Take a look and see if you can find a class that is a good fit for you and your family!  

    Early Childhood Screening is a free check of how your preschool age child is growing, developing and learning. Minnesota law requires that all children receive this health and developmental screening prior to entering kindergarten in the public schools. We recommend that families sign up for this free screening right after your child’s 3rd birthday. The screening includes a developmental assessment, vision and hearing screening, height and weight checks and a review of immunizations and health history. The purpose of screening is for you to know that your child is on track for learning and to identify children who may need additional time and experiences in a preschool setting in order to be ready for kindergarten. Children who are identified as needing additional supports will be referred, with parent permission, to the Early Childhood Special Education evaluation team for further testing, resources and supports. Be sure to call us at Colts Academy to sign up for screening or go online to sign up for a time. Screening occurs most Tuesdays and one Saturday each month. We look forward to meeting you and your child!

    St. Cloud Area School District 742 Preschool Programs are offered to 3 and 4 year old children at six different locations in our district, including Colts Academy, Clearview, Discovery, Kennedy, Oak Hill, and Talahi Community Schools. Children who are 3 or 4 on September 1st are eligible to enroll in a preschool classroom. Our preschool program is a Parent Aware 4 star rated program taught by licensed early childhood teachers. Preschool is a tuition-based program with transportation within school boundaries provided for an additional fee.   Families who are eligible can access a limited number of reduced tuition slots for preschool or an early learning scholarship, which supports the cost of tuition and transportation. Families can inquire in our office at Colts for further information about financial assistance.

    Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) provides special education services and supports to children birth to kindergarten entrance who have been identified as having a developmental delay, speech or language disorder or other identified disability. Parents and caregivers who have a concern about a child’s development can make a referral to the Help Me Grow system (www.helpmegrowmn.org) or call our office regarding concerns or questions. Infants, toddlers and two year olds who have been identified through an evaluation typically will receive services from an ECSE teacher and other specialists (ie: speech language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist) in their home or child care center. Children who are preschool age receive special education services in a special education or preschool classroom at one of our 6 locations across the district. Children can also receive supports in a community childcare center or Head Start center depending on the specialized needs of the child. Be sure to call our office at 320-253-5828 if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s development.

    On behalf of all the staff in early childhood education we look forward to being able to serve your family!

    Early Childhood Class




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