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Early Childhood Programming Remains Robust Through Distance Learning

– It’s no secret that the recent COVID-19 pandemic has required learning to change drastically in a short amount of time. Not only has Columbia Heights Public Schools (CHPS) risen to the challenge for school-aged children, the District’s Early Childhood team continues to serve families through distance learning and in-person when possible.


“We are committed to serving all families through support, education, empowerment and advocacy in our Early Childhood programs,” said Early Childhood Program Manager Tiffany Grams Farkas. “We strive to help families achieve their own individual goals in their own unique style through regular communication, one-to-one support and by offering a variety of opportunities to join us for learning and fun experiences.”

According to Parent Educator Lauren Mitchell – who joined the District this year – Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) can be such a lifeline for parents with young children.

“I joined ECFE when my son was young and it was a way for me to learn parenting skills and to be able to dialogue with other parents and where we met lifelong friends,” Mitchell said. “Our District’s ECFE program is strong. I love that it’s small and has such rich diversity.”

The primary purpose of ECFE is to make school and separation from home gradually less and less scary for children. ECFE provides a healthy and proven way for children to acclimate to a school environment in a way that’s age appropriate. CHPS continues to provide its wide array of offerings from group classes to one-on-one visits, parent seminars and even monthly events like Super Saturdays.

In a time where parents have been thrust back into a stay-at-home mentality, the CHPS early childhood teams wants to remind parents that everything looks different right now. “Reset your expectations, set some goals and don’t hesitate to reach out for support,” Mitchell noted.

“Find ways to connect with others virtually,” stressed Early Childhood Teacher Lorien Stewart. “I know screen time is hard, but 15 minutes for your children in an ECFE class can be so beneficial. They are hearing and participating more than they might seem.”

For more information on the District’s Early Childhood offerings, contact the Community Education office at 763-528-4517. For resources, activities and more, visit