Community Education Did What we Do Best

Spring/Summer 2020…Community Education Did What we Do Best
Posted on 11/17/2020
Serving all Ages

With the world changing quickly in mid-March, Farmington Community Education adapted quickly to the needs that were arising in our community. Community Education is a statewide system that reaches all communities through local schools and school districts. Each year, Farmington Community Education’s programs that serve all ages are enhanced and designed to enhance the capacity of our programs to meet the changing needs of local residents. Spring and summer programs were planned, registrations were open and the summer program catalogue had just been mailed to every home in the Farmington School District.  As soon as school districts were closed due to COVID-19, it became apparent that Farmington Community Education preschool, ECFE classes, school age care, swim lessons, youth enrichment camps and classes, adult experiences and ABE/ESL needed to pivot and flex to maintain the important connections that support individual and lifelong learning for so many.

The Governor’s Executive Order 20-02 on Sunday, March 15 to provide free child care for the children of emergency workers was met with an immediate response by the Farmington School District and Community Education. With support from the District Administrators, nurses and custodial staff, a plan was put into place by the Community Education Kid Connection and Stepping Stones Staff to provide the Temporary Emergency Child Care that began on Tuesday, March 16 at 6 am at Meadowview Elementary.

Wee Tigers Preschool, ECFE classes, piano and some music lessons, as well as some Youth Enrichment classes and Twist “N” Tumble activities went online to support students and parents through the difficult early days of not being able to meet in person in a school building. Program planners and instructors were contacting parents and students and inviting them to stay connected in a “new way”!      

Kid Connection (School age care) and Stepping Stones (Preschool age care) shelved the parts of their summer curriculum that included field trips on buses, large group activities and visiting on-site entertainment. The resulting summer plan proved to be a mix of projects, themes, and contests that engaged and stimulated the children while providing a safe and stable environment that parents approved of. Care was provided from June 15 – August 14 at Meadowview and Riverview Elementary.

Swim Lessons at Dodge Middle School Pool held 6 of 8 sessions planned after the MN Dept. of Health Guidelines allowed the pools to re-open. Younger, less experienced students were accompanied by their parents in the pool due to social distancing challenges and the more advanced classes were held with the students in the water and instructors on the pool deck. 171 participants took part in swim lessons and parents and staff are to thank for making this happen.

Youth and Adult Enrichment classes and Twist “N” Tumble Gymnastics provided both online and in person classes following social distance guidelines and sanitation requirements. Youth and adult took part in classes June 10-August 31. Babysitter Training and Home Alone classes were popular.

One small boy commented that he could not wait to come to class each day to stand  on the tiger paw painted on the sidewalk outside the school before students went in to the building. A school age care parent reported that her daughter was so excited on Mondays to return to Kid Connection. So Spring/Summer 2020 was different for all of us, but the one constant was the commitment of the Farmington Community Education staff to parents, children and each other, all working together to respond to the challenges of COVID 19. The community, parents and students brought inspiration and excitement to each program. These uncertain times have illuminated so many of the caring and supportive acts of so many and we are proud to say, “That’s Community Ed and #WeAre192.