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Changes coming to parenting series

The old saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

While that's probably true for a lot of things, sometimes a little tweak here and there can't hurt, either.

So maybe that's part of the reason the people who organize Farmington's annual Parent Fair decided to change things up just a bit this year. Instead, a new Parenting Series is being offered.

Change, after all, can be good.

For the past several years, the annual Parent Fair rotated between hosts in Farmington and Lakeville, as the two Community Education departments work together to offer the fair. In its simplest form, the Parent Fair brought in a few speakers in a one-day stint. There were tables set up with lots of resource materials for parents, and the whole thing was free.

Farmington's adult and community programs manager Barb Pierce said the program, as it was, was working well. But she and her counterparts in Lakeville thought it could be a little better.

The biggest short-coming of the previous Parent Fair, she said, was that if a family had something going on during the one day when the Parent Fair was held, those parents wouldn't be able to participate or benefit from any of the speakers or topics being offered.

Instead, organizers this year decided to set up this Parenting Series. It includes five speakers, at different times throughout the school year. If, for instance, parents could not attend the November session, they might be able to get some questions answered in January or February.

"If we had them on a few different topics, we thought we could reach more people," Pierce said, "so then we thought we would offer a parenting series so we would be able to spend a little more time on topics, too."

The series kicked off this week, with long-time speaker Corwin Kronenberg giving his presentation in Lakeville. The next one will be in Farmington on Nov. 9, when presenter Terri McCarthy teaches parents to deal with tough issues during her "Parents Get Your Head in the Game" talk. McCarthy will speak from 7-8:30 p.m. in the lecture hall at Farmington High School.

On Jan. 31, Gaye Hanson will present, "Oh the Places You'll Go... and the Kids Who'll Drive You There." Her talk gives a "humorous and touching look at parenting in the good and bad times," according to the flyer from community education. That session will be held in the auditorium of Kenwood Middle School in Lakeville, starting at 7 p.m.

The final two sessions will held in the lecture hall at FHS, and they're both in February. First, on Feb. 7, a panel discussion is planned to educate parents about the choices teenagers are facing. Then, on Feb. 28, Kilee Christnagel presents, "Controlling the Chaos." The latter, according to the flyer, will help parents establish effective rules and consequences to deal with kids' behaviors. Both sessions run from 7-8:30 p.m.

"We know that parenting is a hard job. As society gets busier, parenting gets harder," Pierce said. "One of our jobs as a school district is to be there to help and educate parents so they can raise successful learners."

The sessions are all free, and preregistration is not necessary. Additional Continuing Education Units (CEU's) are available for a fee of $5 per person, per session. Childcare is not provided during these sessions.

For more information, visit Farmington Community Education at or call Pierce at 651-4603203.

"We look forward to see parents in the community coming to meet other parents and learn how to raise healthy, happy kids," she said.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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