Free Test Preparation for your GED!

GED exams will change in 2014.  Prepare for free at Dakota Prairie ABE in Farmington or study online with i-Pathways.  Individuals who have not completed the tests by 2013 will need to take all tests again.  Just starting?  There’s plenty of time to finish by 2014. Call Dakota Prairie ABE for details:  651-463-5085 or contact  Find us at

Make an Investment!  Adults who have their degree make more money, are prepared for college and set a good example for their children.  Getting your GED is a great investment in your future.

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15th Annual Farmington Community EXPO on Sat, Jan 26th!

Farmington Community EXPOThis year marks the 15th Annual Farmington Community EXPO, an annual event that showcases Farmington Area businesses and organizations for our school district residents.  We have come a long way in those 15 years.  This year we have nearly 120 vendors bringing their message to the community, and we expect over 2500 community members to visit their exhibits.

The Farmington Community EXPO began during the late 1990’s when the community was experiencing rapid growth.  The CEEF (Castle Rock, Empire, Eureka and Farmington) Enhancement Group and Farmington Area Community Education formed a partnership to co-sponsor the EXPO.  Farmington was at the leading edge of the trend towards informational expositions and conventions.  The EXPO was well received, and grew rapidly as the years progressed.  Today it is an annual event that is eagerly awaited by exhibitors and guests alike.  Many of our exhibitors have been at the EXPO for over 5 years.  You can recognize these exhibitors by the 5+ year exhibitor signs on their booth.  Kris Akin, one of the original planners for the EXPO, states that “The Farmington Community EXPO gives community members a place to connect with their neighbors and learn about local businesses and organizations in Farmington.”

At the EXPO you will find local businesses and organizations that meet a variety of needs, from government agencies, retail businesses, service organizations, religious organizations, to health care providers and financial management organizations and everything in between.  Over 2500 community members stop in to see the displays and talk with their neighbors.

Each year we hear residents say “I didn’t know that Farmington had so many local businesses.”  That makes all our efforts worthwhile.  If you want to know what great services and products are available right here in our community, the EXPO is the place to see what makes our community a great place to live, work and play.  The EXPO will be held Saturday, Jan 26 from 9 am to noon at Farmington High School.  Be sure to put it on your calendar today!

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Don’t Let Cabin Fever Get You Down this WInter!

Winter has arrived! There is snow on the ground, the days are shorter, and most of us spend more time indoors. Preparing for the holidays keeps us active through December, but January and February can be filled with long days that keep us cooped up in the house. Sometimes we end up with Cabin Fever.

Community Education has the cure for Cabin Fever! Classes and activities are available for all ages.

For adults, we have fitness, cooking and craft classes. Winter is a great time to make those home repairs. Consider learning from our expert do-it-yourself instructor, Paul Landwehr. Paul is teaching open woodshop, sheet rock repair and basic tiling. Perhaps you have heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls? Dr. Derfler, an international educational consultant, will explain the significance of this historical find. How much do you know about Farmington? Our Explore Farmington series lets you learn from our local business people. Find all our great classes and activities here. If you are wary of venturing outside during these winter months, we have online classes on a variety of topics.  Take a look at our online catalog.

For families we have scheduled FREE family friendly movies once a month at the Farmington High School Recital Hall. Join us on Jan 5th for Toy Story 3.  Find the schedule of movies here. What a great activity for Saturday morning! The School District also has a series of FREE evening concerts put on by the various musical groups at the High School. Check out the schedule here.

Youth can find a variety of after school, evening and weekend activities, including swimming lessons, fencing, art classes, science classes and more. Our winter play is “Wagon Wheels a-Rollin” and is a great creative outlet to keep spirits high during winter.  Register online today!

Our 2012-13 Farmington/Lakeville Parenting Series has 2 more workshops. Feb 4th is a Parent Information Night for Parents of Teens, and Mar 19 is an evening with Katy Smith, Minnesota’s 2011 Teacher of the Year. Learn more about these workshops.  A great place to hear the latest information and get together with other parents. You can also participate in our online book study of Sleepless in America by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. It starts Jan 7th.

No need to stay indoors this winter – visit Farmington Community Education and cure that Cabin Fever!

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Farmington Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE)

Farmington ECFE provides a place for families to grow and learn together. The program is based on the idea that the family provides a child’s first and most important learning environment, and parents are a child’s first and most significant teachers. ECFE works to strengthen families and enhance the ability of all parents to provide the best possible environment for the healthy growth and development of their children.


Our fall ECFE programs start the week of Sept 10.  The Farmington ECFE program has several components: classes for parents and children, free family activities, home visits, parenting workshops and more.  We specialize in working with parents of children from birth to age 5.  Classes and activities are led by licensed Early Childhood Educators. Classes are scheduled for specific ages, a special topic or activity.  Some classes are just one evening, most are several weeks long.  If you are looking for a safe place to play, Farmington ECFE offers Drop in Play times.  These play times give parents and children an opportunity to play in the gym, work on art projects, and explore new things.

Dates to put on your family’s calendar:

  • Monday, Oct 1,   FREE Parenting Series Workshop featuring David Walsh, Ph.D., speaking on Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids at Lakeville South High School, 7-8:30 pm. More information here.
  • Thursday, Oct 9,  ECFE Fall Fling with Schiffelly Puppets at Meadowview Elementary School, 6:30-7:30 pm
    More information here.
  • Monday, Oct 8 or Wednesday Oct 10,  Baby Shower.  FREE class for parents of newborns (birth to 11 months) to learn about local resources and information. Receive a bag of goodies for your baby. Pre-registration required.
  • Friday, Oct 26, Halloween Walk at Dodge Middle School  5-7:30 pm.  Enjoy a safe trick or treat experience with local businesses.
  • Monday, Nov 5, FREE Parenting Series Workshop featuring Toni Schutta, speaking about Getting Your Child to Listen the FIRST Time.  7-8:30 pm, Farmington High School.   More information here.


Many of our ECFE classes begin with parent/child activities in the children’s classroom. Parents then separate from their children and join together for a discussion group facilitated by a Parent Educator. (In classes with younger children, parents remain with their child.) While the parents are in discussion, children continue to participate in activities facilitated by an Early Childhood Teacher.


Families enjoy many benefits when they participate in ECFE activities.  Many parents come to ECFE to help their children grow and learn, and then stay for their own growth and learning about parenting.  Research by the University of Minnesota found that former ECFE participants had significantly higher scores than other parents on parent involvement with their children at home, and in school, ECFE parents had more frequent communication with their child’s teacher, visits to classrooms and attendance at school functions.


A father who attended ECFE reported that “the number one thing ECFE has provided me with is a sense of support and camaraderie with other parents who have children at the same stage as mine”.

A mother who was involved in ECFE for eight years with her two children reflected:

Eight years ago I walked into my first ECFE class. I didn’t know any other parents in Farmington and was so unsure of myself as a parent. I distinctly remember the first baby class I attended and the instant closeness I felt with many of the other moms – a few have since become close friends.  Now my youngest child is entering kindergarten and my ECFE experience is coming to a close. I reflect back on the laughter and occasional tears that were shared as parents talked about the joys and challenges of raising children. I smile when I think of the wonderful times my kids played and shared in activities with other children. I will never forget the experiences I’ve had at ECFE and the difference each parent, child and educator has made in the life of my family.”

Are you the parent of a young child?  Now is the time to visit the Farmington ECFE program and start on a new adventure with your child.  Information on ECFE and other Community education programs is available online here.

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Why music in education?

Music contributes to the school and community environment (quality of life).

Music makes the day more alive and interesting, which in turn leads to more learning.

Music combines behaviors to promote a higher order of thinking skills.

Music provides a way to imagine and create, contributing to self-expression and creativity.

Music enriches life; it is a way to understand our cultural heritage as well as other past and present cultures.

Performing, consuming and composing are satisfying and rewarding activities.

Music contributes to sensitivity

Music education provides for perceptual and motor development.

It encourages team work and cohesiveness.

It fosters creativity and individuality.

Farmington Music Academy offers private lessons in Percussion, Brass, Piano, Violin and Guitar.  Please contact the Community Education Office at 651-460-3200 for more information on this great program!

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Science and Drawing and Chess, Oh My!

From engineering to sewing, graphic design to ooey, gooey slime, Community Education Youth Enrichment classes and activities are important to the development of all children. These after school activities can enhance the classroom experience in a non-threatening, fun environment.

A child that participates in enrichment classes reaps benefits that include life skills of all kinds.  Self-confidence is built while learning negotiation, cooperation and conflict resolution skills in a safe and relaxed environment.  Experience working on a team expands a child’s learning experience by exposing the child to other points of view, or different answers to a question.  Working toward a common goal and focusing on the group, rather than the individual, is a life lesson that is necessary to be successful in most environments your child will face.

Creativity and problem solving is also taught through enrichment classes by providing outlets for children to pursue their interests and curiosity.

Encourage your child to get involved in after school enrichment classes.  They not only will help with preparing your child to become responsible adults, but may also unlock a world of interest that could possibly continue into adulthood.  Farmington Area Community Education has summer enrichment opportunities available through August and watch for our fall catalog to be delivered mid August.  Find all our opportunities at


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Why Preschool is Important to Your Child – Really!

In the past, preschool was defined as an optional educational program for children prior to entering kindergarten. Today, depending on who you are speaking with, there are many practical reasons for sending a child to preschool as well as some for opting out. Most early educators define the parent as the child’s first teacher in terms of modeling and teaching values. Parents also provide in-home and community learning opportunities such as Early Childhood Family Education, Sunday School,  libraries, museums and informal gatherings of parents and children. This is a crucial role for parents and one that is not easily replicated outside of a family environment.

At the same time these early educators will also emphasize the importance of a more formal educational experience for children outside of the home. The major reason given for this is that the skills needed for a successful kindergarten experience have increased significantly with each passing year. Some educators go so far as to say that, due to higher academic standards, preschool has replaced kindergarten, which has now become more of a skills-training, stepping stone for a child to do well in the first grade.

Some of the skills that children learn in a quality preschool are experiences with pre-reading, pre-math and pre-science activities. Children also learn to follow directions from someone other than a parent and become able to function in a structured academic setting. It is also crucial that children are able to effectively socialize with other children while learning to share the spotlight of attention with others.

It is an important decision for parents to consider the significance of sending their child to preschool. Farmington’s Wee Tigers Preschool, offered through the Community Education department, is designed for three, four and five year old children.  Guided by licensed, professional staff, children have opportunities, through play, to gain school readiness skills through structured, but flexible programming. Learn more about Farmington Wee Tigers Preschool at  We are now accepting enrollments for fall classes.

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Hut, Hut, Hike!

Farmington Youth Tackle Football will begin practices on Monday, August 27.  Registration is open until July 20 for 1st-6th graders.  Learn the fundamentals of tackle football and build on basic skills.

The Farmington Youth Football Program is possible because of parent volunteers.  We rely on parents/fans of each player to help with “running the down marker chains”’ and to assist with picture night.  We also need parent volunteers to help coach. 

Coaches are required to take the Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports training.  This is a free, online course offered through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention available to coaches, parents, and others helping to keep athletes safe from concussion. It features interviews with leading experts, dynamic graphics and interactive exercises, and compelling storytelling to help you recognize a concussion and know how to respond if you think that your athlete might have a concussion. Once you complete the training and quiz, you can print out a certificate, making it easy to show your league or school you are ready for the season.  Together, we can help athletes stay active and healthy by knowing the facts about concussion and when it is safe for athletes to return to play.

Apply for a coaching position and/or register online at or call 651.460.3200 for more information.

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All the World’s a Stage…

In drama classes in school, children can be Pirates, Dinosaurs or Princesses.  Giving children the opportunity to use their imagination in a way that they may not be able to experience anywhere else not only benefits them academically, but also improves self-confidence, team work and communication skills.  There are opportunities for children to shine in the spotlight or be a voice in the chorus.  Light control, set building and costumes are just as important as the main characters in the play and children quickly learn that everyone works together to reach the same outcome.

Drama classes create a judgment free safe space for children to build trust with their classmates.  They learn the life skills of receiving feedback and being prepared for situations.  By providing the opportunity to grow, drama classes make children learn things about themselves that they may not have the chance to experience outside of the theater environment.  A UCLA study concluded that students involved in the arts tend to have higher academic performance and better standardized test scores.  (

Farmington Area Community Education, as the leading catalyst for enhancing the quality of life in our community, is committed to guaranteeing opportunities that support and enrich families and community members.   ‘The Play’s the Thing Productions’ will be performing The Princess King in May. In the story of The Princess King, Princess Genevieve wants to marry Henry, but he’s just a common cook and the King does not approve.  Filled with tongue-in-cheek humor and over-the-top characters, you will cheer for the Princess as she tries to outsmart “Prince Air-Guitar” and evil “Prince Fluffy” and become the next ruler of the Kingdom.  Performances are Friday, June 1 at 7 pm and Saturday, June 2 at 1 pm at Boeckman Middle School Auditorium.  Tickets will be available at the door.

‘The Play’s the Thing Productions’ will also be performing a summer show.  Twelve Dancing Princesses, will start casting and rehearsals in June.  Performances will be held Thursday, June 28 at 7pm and Friday, June 29 at 1pm at Boeckman Middle School Auditorium.  Enroll your child today! On-line registration for this great opportunity is available at or call 651.460.3200 for more information.

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Summer Safety and Water Safety

Three questions with three simple answers. What is the best way to get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. What are the three most important in real estate? Location, location, location. What is the most important thing for your family this summer? Safety, safety, safety. Okay, enough of the threes; but many, many, many people believe very strongly in those first two questions. As you plan activities for you and your family this summer, help ensure your safety and theirs.

For those sunny days, drink lots of water and apply sunscreen with SPF 30 (or higher) protection. Remember that sunscreen may need to be reapplied, especially if/when going in and out of water. On days when the weather may change for the worse, be prepared for severe weather. Know if a “watch” is in the forecast. If a weather siren is heard, that means there is a “warning” very near. For a tornado warning or severe thunderstorm warning, you need to seek safety in a lower level of a sound structure – like a basement. If that is not possible, get to an interior room of a building away from windows. If you are caught outside in a lightning storm, do NOT seek shelter underneath a tree. Get inside a building.

Road Trip-
Whether heading out for the day or the weekend, on a bike or in the car, let somebody know where you are going and when you plan to be back. If possible, bring a cell phone so that you can contact people if/when necessary and when it can be used safely. In the car, buckle up and avoid distractions. On a bike, wear a helmet and ride on a designated path or on the right side going the same direction as the cars. Stop at stop signs and obey speed limits too. At night, it is actually a MN law that your bike has working lights on the front and back.

At the Pool/Beach-
Never swim alone! If something happens, there is no one to help or get help. Always try to swim at a facility that has trained/certified lifeguards. Know your limits. Swimming across the lake or river may be too difficult. Small children, or even adults, that are weak swimmers should wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket … even at a pool. Take swim lessons. Check for upcoming classes at Dodge Middle School. Call the indoor pool at 651-460-1515 with questions about lessons.

Wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket. Over 90% of drownings in lakes and rivers happen to people who were not wearing a life jacket. Most people who drown in open water did not intend to go IN the water. Even when fishing off of a dock, people can fall into the water, which is very cold much of the year; so wear a life jacket. In MN, it is a law anyone age 12 or younger must always wear a lifejacket while on the boat and that a boat 16’or longer have enough life jackets for everyone on board to wear and one additional one that could be thrown to someone who may have fallen overboard.

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