Family Time: Parent, child in class together makes a nice PAIIR

Babies, toddlers, preschoolers — tell your parents it's time for PAIIR.

PAIIR, which stands for Parents Are Important In Rochester, is the public school system's early childhood family education program. Its fall programming gets under way early next month. Registration, however, starts now.

"We mailed registration newsletters the first of August and will hold First Draw (for registration) on Aug. 21 at noon," said Peggy O'Toole-Martin, Early Childhood Family Services manager, noting that families can register by mail, phone, online, in person, or at the PAIIR outdoor registration drop box. "Classes start the week of Sept 9, and we have something for everyone."

One-time, ongoing, and drop-in classes are offered mornings, afternoons and evenings, September through May, to families with children ages birth to kindergarten enrollment. There are age-group classes (newborns only, just toddlers, only big kids), classes designed around a specific topic (parenting a child with challenging behaviors, happiest baby on the block), support and education groups (parenting with a disability, single-parent support group, parenting a child with special needs) and activity-driven classes (story time, play and learn).

PAIIR also offers online classes, including two free one-time webinars this fall, and classes that focus on school readiness, such as what preschoolers and parents should be doing to make sure they're on the path to school success.


"Try us once and you'll be hooked," O'Toole-Martin said. "Parenting is tough, and no one has all the right answers. PAIIR is a great way to meet other parents, get information on your child's growth and development, and learn strategies and skills to help your child succeed in school and life."

Last year, about 3,000 children and 3,000 parents participated in PAIIR classes and events. Classes meet at a variety of Rochester school district buildings. Contact PAIIR if you need help paying for classes — no Rochester resident will be denied participation due to inability to pay — or with transportation to and from class.

"We don't want anyone not to come because of financial or transportation reasons," O'Toole-Martin said. "Give us a call. We can help."

Old-time fun

Take a trip back in time at Days of Yesteryear Saturday and Sunday at the History Center of Olmsted County. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. It is hosted by the history center in conjunction with the Mechanical History Roundtable. Families will have fun grinding corn, making rope and washing clothes the old-fashioned way. Held rain or shine, there's also an antique tractor pull, blacksmith demonstrations, classes in the country schoolhouse, 1860s baseball, and more. Tickets are $5 in advance or $7 at the gate. Free admission for kids 15 years and younger. Go online, , for ticket information.

What else?Families will enjoy free family movies at the history center's Movies Under the Stars. Held outside on the history center's baseball field Saturdays through Aug. 23. Pre-movie activities (games, activities, music) are sponsored by local nonprofits (SEMCIL, Minnesota Children's Museum, Rochester Symphony and Chorale) and start at 7 p.m. The movies start at dusk. Upcoming movies include "The Muppet Movie" (Aug. 9), "The Artist" (Aug. 16) and "Johnny Tremain" (Aug. 23). Go online, , for more information.


Flower power


Pick, cut and create at Sargent's Arrange with the Natives on Aug. 21. Part of the ongoing Wee Wednesdays series, the parent-child class has participants creating flower arrangements with native grasses and prairie flowers. Class is $8 (parents free), additional siblings $4. Registration required. Call 507-289-0022 to save your spot.

Want more?Wee Wednesdays are held the third Wednesday of each month, March through December, 9:30 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. Classes are open to preschoolers and kindergartners and their favorite big person. Upcoming classes include Big Machines (Sept. 18), Textures of Fall (Oct. 16), and Fairy Garden Fun (Nov. 20). Go online, , for a complete list of Wee Wednesdays classes.


Safety seat

Make sure your youngster's car seat is installed correctly at an upcoming car seat inspection. Held at Rochester Fire Station #4, 1875 41st St. N.W., and hosted by the Mayo Clinic Trauma Center, the next inspection is 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 14. Space is limited. Appointments are required. Call 507-255-5066 to save your spot.

What's next?The Mayo Clinic Trauma Center conducts free, by-appointment, car seat inspections, April through October. Other upcoming dates include Sept. 4 and Oct. 2. Call for additional details.


On the bus


Child Care Resource & Referral's SNAP Bus makes two more stops this summer. The Summer Neighborhood Activity Program Bus pulls into Homestead Park on Thursday and Silver Lake Park on Aug. 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. both days, offering a variety of interactive and do-it-all-by-yourself summer fun (books, crafts, sports, art). Free. No registration. A caregiver must accompany children under five years of age. Call 507-424-1557 for more information or if the weather looks questionable.

Lindy Lange is editor of .Up next: Get ready to go back at the Back to School Rally.

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