Ask Northfield: Child-friendliness and State of the Schools

138560428_2f31eb3541 We had two questions submitted via the forums recently and they're worthy of promotion to the front page.  (Note that we don't enforce our 'Real Name' policy when it comes to the forums, unlike the front page.)

In this post titled "? Move down the road", menk0620 asks:

I am contemplating moving to Northfield.  Currently I am a stay at home Mom with a toddler and baby.  I am wondering what kind of activities or groups are around Northfield that would cater to that age group?  Is there a place for toddlers to run around, particularly in the winter?  Is Northfield child friendly?  Any help would be much appreciated!

In this post titled "Moving to Northfield... Toddler Activities/ Groups?", colleenzombie asks:

Our family is thinking about a possible move. We would like information about the Northfield community? Tell me what's good about Northfield. What are opinions on the community businesses, schools, healthcare (hospital/clinics) in the area?

Specifically we 'd like answer on the school district questions. What is the financial outlook of the school district? Are there worries about the districts fund balance? Is the community generally supportive when referendum questions come up for a vote? Has it been making budget cuts or will it in the future? How about cuts in programs or activities? Is the community generally supportive of the school district?

Feel free to answer by leaving a comment.

(Many thanks to orsorama for his CC-licensed question mark cloud picture.)


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Child Friendly Northfield! You betcha!

This is what the Northfield Public Library has to offer-

First Steps Early Literacy Center
A parent or caregiver-directed activity center where toddlers and preschoolers are surrounded by alphabet manipulatives,concept books, board books and puzzles, all designed to be a fun learning experience. In the library’s meeting room. Monday, Friday and Saturdays 10 am to noon.

More early literacy programs-

Patty Cake Infant Lapsit
Infant Lapsit is specially designed to encourage development of language and motor skills by incorporating books with simple songs, rhymes and fingerplays. For ages 6-18 months with parent or caregiver. 10 am Tuesdays*

Toddler Rhyme Time
Is a time to encourage development of language and motor skills by integrating movement, songs, books and rhymes for kids ages 2-3 with parent or caregiver. 10 am Wednesdays*

Story Time for 4’s and 5’s
Stories and a craft for the “just about ready for school crowd.” For those who are ready to sit and listen to a picture book, sing songs and create a small art project.
10 am Thursdays*

Carleton ACT Story Hour
Saturday morning stories and crafts. 10 am during Carleton’s
school year. *
*check at the library or on-line for monthly schedules.

Booker, the Northfield Book Bus
Booker brings Books’, stories and a full range of library materials to Northfield area daycares and preschools. We also provide library service to neighborhoods in Northfield and to northern Rice county towns and cities. If you operate a day care or other child-oriented business and are not on Booker’s route, please call the library for scheduling information.
Events & programs-at the Northfield Public Library.

No School! Programs
We offer special programs for school age children during Northfield school breaks. Sign up at the library before a break or holiday comes up.

Summer Reading Program
It is very important for children to keep reading during the summer. We offer fun learning experiences as well as incentive rewards for reading. For independent readers and “read to me” children. The SRP begins in June and ends in mid August.

Books & Stars
A summer series of fun, free entertainment for all ages featuring, music, juggling, magic and more! Coordinated by the Library and Northfield School Family Services Division. Wednesday evenings at a variety of Northfield parks from June through August.
2008 will be extra special thanks to a grant from the Southern Minnesota Arts Council!

All of these events are free and open to all. Check the website www.northfieldmn.us

NPL Rocks

My daughter took part in Booker, Books & Stars, and the lapsit program.

Is there a better public library in MN? Doubtful.

Thinigs to do with young kids in Northfield

Family Ed (ECFE) classes! The parks! (The latter two are where I met most of the friends I've had since moving to Northfield with a one-year-old quite a few years ago now.) The library! The Y! Gymnastics, dance, soccer and other team sports, Prairie & Wood Day Camp, walks in the Arb, walks by the river and through downtown, several pre-school options -- there is quite a lot to do with and for young children here. I do wish there were an indoor playground of some kind, even at a fast food restaurant, though. For that we used to go to Faribault or Lakeville. The Minnesota Zoo is a great destination for a winter day -- a manageable distance away and lots of interesting indoor spaces. We had a family membership most years that our kids were young.

NFLD City web site

Have you been to the City of Northfield's web site yet? http://ci.northfield.mn.us/

We moved to Nfld when my

We moved to Nfld when my kids were small and found SO much to do it was often hard to choose! It's been a perfect place to raise kids. Extremely child and family friendly.

Financial Outlook

Northfield is a great place, but the District is teetering on the brink of financial ruin. Two years ago, the District made its budget under the assumption that it would need 250 new housing starts a year just to stay flush. Suffice to say that hasn't happened. Nor have they reigned in spending. Certain HS esoteric college prep classes have as few as 15 or 20 kids, while general courses have 35 or more. No prioritization is taking place. I'll close by saying that that the light at the end of the tunnel isn't a flashlight.

Property Tax Fallout

To be fair, every municipality that relies upon property taxes for funding is going to be in financial hot water soon.

Crashing property values + zooming energy prices = municipal dooooom.