Happy Wednesday! Megan here.

Weather check: Spring?

This week, it's an incredibly rare week where there are no local public meetings, so while light on government news, I did take a look at what's going on in Pierre and how Sioux Falls-area lawmakers' legislation is faring. You'll find that story Friday.

  • In this issue, you'll meet a woman bringing a new form of alternative education to Sioux Falls via "microschooling." Plus, get the latest on how local groups are working together to bring some tangible solutions to the ongoing childcare crisis, some Super Simplified Stories and a roundup of events.

And now, news:

COMMUNITY

How a grant-funded partnership will support childcare providers

Simplified: A number of community organizations in Sioux Falls are working together to help more people open daycares in Sioux Falls and to connect parents with open spots.

two toddler playing letter cubes
Photo by Marisa Howenstine / Unsplash

Why it matters 

  • This is some of the first real, tangible action the community has taken to enact recommendations made last summer by the Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative. 
  • The work is facilitated by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, which is working with partner organizations including the Helpline Center, Startup Sioux Falls, Lutheran Social Services, the City of Sioux Falls and Sioux Falls Thrive.
  • Its worth noting that right now these groups are working with a $31,500 budget from a Governor's Office of Economic Development grant. But, the hope is they’ll use that money to learn more about the specific needs of providers in order to secure hundreds of thousands more dollars for implementation. 
"This next step that we're taking right now through this grant is really the first propulsion of moving action forward," said Mike Gray, director of business development for the development foundation. "We're finally going to see some action out of the Childcare Collaborative's recommendations."

So, what solutions will parents see?

And what happens next?


EDUCATION

Meet the woman bringing a "microschool" to Sioux Falls

Simplified: Home-schooling has been on the rise in South Dakota in recent years, and now a Sioux Falls woman is looking to give parents another alternative to traditional schooling with a new "microschool." Meet Cassandra Brown.

Why it matters

  • In some ways, Brown sees microschooling as a way of returning to what education looked like for her grandfather in the days of a one-room schoolhouse with kids learning together.
  • A microschool is essentially a small learning environment, similar in a lot of ways to home-schooling. Brown describes it as a way for parents to essentially have someone else home-school their kids.
  • Brown plans to open The Pelican School this fall, which aligns with her oldest son entering kindergarten. She's bringing her experience as a tutor, a parent and a former home-schooled kid – along with a philosophy that kids should spend less time in a classroom and more time and space to learn through play.
"Five-, 6- and 7-year-olds were not made to be sitting still for 45-minutes to an hour at a time," Brown said.

Tell me more about microschooling


TL;DR

Super Simplified Stories

  • Big announcement coming for Riverline District. Listen, when I tell you I've been regularly emailing the folks working on the Riverline District for months now, please believe me. BUT they're finally ready to reveal their "big, bold vision for the future," during an event Monday, Feb. 5 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. The press release even said to bring your kids because there will be indoor recreation activities – good news for my 3-year-old.
  • Hear about McKennan's new wading pool. The city is hosting an open house at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday evening at DakotAbilities. You can go get a look at the proposed plan for the new wading pool and get a chance to give your feedback before the final design is set in stone.
  • Attend a health and wellness fair. The Sioux Falls School District's Community Learning Centers are teaming up with Sanford Health to host three health and wellness fairs over the next month. Find information, vendor booths, health screenings and adult vaccinations (if you bring your insurance card). Plus you can win door prizes and a kid's bike raffle. The events will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. with the first one Feb. 1 at Terry Redlin Elementary, then Feb. 20 at Oscar Howe Elementary and then March 5 at Susan B. Anthony Elementary.
  • New private school opening. St. Joseph Academy is a new hybrid classical school opening on the St. Joseph Cathedral campus in the fall. Students will learn in the classroom Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and then get a chance to continue their curriculum at home with their parents. Find more information on their website.
  • Help name wolf pups. There are six critically endangered wolf pups at the Great Plains Zoo, and you can help name them. You can vote for your favorite names by making a donation to the zoo – proceeds will help care for the wolves, as well as fund future renovations to their habitat. Learn more and donate here. Oh, and here's a picture of just one of the six cute lil puppies:

EVENTS

Stuff to do: Jan. 31-Feb. 6

  • In our sandwich era. The burgers have battled. Now it's time for a sandwich showdown a la the new SouthSide Slamwich. A dozen restaurants are participating by serving up sandwiches all month in a fun competition to encourage folks to support local restaurants. Get the details here.
  • Eat ice cream for breakfast. It's National Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day on Saturday, and you can celebrate at Stensland Family Farms. Wear your PJs and swing by either their central or east-side locations for a special breakfast (and ice cream) menu. More info here.
  • Meal prep over a beer. Get tips on meal planning from a professional, along with a craft beer pairing and a complimentary pint at Buffalo Ridge Brewing. The event starts at 6 p.m. Thursday. Details and tickets here.
  • Go on a musical adventure. The Good Night Theatre Collective is putting on an original musical production by local playwright Luke Tatge. The show is called "Legendary Adventure," and you can catch it Thursday through Saturday at the Pavilion. Details and tickets here.
  • Watch reality TV. Dakota News Now is hosting a viewing of "Farmer Wants a Wife" season two on Thursday evening at Fernson's downtown taproom. Beer, reality TV, farmers – what more could you want? Details here.
  • Do yoga with kittens. Coast 2 Coast Athletic Club in Tea is hosting kitten yoga starting at 7 p.m. The event is in partnership with the Sioux Empire TNR Coalition. More info here.

THIS AND THAT

What I'm falling for this week:


ICYMI

More Simplified Stories

What Sioux Falls’ top education official is focused on this year
Superintendent Jane Stavem sat down with Sioux Falls Simplified to talk about her priorities and what she expects to spend the most time focused on in 2024.
How the Girl Scouts are preparing for cookie season
Hundreds of Sioux Falls-area Girl Scouts gathered Saturday for “Cookie University,” an annual event to teach girls entrepreneurship skills and get them excited about selling cookies.
How Great Bear is making winter fun accessible for everyone
Winter weather doesn’t have to just be tolerated – it can be celebrated. That’s the philosophy Great Bear Ski Valley is bringing to its already record-breaking season.

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Thank you

Thank you to Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors, including Dakota Adventure Supply, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Panther Premier Print Solutions, the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, Barre3 Sioux Falls, Midco, the Great Plains Zoo, and the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance. When you support them, you're also supporting Sioux Falls Simplified.