Staples Motley schools opens new Family Center

Multi-purpose area to be used for ECFE, too

By Tina SnellStaff Writer

The Staples Motley Elementary School in Motley has used funds from federal stimulus money and grants from Otto Bremer Funds and the Bernick Family Foundation to create the Motley Family Center for families with children. The entire project came to approximately $370,000.

Part of the Motley Family Center in the Motley Elementary and Middle School is a gigantic piece of equipment children may use to climb, swing, slide and more. Around the playground equipment are classrooms for Early Childhood Family Education and Little Cardinal Academy, a program for preschool students. Pictured are front row: Jay, 7, left, and Amber Dregney, 3. Seated in the tube is Kyle Dregney, 9.

The area, tucked away in the school with its own entrance, has two classrooms for Little Cardinals Academy and an Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) center. It also contains a parent room for conferences and ECFE meetings. But the center’s main attraction is the large room in the midst of the classrooms called the large gross motor room. It is one large space for the kids to run, climb and explore.

“When students first come into the room they stop, they look for a minute, then they take off,” said Early Childhood lead Sara Dregney.

The Staples Motley District has hired two teachers, Nicky Anderson and Stacy Finck, both experienced in early childhood education. Plus, the center boasts Susan Anderson as the preschool director. She has 15 years experience with Head Start in Ottertail County.

The center has full-day childcare and is licensed for seven toddlers and 10 preschool students with the opportunity for the numbers to grow.

“We are starting small to see how this goes,” said Anderson.

The refurbished corner of the Motley Elementary School building did not detract from current classrooms. The district took a spot that was a prior shop area from the days when Motley had its own district. When Motley merged with Staples in about 1990, the space became a storage area.

“It is fabulous for the district to expand opportunities to our families,” said elementary and middle school principal Justin Sperling. “We need to continue the momentum and provide opportunities for all families. This new program will help children with the transition to all-day school. And, parents will know their children are safe while they are preparing for their education.”

The Family Center will have open gym for children up to 11 years old. The staff will begin with two Saturdays  and one Thursday evening a month to start with, starting in November. For more information, contact the community education office at (218) 894-2497.

The Center is also available for rent for birthday parties.

For more information on Little Cardinals Academy, contact Anderson at (218) 894-5400, ext. 3531.