Professional Learning Alternatives, Inc.

 is a nonprofit education and advocacy resource for child care professionals, parents, and those interested in supporting the development of children and youth.

Deb Colling, MNM

Executive Director

8244 177th Lane

Forest Lake,

MN 55025


Fax: 651-286-0885

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Thank you for attending this year's Institute! 
We had a remarkable day with interesting topics facilitated by innovative educators and attended by dedicated early childhood and school-age educators.
The exhibitors enjoyed the time to meet both new customers as well as reacquaint themselves with their current customers.  
We certainly missed you at this year's Institute! 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

"Feeding the Whole Child"

13th Annual Child Care Professional Institute
Forest Hills United Methodist Church
1790  11th Street SE
Forest Lake, Minnesota

And a sincere thank you to our host!  The staff were so helpful, gracious, and welcoming. 
We very much appreciate your hospitality!

Feed the WHOLE Child. 
Bring your donations of non-perishable items

Due to your requests, J.N. Johnson Fire and Safety will join us for annual fire extinguisher servicing!


Feeding the Whole Child with Family Pathways, Inc.


In an effort to further support children and families, this year we are pleased to partner with

Family Pathways, Inc. 

Children and families need nutritious choices with an eye toward healthy menus reflective of their culture.  We strongly encourage you to share in this mission by bringing non-perishable items to this year’s Institute.  Items will be distributed to families in need or you may choose to direct your donations to the Backpack Program.  For more information, click here.

This year’s Institute is focused on feeding the whole child.  Children and families need nutritious choices with an eye toward healthy menus reflective of their culture.  For every five (5) non-perishable food items you bring, receive one (1) ticket for a drawing for either three (3) complimentary PLA seminars (two – three hours in length) OR (1) the 2016 Child Care Professional Institute.


February 2015

October 2014


Are you grappling with your professional development budget?  Seeking better management of your time and money? Wishing there were seminars close to home?  Needing someone with whom to talk over sensitive situations (or simply to vent)?  Looking for a mentor?  Focusing on your business development?


We have the answer for you!  Manage your time with BLOX of TYME.  Use your BLOX of TYME for most any PLA-sponsored professional development service. 

"Is Nature Deficit Disorder Real?"
View the interview with DON SHELBY, keynote presenter for the
10th Annual Child Care Professional Institute (2/25/12), discussing the recommendations and benefits for children and youth in spending more time in the outdoors and the research data upon which the recommendations are made.

Videography and editing by Rand Thill


Union Misrepresentation in Minnesota

Unionization Update February 2, 2015
New info about SEIU as well as legislation in Minnesota.

Child Care Professionals and
Personal Care Attendants (in Minnesota):

Visit or for details.

Visit Facebook:  Childcare Providers Who are Happy to Be Union Free

You are already empowered.  But you must use your power for it to make any difference!

This information is not intended to be taken as an overall anti-union stance. 
For this type of independent, self-employed, small business owner, however, it is not a workable choice and may, in fact,
be illegal/unconstitutional. 

Event Flyers

Early Childhood Screening - Get Your Child Onboard!  (pdf)
(For information and locations in your community, contact your school's
Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) Department or school district office.)

Articles and Flyers


Bullying and Disability Harassment in the Workplace - What Youth Should Know  (pdf)
Youths in Military Families Since 9-11  (pdf)
Changing Perceptions of Sexual Violence Over Time  (pdf)
What You Need to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse  (pdf)

Character Counts! Poster  (pdf)

Monitoring Your Teen's Activities:  What Parents and Families Should Know  (pdf)

Eating and Emotions in Obese Toddlers  (pdf)

Community Resources

Forest Lake Area Partnership for Families (FLAPF)

Crisis Center

St. Andrew's Lutheran Church Community Resource Center  (pdf)

Community Thread Taxpayer Assistance   (pdf)

Washington County Chemical Action Collaborative   (CHAC)

Washington County Youth  (WACY)

Reach Out

Emergency Foodshelf Network

The Alliance for a Violence-Free Anoka County

Activity Ideas

Send us your ideas so we can share them here.

Don't forget to PLA today!

Geometric Shape & Sort
Seasonal Freebies for Teachers
Smack-A-Bug! Sight Word Game
St. Patrick's Day Paddy Potato Project

Crossword Puzzle  (pdf)

Family Activities
We All Need Trees
Adopt a Tree
Trees as Habitat
The Fallen Log
Looking at Leaves
Tree Cookies
Signs of Fall

Healthy Habits for Life/Sesame Street
Healthy Habits - 1
Healthy Habits - 2
Healthy Habits - 3
Guide for Parents and Caregivers

Minnesota Symbols Coloring Book

Benefits of Wind Power

Nature's Calendar

Natural Playscapes

ABCs of Environmental Education

Endangered Species Coloring Book

Kids Activities Brochure

Sammy Soil Coloring Book

Science Demonstration - Drinking Water (K-12)

Carbon Footprint Calculator

Be Water and Energy Wise! Tips

The Water-Energy Connection Activities

Kids Gardening

Natural Playgrounds


Climate Kids

The Field Museum Water Calculator

Planet Green Carbon Quiz

Going Green - Parent Further

Bird Food Feeders

Send us your ideas and we'll include them here for others to enjoy, too.

International Owl Cams

MN DNR Eagle Cam

North American Bear Center Live Webcams in Minnesota

Eagle Webcam in Decorah, Iowa

(Scroll down to view recent videos.)

Nestcams in various states

Click here for a list of suggested donation items for
military service members
and their familiesWe will accept your donations at all PLA-INC.-sponsored seminars.

Thank you to all military veterans, current service members, and their families for their dedicated service and untold sacrifices for us.

(November 11, 2014)

Quick Links to:

Seminar Schedule

Promotional Opportunities

Do you have something of interest to share in our newsletter? 
Let us know!

2011 MCN Member

Exceptional education for child care professionals who care.