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Bienvenidos a Northfield Public Schools!

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2024-2025 Registration for Hand in Hand Preschool and Early Ventures is now open!

Early Childhood Programs

Preparing Children to be Successful Learners

Early childhood programs offer a comprehensive array of coordinated
programs and services that ensure all families and children possess the skills
for continued learning. Parents are supported through resources and
guidance in the development of their child and family, and children birth
through kindergarten entrance are exposed to new experiences through
purposeful interactions and process-oriented learning.

Early Childhood Screening

Early Childhood Screening includes vision and hearing, height and weight,
immunization review, large and small muscles, thinking, language and communication
skills, as well as social and emotional development. Screening is completed by a
teacher or a nurse and is tailored for your child’s age, there is no pass or fail!

This free screening will provide general information about your child’s growth and
development, identify possible health or learning concerns, and connect you with
community resources and programs. Screenings are held at the Northfield Community
Education Center (NCEC), located at 700 Lincoln Parkway.

For more information regarding the screening process, check out this video from the
Minnesota Department of Education, by clicking here. For Spanish click here

If you would like to schedule a screening appointment this summer, please contact Libby Stanton at

Make an appointment online

Parent Aware Logo for preschool accreditation rating

Hand In Hand Preschool

We have openings for the 2023-24 school year!  Contact Sara Line at for more information

Hand in Hand Preschool is a public school preschool that supports and nurtures young children as they grow, learn and develop. Our licensed teachers prepare children, ages 3 to kindergarten entrance, for continued success in the elementary years. Hand in Hand Preschool is located at the Northfield Community Education Center, 700 Lincoln Parkway.

Click here to check out a typical day at Hand in Hand Preschool. (For optimal viewing, please use a web browser). If your child will be absent from Hand in Hand Preschool, please call the attendance line at 507-414-8771 or email here and please call the bus company at 507-645-5720 if you use transportation.

Early Childhood Family Education

ECFE is for everyone! The mission of ECFE is to strengthen families and support the
ability of all parents to provide the best possible environment for the healthy growth and
development of their children. Parents are supported through resources and guidance
in the development of their child and family, and children birth through kindergarten
entrance are exposed to new experiences through purposeful interactions and learning
in our indoor and outdoor classrooms. We offer regular weekly classes, drop-in classes
and one time events!
Our regular classes begin with parent-child interaction time and hands-on art, science,
literacy or music activities. In our classes for older age groups, children get a chance to
practice their independence and peer interaction skills while parents move to another
room for discussion led by a parent educator. In our younger classes parents remain in
the same room. Sibling care is offered for many ECFE classes.

Click here to check out a typical day in ECFE. (For optimal viewing, please use a web browser).

Call 507.664.3649 to register by phone or for more information. Print the registration form to register by mail.

Register Online

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  • The Goals of ECFE
    • Give children opportunities to discover and learn
    • Support parents in raising their children
    • Offer information about child development and parenting
    • Help parents and their children communicate with each other
    • Promote positive parental attitudes
    • Provide information on community resources

    Call 507.645.1232 for more information about classes and for scholarship information if the cost of a class is a hardship for your family.

  • Early Childhood Consultation/Parent Coaching

    Are you looking for extra parenting support? Do you have questions or concerns about
    your child’s behavior or development that you would like to discuss privately? Common
    questions include eating, sleeping, toilet training, and tantrums. Speak with a licensed
    parent educator or early childhood teacher by phone, video, chat or in person at the
    NCEC or in your home. This service is free for parents. Call 507-664-3654 for more
    information or sign up at

Newborn Baby Talk

Baby Talk is a free class for parents with newborns from birth to 12 weeks. Join other parents with newborns from birth to 12 weeks for connection and support.  Class runs year-round, except on public holidays.  No need to pre-register…just show up. Sibling care is always provided.  Please text Ellen at 507-301-7369 with any questions.  The NEW class day and time begins Wednesday, September 6th, 2023 from 10:00-11:30. A public health nurse, parent educator, and lactation specialist are available to answer questions about your newborn and provide support and information for your new journey of parenting. Facilitated discussions cover feeding, attachment, sleep, development, family changes, and returning to work. In-person participants have an opportunity to get their baby weighed.

Classes are held at the Northfield Community Education Center, 700 Lincoln Parkway in Northfield. Free sibling care is available each week.  Please note that in inclement weather, there will be no in-person class if Northfield Public Schools begin two hours late, or cancel school. If you’d like to attend Baby Talk virtually, please text Ellen at 507-301-7369 to obtain Zoom meeting information.

This program is co-sponsored by Northfield Hospital + Clinics, Northfield Public Schools Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE), and Rice County Public Health Nursing Service. For more information, call or text Ellen at 507-301-7369 or

Bridges To Kindergarten

Bridges to Kindergarten is a free summer program held at each of the elementary schools in August to help ease the transition into kindergarten and provide a boost in readiness skills, such as listening, working in groups, orientation to classroom routines as well as academic activities focused on literacy and math. Bridges to Kindergarten is taught by licensed kindergarten and early childhood teachers. Children are placed in the neighborhood school they will attend. If needed, transportation is available! This year Bridges to Kindergarten will be held August 12-16, 2024 with morning and afternoon options. The Bridges to Kindergarten registration form can be found here.  For more information, call 507-645-1232.

Teen Parent Program

The Teen Parent Program offers classes for current or expectant parents between the ages of 14 and 21 who are enrolled at the Northfield Area Learning Center. Contact Daryl Kehler (507.645.1238) for more information.

Northfield Community Education Advisory Council (NCEAC)

Purpose: The Community Education Advisory Council plays an important role in shaping the lifelong educational offering available through the Community Education Department, routinely advising staff in programming, budgeting and department development.

Meeting Dates: 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Fourth (4th) Tuesday of the month (no meeting in July and December)

Location:  Northfield Community Education Center, Room 116

Erin Bailey, Emily Blumhoefer, Joshua Bowens, Corey Butler (School Board Representative), Robert Coleman, Caitlyn Otis, Em Palencia, Rebecca Peterson (PRAB Liason),  CJ Riehl-Merrill (student member), Rosie Sharkey, Jeffery Svien, Vanessa Winter (student member), Sarah Wolfe, Erin Zimmerman.


Census Makes a Difference

Help the school district keep census information up to date. Call us at 507.664.3750 if:

  • You have had a baby recently
  • You have an infant, toddler or preschooler and have moved into the school district
  • Your address and phone number has changed since the birth of your preschool child