CHILD CARE

For Parents

Childcare is an important factor for many families when deciding where to live, work and play. Here in Otter Tail Lakes Country, we believe that we have the right facilities, qualified people, and family-oriented approach to make you and your child feel at home. If you are new to the area or have been around, but are a new parent, we have the information you’re looking for. Below is a list of references for parents of all ages of children, including various forms of child care and educational programs.

Resources for parents

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Child Care Aware of Minnesota

We help families find the quality childcare their children need to grow and we support the professional growth of childcare professionals. 

Formerly the Minnesota Child Care Resource and Referral Network, Child Care Aware of Minnesota has been in operation for more than 25 years. In that time, our statewide system of agencies has served more than 600,000 parents looks for child care and more than 100,000 child care professionals seeking education and professional development.

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Parent Aware

Parent Aware gives you the tools and information to find the best quality childcare and early education for your child.

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West Central MN Communities Action Head Start

WCMCA serves families with children in Otter Tail County who meet age and income guidelines set by the federal government.

WCMCA Head Start and Early Head Start serves families with children in Otter Tail County in the communities of Fergus Falls, Pelican Rapids and Perham, who meet age and income guidelines set by the federal government.

Ten percent of Head Start’s enrollment is reserved for special needs children who may be over the income guidelines. All Head Start services are provided at no cost to the family.

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Mahube-Otwa Early Head Start Child Care Partnership

Early childhood screening (ESC) is a requirement for all children attending public schools in Minnesota. ECS is not a test of your child’s knowledge, but is a screening of development, recommended for children ages three. 

Early Childhood Screening: Shonna Gnahn @ Lakes Country Service Cooperative (218-739-3273) for the children in the school districts of: 

  • Underwood
  • Perham
  • New York Mills
  • Fergus Falls

For children attending school in Battle Lake, Parkers Prairie, Pelican Rapids and Henning should contact their school district for more information on screening.

Early Childhood Programs at Local Districts

Battle Lake School Readiness

The Battle Lake Early Childhood program provides an environment for children birth through 5 years which is safe, friendly and nurturing.

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Fergus Falls ECFE

ECFE is based on the belief that parents are a child’s first and most important teacher and that the home is the first learning environment.

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Henning

New York Mills

Parkers Prairie ECFE

Early Childhood Family Education offers activities for parents and children together, with an emphasis on parent education and quality early childhood education.

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Pelican Rapids Club Vikes

This is a fun and safe place for children in kindergarten through grade 6, before and after school.

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Perham Kids Adventure/ECFE

Kids Adventure Preschool is an early learning facility for children ages 3-6 years old. We offer a variety of program options for preschool age children.

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Underwood ECFE and Preschool

Early Childhood Family Education offers classes for parents and their children ages newborn to not yet enrolled in kindergarten. 

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Child care center

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Locations in Fergus Falls, Perham and Pelican Rapids. 

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Private schools in fergus falls

Claire Ann Shover Nursery School

Claire Ann Shover was founded as a non-profit parent cooperative in 1934 and continues to operate as such today. 

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Trinity Lutheran Preschool

Children here are taught in a fun, friendly environment where learning happens through worship, art and craft projects, stories, songs, finger plays, free choice play, and using large and fine motor skills. 

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Morning Sun Christian School

Morning Son Christian School exists to be a Christ-centered academic environment where students think, live & serve Biblically.

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Learning Ladder Preschool

The Learning Ladder is non-denomiational and is open to children ages 3-5 years old.  Young children learn best when they move, manipulate objects, build, sing, draw, and participate in dramatic play. 

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Private schools in Perham

St. Paul's School

Founded in 1910, St. Paul's Lutheran School is a nationally accredited elementary school that provides an unparalleled educational experience for students in preschool through sixth grade.

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St. Henry's Area School

St. Henry's Area School is a Christ-centered community where the self-worth of each person is recognized and nurtured.  As Christian educators, we provide quality Catholic education.

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School age care

Fergus Falls Area YMCA

School-Age Child Care (SACC) is a quality enrichment based after school child care program. Enthusiastic and well-trained staff provide participants an opportunity to express themselves in activities, including games and sports, fitness, character development, homework help, service-learning, special projects and much more!

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Boys and Girls Club of Perham

We provide outstanding after school and summer programming to children between the ages of 5 and 18. Our programming is structured, meaningful, and relevant. It is designed to build self-esteem and help children develop ​and succeed academically, socially, and civically.

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Libraries

Fergus Falls Public Library

Monday: 9-8
Tuesday: 9-8
Wednesday: 9-8
Thursday: 9-8
Friday: 9-6
Saturday: 9-1
Sunday: Closed

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New York Mills Public Library

Monday: 10-6
Tuesday: 10-6
Wednesday: 10-7
Thursday: 10-7
Friday: 10-5
Saturday: 10-2
Sunday: Closed

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Pelican Rapids Public Library

Monday: 10-8
Tuesday: 10-8
Wednesday: 10-6
Thursday: 10-8
Friday: 12-6
Saturday: 10-12
Sunday: Closed

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Perham Public Library

Monday: 10-8
Tuesday: 10-5
Wednesday: 10-8
Thursday: 10-5
Friday: 10-5
Saturday: 10-3
Sunday: Closed

Visit Site >>

For Providers

Resources for providers

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Child Care Aware of Minnesota

We help families find the quality childcare their children need to grow and we support the professional growth of childcare professionals. 

Formerly the Minnesota Child Care Resource and Referral Network, Child Care Aware of Minnesota has been in operation for more than 25 years. In that time, our statewide system of agencies has served more than 600,000 parents looks for child care and more than 100,000 child care professionals seeking education and professional development.

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First Children's Finance

First Children’s Finance provides loans and business-development assistance to high-quality child care businesses serving low- and moderate-income families.

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Mahube-Otwa Community Action Partnership

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West Central Initiative

West Central Initiative provides financial resources for qualified projects that support families and strengthen the economy of west central Minnesota.  

This includes forgivable loans for family-based and for-profit child care centers to open and retain child care in west central Minnesota.  Child Care grants are available for non-profit child care centers to open and expand.

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Zero to Three

Zero to Three works to ensure that babies and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Healthy connections help build babies’ brains.

This includes forgivable loans for family-based and for-profit child care centers to open and retain child care in west central Minnesota.  Child Care grants are available for non-profit child care centers to open and expand.

Want to know more about life in Otter Tail County?