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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15th Annual Child Care Professional Institute
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Faith Lutheran Church
Forest Lake

Enjoy 8 hours of professional development, networking, and shopping!


(Office closed on Friday, February 24, 2017.)
Do you like surprises?  We sure do!! 

We can now reveal our surprise:

     Lakeshore Learning will be joining us this year as a

                  Triple Diamond Sponsor!   

Lakeshore Learning Materials has arranged to sponsor Courtney Elder, a nationally recognized educator and motivational speaker.  Courtney will spend the day with us,  facilitating two breakout sessions and one of the plenary sessions.  Space for the two breakout sessions is limited, so register early. 

Lakeshore has not previously participated in a Lakes area conference.  You won't want to miss this rare opportunity to hear Courtney and spend time shopping at the Lakeshore exhibitor tables. 


Local Lakeshore representatives will be available to demonstrate some of the new (over 500!) and familiar toys, games, and activities for which it so well known.

                                  Bring a friend!  Bring a colleague!  Invite parents!



October - December 2016

August - September 2016


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 September 26, 2016
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!

"The biggest concern for any organization should be when its most passionate people become quiet."
~Tim McClure

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 and Resource 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

Today we say THANK YOU to those who have served our country through their military service. We must also thank their families who also served, sometimes unwillingly. While they most certainly love their service members, these loved ones may not have otherwise chosen this life of service for themselves. Difficult choices were made and we are most grateful. Thank you all for your service.

(November 11, 2016)

Quick Links to:

Seminar Schedule

Promotional Opportunities

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Let us know!


Exceptional education for child care professionals who care.