Polk County - News

In recognition of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, Polk County partners came up with a fun, interactive opportunity for women to learn self-defense techniques! 

Classes are FREE for women and girls! 

In these classes you will learn ways to protect yourself, increase your confidence, and learn what to do after an incident has occurred. 

Classes will be offered Saturday, April 8th or Saturday, April 15th from 10am-11:30am. No need to attend both! Trainings will happen at the Academy Building in Dallas (182 SW Academy St. Dallas, OR 97338)

A big thank you to the Polk County Sheriff's Office for making this class available! Class size is limited so if you are interested in attending or have any questions, please email segovia.jennifer@co.polk.or.us.


April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Safe Families for Children team in Dallas invites you to the Community Resource Meet and Greet to talk with service Providers and learn about resources that the community has to offer. 

This event will take place on Monday, April 27th from 7:00pm to 9:00pm at Pressed Coffee and Wine Bar (788 Main St. Dallas, OR 97338)

Join us on Thursday, April 20th from 10am to 11am at Henry Hill (750 S. 5th St. Independence, OR 97351).


Please wear navy blue to support the event! 


This is a family-friendly event, please feel free to invite anyone who would like to help support our cause!

April is Child Abuse Prevention month and Mid-Valley Parenting is happy to be partnering with a number of agencies in Polk and Yamhill Counties to bring awareness and keep kids safe. Here is what currently is taking place (this list will be updated as other events, walks, and parenting seminars are planned):...

We are excited to announce a series of books to help parents prepare their child(ren) for school starting at birth. These books have resources, activities, and information to support parents/guardians in the development of their child(ren) from birth to 5 years old. View and download the books by clicking on these links:

Learning with Your Baby for Birth to 2 year olds 

(en Espanol)

Getting Ready for School One Step at a Time for 2-3 year olds 

(en Espanol)

Preparing for Kindergarten Success for 4-5 year olds 

(en Espanol)


Polk County has provided high quality, evidence-based parent education to parents in all areas of the county since July 2011. On July 1, 2016 the Parent Education program will expand into Yamhill County through Yamhill Community Care thanks to an award from the Oregon Parent Education Collaborative (OPEC) Expansion Grant. The $100,000 grant will be used to coordinate parent education, increase the number of trained parent facilitators, and expand parent education to all the communities in both counties. This award is part of a multi-year initiative developed by The Oregon Community Foundation in partnership with the Meyer Memorial Trust, The Ford Family Foundation, The Collins Foundation, and Oregon State University. Polk County Commissioner Jennifer Wheeler states, “We are proud of our staff for the successful service they have provided to Polk County residents over the years through the Parent Education Program. We are excited about the expanded partnership with Yamhill County to provide these same services to our citizens in the two County region.”


Falls City, Perrydale, Dallas and Central School Districts are preparing for the 2016-2017 school year. For the first time ever all the districts will be having their Kindergarten Registration Fairs on Saturday, April 30th.


Kindergarten Registration Fairs are held so parents and future kindergartners have a chance to meet the kindergarten teachers, visit the schools and get a sense of what kindergarten will look like. It is important for parents to register their children early so that schools can be ready to welcome their child on the first day of school.


In this month's edition of Oregon Parenting Together! newsletter the focus is on encouraging good behavior and strategies for helping your child when they have trouble remembering their manners. Click here to view the newsletter in English. Click here to view the newsletter in Spanish.

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? The March Oregon Parenting Together newsletter encourages health eating behaviors and tips for getting your children involved in the kitchen. Click here to view the newsletter in English, Espanol.

The annual Learn, Grow, Thrive: Building Family Fun event will be taking place on Saturday, February 20th in the Werner Building at Western Oregon University. This is a FREE event for parents, caregivers and early learning professionals which includes a FREE lunch and FREE child care for children 18-months and up during the morning. Parents/caregivers with children younger than 18-months are encouraged to have their child attend the morning event with them. This year our keynote is Jennie Sowder and she will be speaking about "The 7 Essenital Life Skills." 


This year we are excited to announce the expansion of the event to include a Health and Educational Screening Fair, as well as a Children's Clothing and Book Exchange. These will take place during the Building Family Fun Resource and Activity Event in the afternoon.


Click here to register for the event! Registration closes February 17th.  

Para registrase haga clic aquí!



We are happy to announce that date for the 2016 Learn, Grow, Thrive: Building Family Fun event will be Saturday, February 20th in the Werner Building on the campus of Western Oregon University. This FREE event is for families, child care providers and early learning professionals. 


The goal of the “Learn, Grow, Thrive: Building Family Fun” event is to support parents and caregivers by providing an opportunity to LEARN about their young child's development and offer a chance for the parent and child to GROW together. Our desire is to see children and families THRIVE individually, as a family unit and as a part of the entire community.


October marks the start of fall, and with it shorter days and longer nights. Fall is a great time to sit around a campfire to roast some hot dogs, toast marshmelloes, and tell ghost stories. While everyone can enjoy a good s'more, ghost stories can be very scary to little ones and keep them up at night. This issue of Oregon Parenting Together will focus on making sleeping time feel safe for children of all ages. Click here to read the October Oregon Parenting Together newsletter.

Starting next week all Oregon public schools will be back in session. We thought it would be good to provide our readers with some reminders about the Oregon laws for the speed limit in school zones and when you should stop for school buses.


Since every state has different rules when it comes to speed limits in school zones and stopping for school buses, we felt that this was a good time to remind everyone the Oregon laws for these two areas. 


Back to School


Where has the summer gone? It is hard to believe that children will be back in school in the next month. Most districts in the Mid-Willamette Valley will start school on September 8th or 9th. All school districts in Polk County have started taking school registration forms for all grades. If you have not registered your children please visit your districts website to learn how. While visiting the district website also grab your child's school supply list


We are excited to announce the workshops that will be presented at the Learn, Grow, Thrive Conference on Saturday, May 30th at Western Oregon University. The Planning Committee worked hard to decide on a variety of topics that will meet the interests of parents, guardians, child care providers, and early learning professionals....

A humourous look into a day without childcare.


Reference: https://archive.org/details/AH-a_day_without_childcare

We are so excited to announce that registration for this year's Learn, Grow, Thrive Conference on the campus of Western Oregon University is now open!

Haga click aquí información en Español. Registro in Espanol haga click aquí.


Mid-Valley Parenting of Polk County is excited to announce that the Learn, Grow, Thrive: Children, Families, and Community Conference will be taking place on Saturday, May 30th on the campus of Western Oregon University in the Werner Building.

The goal of the “Learn, Grow, Thrive: Children, Families & Community” event is to support parents and caregivers by providing an opportunity to LEARN about their young child's development and offer a chance for the parent and child to GROW together. Our desire is to see children and families THRIVE individually, as a family unit and as a part of the entire community. 

The event is organized to include two distinct parts. In the morning, workshops will be offered for parents, caregivers, and child care providers from 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. There will be a wide variety of sessions offered ranging from how to help your child as they learn to read to strategies on navigating challenging behaviors. Child care will be available during this time. Lunch will be included for guests and presenters at no charge. In the afternoon, we will celebrate together with positive, family friendly activities for parents, caregivers and children to enjoy together!

If you are interested in presenting a workshop or participating in the afternoon Build Family Fun Activity and Resource Fair please click here to view the application. If you have any questions please email smith.heather@co.polk.or.us

Do you know a child that is 5 or will be turning 5 before September 1st?

The time is coming for them to register for Kindergarten. Registration Fairs will be happening in Central, Dallas, Falls City, and Perrydale School Districts starting in April. Come and meet the Kindergarten teacher, participate in activities, and receive some FREE gifts!

Dates of Kindergarten Registration Fairs are:

Central School District- April 11th  En Espanol

Falls City School District- May 9th

Perrydale School District- May 13th

Dallas School District- June 25th and 26th

If you or your child need special accomodations during the Kindergarten Registration Fairs please contact the elementary school's office to let them know.

Here is a list of upcoming Strengthening Families that are happening in Marion County. These classes are open to anyone on a first come, first serve basis. 

Early brain development is a key component to helping children reach their full potential.

According to Grand Challenges Canada, "As many as 200 million children fail to reach their full potential, and children in poverty have a higher chance of adversity that risks disrupting brain development. This is a devastating waste of human capital that leaves the next generation ill equipped to solve the enormous challenges that lock individuals, communities and societies in poverty."

Dr. Mike Evans has worked with Grand Challenges and developed this wonderful video about the importance of early brain developement and interventions.

 Video link: Saving Brains, A Grand Challenge (©2014 Michael Evans and Reframe Health Films Inc)


There are numerous news reports about the epidemic of Enterovirus D68 affecting many children, and now Ebola virus. To ensure the health of all children in child care and school settings, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends caregivers and teachers continue the current procedures already in place to manage infectious diseases (e.g. immunizations, infection control, and proper exclusion practices). Children with Enterovirus D68, for example, may have symptoms that look similar to children with the common cold, the flu, or other respiratory viruses. Remember, it is not the job of caregivers and schools to diagnose children.


There are steps that Child Care Providers, Facilities, and Schools can take to prevent the spread of infection and illness, including having policies that encourage:

By following these recommendations, you will be doing your part to maintain a healthy environment for all the children in your care, regardless of illness.


Additional resources for Child Care Providers & Schools:

Join Vroom!


Have you heard about Vroom? According to the Vroom website, "New science tells us that our children’s first years are when they develop the foundation for all future learning. Every time we connect with them, it’s not just their eyes that light up - it’s their brains. In these moments, half a million neurons fire at once, taking in all the things we say and do. We can’t see it happening, but it’s all there, all at work. That’s why  is here.  turns shared moments into brain-building moments. Whether it’s mealtime, bath time, or anytime in between, there are always ways to nurture our children's growing minds."


Check out this awesome resource here!

Between age two and three, your toddler will use his growing thinking skills to play pretend. With props, like a doll and toy bottle, he will act out steps of a familiar routine - feeding, rocking, and putting a doll to sleep. As your toddler learns to use symbols, his imaginary play skills will grow more complex. A round pillow, for example, will become a pizza. 

The world of imagination is so important in a child's development. Read more in this ZERO TO THREE article

Come to the Polk Fire District (1800 Monmouth Street, Independence) for the Polk Car Seat Safety Clinic! Don't miss out on an opportunity to have your child's seat checked for safety and work with a trained car seat technician to ensure it is properly installed... All for FREE!


Click here for a printable flyer (Car Seat Flyer) or visit the event calendar (Polk Event Calendar) for details.



Looking for something to spice up your weekend? Drop by our Building Family Fun event from 10am to noon on Saturday, May 31st at Western Oregon University's Werner Center. Participate in activities with your child, and take home resources to continue the activities at home. These activities are geared towards children ages 0-6, but they are fun for the whole family! FREE snacks will be provided. See this event flyer for more information, or contact Ashley @ 503-623-9664 x 2125. We look forward to seeing you there!

Watch this video about communicating with your children. 

Toddlers are learning how objects are used together. This is why they enjoy filling-and-dumping water, sand, and blocks. Toddlers are also discovering the connections between objects - the reason they like placing little people on a toy bus. Toddlers are learning about sizes as they stack rings. They are noticing similarities when they line up two toy cars that look the same.

There are many toys that they enjoy exploring at this age, and there are great ways listed in this ZERO TO THREE article to help your toddler learn.


                                    For a printable version, click here.

During the first year, one of the most important ways your baby learns is by exploring the objects in his world. They need the repetition to learn new skills and begin to understand cause and effect, the idea that a specific actions leads to a specific response. Read more in this ZERO TO THREE article about how to support this early development. 

If you put your finger in your newborn's palm, she will grasp your finger tightly. This is an important reflex - an action that babies are born with and do automatically. Beginning at about three months, however, these reflexes begin to disappear. Now, babies start moving their bodies with purpose. They become interested in exploring toys through their senses, and they learn what objects are and do through this sensory play.


New Parenting App - Let's Play! is a free parenting app from ZERO TO THREE with fun activities, organized by age and routine, for parents to use to support their young child's early learning - Download from iTunes or Google Play Store


Just because your child isn't talking doesn't mean they aren't learning when you are interacting with them. Reading is a very important part of a child's development. There are so many books to choose from, and several ways to engage your child while reading them a book. Here are some great tips for encouraging reading and engaging your child during story time.  


The kids are in after school programs, you have a busy work day, there are errands to run, the laundry basket is overflowing, and its time for dinner! Ah! It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when a schedule is so busy, but don’t forget the importance of nutrition and time with your kids. Take some time to sit down as a family and have a meal together. There are days when that may seem impossible, but here are some tips on how to make it work, without feeling it’s impossible!...

Math doesn’t have to be about adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. There’s a lot more to it, and there’s a much simpler way to get your kids thinking about math. Remember that when approaching mathematics, attitude counts. Positive attitudes about math and understanding the value of the use in everyday life is essential to your child’s success.


New Smoking Laws


Please don’t smoke next to children waiting at school bus stops....

Mighty Mites


The City of Dallas is offering a program for 3-5 year olds, called the Mighty Mites.  It's a program that teaches basic motor skills with fun activities, and a program to keeps kids active. 

For more information please see the printable flyer. If you have any questions, please call David @ 503-831-3559.


How do we prepare our children to be ready for school? Most parents are asking themselves this question. It can often be a little unsettling to think of sending the little one off to school that first year. Are they prepared emotionally and socially, and do they have the knowledge needed to be successful in school?

We want to help you prepare your child and have a smooth transition into that first year of school. REMEMBER...it's not too early to start preparing your child, no matter how old they are! Below are resources to help you begin the process of preparation.

The School Ready Child - An easy to read summary on what it looks like for your child to be ready for school, as well as, other resources like FREE monthly webinars.

Ready for Kindergarten? - Learn what the top readiness skills are that Kindergarten teachers are looking for in your children.

Coming soon... Kindergarten enrollment information!

Free Passes at Dallas Library

Dallas Library currently has a binder of FREE passes to museums throughout Polk County. The opportunity to check out passes is open to anyone who is 18 or older and presently holds a card at Dallas Library. If you aren't a card holder, simply visit Dallas Library and sign up for one. 

Here are a few of the museums for the kids: 

  • A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village
  • Hallie Ford Museum of Art
  • Polk County Museum
  • Willamette Heritage Center (Mission Mill)
  • Antique Powerline Museum
  • Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum
  • Bush House Museum

* Passes may have specific rules, such as the number of people they admit, please read each pass for rules or requirements.

Helping your child become ready to enter school can be stressful and feel unfamiliar. Watch this video and consider how you can feel more prepared to become your child's first and most important teacher. 


Ashley from 211 Family Info talks with parents on a daily basis about the challenges they face. Check out the "Ask Ashley" video series, learn new strategies for your own home and become familiar with the types of questions Ashley and the rest of the 211 Family Info team can help with...

See "Ask Ashley" on their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/211FamilyInfo

Just because school is back in session doesn't mean you should stop visiting the library! Check out your local library to see what fun activities and reading programs are planned for the kids. The best part is...they are all FREE!! ...



Are you mom who has chosen to stay at home with your children, work out of your home, or work part-time? Are you looking for ways to meet with other moms in the community? If so, then the MOMS Club of West Salem may be the place for you....

211 Family Info


Find out more about resources in your community!  211 is an easy way to get your questions answered.  Find us on the web at http://211info.org/211-oregon-sw-washington/regional-hubs/mid-valley or simply dial 211.