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Published January 14, 2023

Learning at the Capitol 

Written by
Lydia Hoverson
| The Dakotan
Governor Doug Burgum reads to kids at the Capitol Building in Bismarck. (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)
Governor Doug Burgum reads to kids at the Capitol Building in Bismarck. (Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)

All Ages Welcome 

BISMARCK – The Capitol, though often a house for complex bills and work, was a place for kids to learn this past week. 

Nonprofits that promote early childhood learning set up booths at the Capitol Wednesday, with candy and other handouts for kids.  

The event also had Governor Doug Burgum read to the kids. 

Missi Baranko, executive director for USpireND and Chair of the North Dakota Listening Coalition, said she decided this year to take on the Early Childhood Day at the Capitol. 

“It’s something we’ve been doing for many years,” Baranko explained. “But the last session, because of COVID, we didn’t do it. This year it just happened. It really was a group effort.” 

Baranko said around 70 committee members helped with the event. The nonprofits, she said, included preschool, childcare, and home visiting programs. 

“So kind of representing kids birth to 5,” said Baranko. “One thing that people get confused about when they hear early childhood education, they imagine little one or two year olds sitting at desks. They get like, we don’t want to push school down. I think what gets missed is that early childhood education is about supporting the parents and family.” 

Baranko said the event is family-oriented and family-choice. 

“I think what we all want is to make sure families in their community have a choice,” said Baranko. “If they want a home visiting program, to access that, if they want their child in childcare, they can access that. They have really quality programs.” 

More information on USpireND can be found here

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