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Learning Station brings children's concert, workshop to Havre


Havre-area children, parents, teachers and child care workers are in for a special treat this weekend.

The Hi-Line Child Care Association and the Montana State University-Northern Child Care Center are sponsoring the return of the world-renowned Learning Station to Havre for a concert Friday night and a workshop Saturday, both in the MSU-N gymnasium.

"Without a doubt it's very fun and interactive," said Don Monopoli of the Learning Station. "Parents who come with their children will be very glad they did. They're very engaged from the first minute to the end."

The Learning Station, based in Melbourne, Fla., was founded in 1985, and has a number of educational videos and music recordings that are sold around the world and will be available for sale at the concert and workshop. The company also tours, mostly in the United States, although it has appeared outside of the country a few times, Monopoli said.

Debbie McCormick of the Hi-Line Child Care Association said she first saw the group's performance at a state child care conference in 1993. The association has brought it to Havre twice before, the last time in about 1997 or 1998.

The concert Friday will use music, theater, activities and skits to teach messages and skills to children. The topics include safety, understanding feelings, and constructive releases for energy.

Themes include the process of growing up, and the value of making friends and being kind to others.

A song that the Learning Station will perform is credited with saving a 4-year-old from being abducted. According to the Learning Station's Web site, the intended victim told police that "Say No to Strangers" had taught him how to react to strangers. The child's story was featured on Fox-TV's "America's Most Wanted."

The 1-hour workshop, which counts toward the required eight hours of annual training for child care providers, will demonstrate techniques of using music and movement to teach, Monopoli said.

The Learning Station grew out of Monopoli's recording career and his wife's educational experience. Laurie Monopoli taught Head Start, was a day care provider and taught in college. Don Monopoli also taught in college, and has worked as a playground supervisor.

Don Monopoli said he and their partner, Jan Hrkach, used what they learned from Laurie Monopoli to incorporate education into their shows.

"We kind of picked it up by osmosis," he said.

Now Laurie Monopoli handles most of the business side of the company, and he and Hrkach present the shows, Don Monopoli said.

People can buy advance tickets for the concert at Creative Leisure, Raising Kayne or from child-care providers, McCormick said. Advance tickets are $3 each, or $10 for family tickets that admit up to five family members.

Tickets are available at the door for $5 for a single or $12 for a family ticket.

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. Friday.

Tickets for Saturday's workshop are $5, and can be bought in advance or at the door. The workshop begins at 9 a.m.


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