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Little Rock Family Blog

Events, activities, news, insight and opinion from the trenches of parenthood by Little Rock Family Magazine Editor Heather Bennett and her editorial staff. Share tips, news and feedback with Heather here.
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Frightfully Fun: Halloween Events for Families in Central Arkansas

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Your little monsters have lots of activities this month! Mark some of these Halloween events in central Arkansas on your calendar and enjoy big smiles and making memories.

For even more Halloween and Harvest events, browse our full online calendar, where you can search by date and categories (including free events!).

Annual Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at The Wonder Place: Little ones who aren't ready for all of the frights and thrills can hang out at this sweet soiree that includes goody bags, storytime, special crafts and a scavenger hunt. Family-friendly costumes are encouraged. The second adult in the family receives free admission. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 24. $5, kids under 1 are free. For info: (501) 225-4050, TheWonderPlace.com.

Big Boo!-seum Bash in Downtown Little Rock: At this 19th annual Halloween celebration, kids can enjoy a safe and fun evening at museums and businesses downtown, including Museum of Discovery, Arkansas Arts Center, Historic Arkansas Museum and others (see full list of participating locations here). Little boys and ghouls can visit participating locations at no charge and take part in storytimes, games and trick-or-treating. Pick up game cards at any participating location and get the card stamped at each location to be eligible for prize drawings, including a flat screen TV, $100 gift card and basket of goodies. Hosted by the Greater Little Rock Museum Consortium and sponsored by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau. 6-8:30 p.m. Oct. 30. For info: (501) 376-4781, LittleRock.com. FREE!

Boo at the Zoo at Little Rock Zoo: Arkansas's largest Halloween festival is back Oct. 17-Nov. 1 and filled with lots of howl-oween fun. Boo At The Zoo is appropriate for families with children of all ages, and features a safe environment for trick-or-treating. Don your costumes, stroll through the colorful lights and Halloween-themed decorations, and enjoy nightly dance contests, free carousel rides, glitter tattoos, live music, a dance party and more. 6-9 p.m. Oct. 19; 6-9 p.m. Oct. 23-Nov. 1. $10, all-inclusive arm bands $20. For info: (501) 666-2406, LittleRockZoo.com.

Haunted Halloween in the Park at Lake Catherine State Park: Activities include trick-or-treating in the campground, a costume contest, hay rides, marshmallow roasts, Arkansas ghost stories, and more. 6-9 p.m. Oct. 25. For info: (501) 844-4176, ArkansasStateParks.com/LakeCatherine. FREE!

Halloween Carnival and Crafts at Amy Sanders Library: Join the family-friendly Halloween fun, including a costume contest (adult and children's divisions), games, crafts, and music. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 28. For info: (501) 835-7756, CALS.org. FREE!

Halloween Fun at Petit Jean State Park: Celebrate the season on Petit Jean Mountain. Family nature activities will be provided, and costumes are welcome. Contact the park for a schedule as the event draws near. Oct. 31. For info: (501) 727-5441, PetitJeanStatePark.com. FREE!

Halloween Hayride at Pinnacle Mountain State Park: Enjoy a fun-filled evening hayride complete with a roaring campfire and treats. Advance payment and registration required. 5-7 p.m. Oct. 26 & 31. $12; children ages 6-12 are $6. For info: (501) 868-5806, ArkansasStateParks.com/PinnacleMountain.

Halloween Kids Night Out at Unity Martial Arts: Kids ages 7 and up play action games during a safe and spooky adventure night. $25. 6-9 p.m. Oct. 31. For info: (501) 664-0604, UnityMartialArts.com.

Halloween on Ice Show at Arkansas Skatium: A Halloween performance features local skaters of all ages in costumes. 6:30-7:15 p.m. Oct. 28. $3, kids 5 and under are free. For info: (501) 227-4333, ArkansasSkatium.com.

Mac-O-Lanterns at MacArthur Park: This pumpkin carving contest and event features music, food trucks, face painting and libations at MacArthur Park. Pumpkin carving begins at 3 p.m. and the evening celebration goes from 5-8 p.m. The lighting of the lanterns begins at 6:24 p.m. Pumpkin carvers must pre-register by Oct. 22. 3 p.m. Oct. 25. $5, kids under 12 are free. For info: (501) 375-0121, MacArthurParkLR.com.

Magic Screams at Magic Springs Water and Theme Park in Hot Springs: Family events, including rides for kids and a haunted house for younger children, are planned for daytime hours before scarier monsters and events emerge from the shadows at dusk. Open Sat. & Sun. Oct. 11-Nov. 2 & Oct. 31. Hours: 4-11 p.m. Sat.; 4-9 p.m. Sun.; and 4-11 p.m. on Halloween night. $29.99; kids under 48" inches are $19.99; kids under 3 are free. Look for $19.99 tickets at Walgreens, too. For info: (501) 624-0100, MagicSprings.com.

Great Pumpkin Halloween at Bass Pro Shops: This Peanuts-themed event features all of the classic characters, including Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Sally and Lucy. Kids can participate in a costume parade, trick-or-treating and craft activities. Visitors can also have a free photo taken with life-size cutouts of the Peanuts characters. Oct. 24-31; hours vary. See website for full list of activities and specific times. For info: BassPro.com/Halloween. FREE!

Screening of "Monster House" at CALS Ron Robinson Theater: A special screening of PG-rated "Monster House" will thrill the audience, along with movie-themed concessions. This event is part of Big BOO!seum Bash. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30. $5. For info: (501) 918-3000, CALS.org.

Silver Moon Cinema Presents "Hotel Transylvania" at Hendrix: The Village in Conway: Bring a lawn chair, blanket, or other comfy seating, load up the kids and enjoy a movie night under the stars for just $1. This small donation to a local charity gets you a spot in the street to view the movie. Movies start at dark; the time changes depending on the sunset and any pre-movie activities; check the website for updates. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 25. $1 donation. For info: (501) 450-6186, SilvermoonCinema.com.

Skatium Spooky Skate at Arkansas Skatium: Roll through Halloween at the Skatium. Don your costume and receive $2 off admission. 6-8 p.m. ice skating; 6-10 p.m. roller skating. 6-10 p.m. Oct. 30. $7; $2 discount for those who wear a costume. For info: (501) 227-4333, ArkansasSkatium.com.

Trunk or Treat and Fall Fest at Chenal Valley Church: Come for trunk-or-treating for candy and treats, lots of fun carnival-style games with prizes, face painting, photo booth, and more. Fun for all ages but geared for toddlers through 6th graders. 6-6:30 p.m. Trunk or Treat; 6:30-8 p.m. Fall Fest. Oct. 29. Free admission and games. For info: (501) 868-9808, ChenalValleyChurch.org. FREE!

Boo at the Zoo Continues Through Nov. 2; Win Tickets from Little Rock Family

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Boo at the Zoo, a favorite annual attraction for Little Rock families, opens this weekend at the Little Rock Zoo! The proceeds of the Halloween event help to fund the zoo's daily operations and carry out the mission of conservation education and wildlife preservation.

Boo at the Zoo offers a safe environment for families, where children can trick-or-treat, hop on carnival rides or bounce in inflatable attractions. Visitors can check out the Enchanted Forest, bust a move at Frankenstein's Dance Party and brave a kid-friendly haunted house. Plus, don't miss the nightly dance performances and food truck concessions.

And, on Nov. 1, the festival honors the Mexican Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, tradition with a special celebration.

The fun kicks off this Friday, Oct. 17 with an adult-only night. The Little Rock Zoo will be closed Saturday, Oct. 18 for the Razorbacks game at War Memorial Stadium, and Boo at the Zoo officially begins Sunday, Oct. 19, and runs Oct. 24-Nov. 1.

General admission is $10 per person and includes 6 tickets to be used for trick-or-treat stations, rides or attractions. All-inclusive wristband admission is $20 per person and includes unlimited rides and attractions (except food and fortune-telling), plus 6 tickets for trick-or-treat stations. For more info, click here.

Little Rock Family Giveaway

Little Rock Family readers have three chances to win ticket packages to Boo at the Zoo! All contests will be held on our Facebook page here. Here's the giveaway schedule:

Thursday, Oct. 16: Two VIP Passes (each includes all-inclusive wristband, reusable bag, snack, and two tickets for wine or beer) and Two All-Inclusive Wristband tickets.

Thursday, Oct. 23: Two VIP Passes (includes all-inclusive wristbands, reusable bag, snack, and two tickets for wine or beer) and Two All-Inclusive Wristband tickets.

Thursday, Oct. 30: Family four-pack of all-inclusive wristband tickets.

Visit our Facebook page for more information on entering our giveaways!

10 Events for Weekend Fun: Pooches & Pumpkins, Razorbacks and More

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It's the last weekend to visit the Arkansas State Fair, and the first weekend for the 2014 Boo at the Zoo! Plus, there's still plenty of pumpkin-picking to do. And, if you need a good scare, you can head to Magic Screams (read our full article here)!

Here are 10 ideas for family fun this weekend (Oct. 17-19), from dog costume contests to live music!

1. Razorback Football: University of Georgia vs. University of Arkansas at War Memorial Stadium: Get ready, Little Rock! The Hogs take on the Bulldogs at War Memorial this weekend. Ticket prices vary. 3 p.m. Oct. 18. For info: ArkansasRazorbacks.com.

2. Boo at the Zoo at Little Rock Zoo: This popular Halloween festival is back Oct. 19-Nov. 1 (plus an adult preview night on Oct. 17!) and filled with lots of howl-o-ween fun. The festival is appropriate for families with children of all ages, and features a safe environment for trick-or-treating. Don your costumes, stroll through the colorful lights and Halloween-themed decorations, and enjoy nightly dance contests, free carousel rides, glitter tattoos, live music, a dance party and more. Zoo is closed Oct. 18 for Razorback football game; 6-9 p.m. Oct. 19, 6-9 p.m. Oct. 23-Nov. 1. $10; all-inclusive arm bands $20. For info: (501) 666-2406, LittleRockZoo.com.

3. Arkansas State Fair at Arkansas State Fairgrounds: The fair continues through Oct. 19, with rides, a petting zoo, concerts and more. For more info, read our full blog post here.

4. Farm Fest at St. Joseph Farm in North Little Rock: A celebration on the picturesque 63-acre farm includes a pumpkin patch, sorghum-Sudan maze, tours through the seven-acre Food Forest -- a project designed to feed the hungry and planted with fruit, berry and nut trees. The opening weekend (Oct. 18-19) will feature music all day, hayrides, the Arkansas Craftsman Fair, local food and a pioneer village filled with costumed actors. $15 Sat., $10 Sun.; children under 12 $7; children 2 and under free. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 18-19. For info: (870) 370-4047, StJosephFarm.com.

5. Pooches & Pumpkins at The Good Earth Garden Center: There will be many fall-themed areas for family photos, a pet costume contest, free hot dogs, hayrides, balloons, face painting, live music and much more. Local rescue groups have been invited, too. Kids and pets in costume get little pumpkins while they last. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 18. For info: (501) 868-4666, TheGoodEarthGarden.com. FREE!

6. 3rd Annual Paws on Pinnacle at Pinnacle Mountain State Park: This event features informative programs about caring for your dog, getting outside and hiking safely with your dog, and agility and working dog demonstrations. The final event of the day will be a dog "Howl-O-Ween" costume contest! Programs begin at 8 a.m., and the costume contest at 3 p.m. All well-behaved dogs on a leash are welcome to attend. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 18. For info: (501) 868-5806, ArkansasStateParks.com/PinnacleMountain. FREE!

7. 2nd Annual Biketoberfest at River Market Pavilions: The Little Rock River Market, Chainwheel and Recycle Bikes for Kids present this 2nd annual event that features bikes, beer, music, art and a stunt BMX show! Soft Drinks, water and beer are available for sale; with a portion of the proceeds going to the Arkansas Freedom Fund. Noon-5 p.m. Oct. 19. For info: Rivermarket.info. Admission FREE!

8. 5th Annual Arkansas Walk Now for Autism Speaks at Clinton Presidential Library: This signature event for Autism Speaks generates funds for autism research, raises awareness and connects local families. There is no fee to walk in the event, but each participant who raises at least $150 will receive a commemorative t-shirt. The one-mile family fun walk begins at 10:25 a.m. This year, runners can also participate in the 2nd Annual Arkansas 5K, held in conjunction with the walk event. the run begins at 7 a.m.; registration is $20, plus an option for a 5K t-shirt. 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Oct. 18. For info: WalkNowForAutismSpeaks.org.

9. ASO Masterworks Series: Blazing Brass at Maumelle Performing Arts Center: Richard Jorgensen, principal trumpet with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, performs selections by composers Joseph Haydn and Anton Bruckner. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 & 3 p.m. Oct. 19. Tickets are $19-$58, children are free to Sunday performance with the Entergy Kid's Ticket. For info: (501) 666-1761, ArkansasSymphony.org.

10. Justin Moore in Concert at First Security Amphitheatre: Local country musician (and dad!) Justin Moore brings his "Off the Beaten Path" tour to Little Rock for an outdoor concert in the First Security Amphitheatre. The night kicks off with opening act Backroad Anthem. $25.50. 7 p.m. Oct. 17. For info: Ticketmaster.com.

For more events, browse our full online calendar here.

Little Rock Family's 2014 Private & Parochial School Guide

Educational opportunities for your children abound in central Arkansas, and this month Little Rock Family highlights the best private and parochial schools in the region. Determine which schooling option is right for your family with help from our detailed listings, which include school mission statements, tuition, class size and more.

Abundant Life Schools
9200 Highway 107, Sherwood
835-3120
Admissions Contact:
Connie Hefley
Pre-K: $3,000-$4,999; Lower/Elementary, Middle & Upper/High School: $5,000-$7,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 300
Average class size: 15
Accredited by: Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association; Association of Christian Schools International
Abundant Life School challenges and prepares students to succeed in college and beyond as lifelong learners and achievers. From preschool through high school, expectations are high and students grow and graduate as men and women equipped to be responsible, ethical, hard workers whether going to college or entering the work force.

ACCESS
10618 Breckenridge Drive, Little Rock
217-8600
Admissions Contact: Beth Rice
Pre-K: $5,000-$7,999; Lower/Elementary: $8,000-$9,999; Middle & Upper/High School: $8,000-$10,000
Fall 2014 enrollment: 225
Average class size: 12
Accredited by: Developmental Day Treatment Clinic Services, Child Health Management Services
ACCESS offers comprehensive diagnostics, outpatient therapy, academic therapy and full-time education to individuals ages birth to 35 who have language and learning disabilities. ACCESS uses proven methods, a nationally recognized curriculum, learning within real-life settings, professional and experienced staff members, small student-teacher ratios and comprehensive services to achieve success. • See school profile here!

Agape Academy
701 Napa Valley Drive, Little Rock
225-0068
Admissions Contact: Jimmilea G. Berryhill
Pre-K; Lower/Elementary; Middle; Upper/High School: $3,000-$4,999; $5,000-$7,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 108
Average class size: 15
Accredited by: International Christian Accrediting Association; AdvancEd
The goal of Agape Academy is to be a support to the home, provide excellent facilities and Godly instructors for the development of Christian character, and to provide excellence in academics and physical fitness in the lives of the children entrusted to our care. • See school profile here!

All Children’s Academy
12410 Cantrell Road, Ste. 200, Little Rock
224-1418
Admissions Contact: Pam Priest
Pre-K, Lower/Elementary, Middle, Upper/High School: $10,000 or more
Fall 2014 enrollment: 25
Average class size: 10
All Children’s Academy is a therapeutically enhanced education program for children with learning disabilities, dyslexia, language delays or sensory processing disorders. Students receive an intensive, individualized program required for them to learn. ACA has certified teachers and master-level therapists who use evidence-based programs. Our Christian-based model addresses all six domains of health and wellness in the school, home and community.

The Allen School
824 N. Tyler St., Little Rock
664-2961
Admissions Contact: Heather Steinsiek
Fall 2014 enrollment: 80
Average class size: 12
Accredited by: Arkansas DHS-Div. of Developmental Disabilities Services; Div. of Child Care and Early Childhood Education
The Allen School serves children with conditions including mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy and other developmental delays. The staff provides the perfect balance of education and inspiration. Early childhood and special education teachers, and paraprofessionals all work together with physical, speech and occupational therapists to tailor programs that maximize each child’s potential.

The Anthony School
7700 Ohio St., Little Rock
225-6629
Admissions Contact: Ann Vanhook
Pre-K, Lower/Elementary: $5,000-$7,999; Middle: $8,000-$10,000
Fall 2014 enrollment: 429
Average class size: 17
Accredited by: Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association; Independent Schools Association of the Central States
The Anthony School is committed to educating each student to reach his or her academic potential. The school has a history of success based on high academic standards and cooperation among parents, students, and school personnel. Its goal is to teach students the self-discipline required to be successful academically and socially in school and in the broader community. • See school profile here!

Arkansas Baptist School
Lower School Campus: 62 Pleasant Valley Drive, Little Rock
Upper School Campus: 8400 Ranch Blvd., Little Rock
227-7077
Admissions Contact: Robbie Bennett
Lower School (K3-6): Less than $3,000-$7,999; Upper School (7-12): $7,800-$8,500
Fall 2014 enrollment: 700
Average class size: 18
Accredited by: Arkansas Nonpublic School Association; American Christian School International
At Arkansas Baptist, education is not merely the mental, social and physical training of a child, but includes also spiritual foundation. • See school profile here!

Arkansas Christian Academy
21815 Interstate 30 West, Bryant
847-0112
Admissions Contact: Amy Millea
Pre-K, Lower/Elementary, Middle, Upper/High School: $3,000-$4,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 130
Average class size: 15
Accredited by: Arkansas Nonpublic School Accreditation Association
Arkansas Christian Academy is committed to providing the best Christian education. Students will be challenged academically and encouraged spiritually. In addition to being provided with opportunities to become strong Christian leaders, children will be in a safe, loving environment where the character that God wants them to develop can be nurtured.

Arkansas River Valley Montessori
1509 N. Pierce St., Little Rock
603-0620
Admissions Contact: Shawn Linwood
Pre-K, Lower/Elementary, Middle, Upper/High School: $5,000-$7,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 70
Average class size: 20
Accredited by: American Montessori Society; International Montessori Council
Students ages 3-15 discover and develop their talents and possibilities, preparing them to succeed in life. The curriculum follows the Montessori method of math and introduces algebra, geometry and logic as young as age 7. There is a major emphasis on the study of world history, culture and literature, and features in-depth study of botany, zoology, chemistry, earth science and astronomy.

Avilla Christian Academy
302 Avilla East, Alexander
408-4631
Admissions Contact: Angie Tennant
Pre-K: Less than $3,000; Lower/Elementary, Middle, Upper/High School: $3,000-$4,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 130
Average class size: 12
Accredited by: Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association; National Lutheran Schools Accreditation
Avilla Christian Academy helps each student develop critical thinking skills and function academically while developing their awareness of the grace of God through Jesus Christ.

Capital City Christian Academy
7800 Interstate 30, Little Rock
687-0436
Pre-K, Lower/Elementary, Middle, Upper/High School: $3,000-$4,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 18
Average class size: 11
Accredited by: Association of Christian Teachers and Schools
The mission of CCCA is to provide a high-tech, high quality Bible-based educational system for training individuals in the highest principles of moral values and character development. CCCA’s lower grades use the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum. Junior and Senior High students use computer-based Alpha Omega curriculum.

Catholic High School for Boys
6300 Father Tribou St., Little Rock
664-3939
Upper/High School: $3,000-$4,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 721
Average class size: 25
Accredited by: Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association
This neighborhood high school specializes in character, discipline and spirituality. Catholic High has been working with parents to help their sons build strong backbones and a strong sense of academic excellence for more than 30 years.

Central Arkansas Christian Schools
1 Windsong Drive, North Little Rock
758-3160
Admissions Contact: Chad Tappe
Pre-K: $3,000-$4,999; Lower/Elementary, Middle, Upper/High School: $5,000-$7,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 830
Average class size: 19
Accredited by: Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association; National Christian Schools Association
Central Arkansas Christian believes its unique, Christ-driven environment can be an excellent place for a child’s physical, social, intellectual and spiritual growth.

Chenal Valley Montessori School
14929 Cantrell Road, Little Rock
868-6030
Admissions Contact: Dorothy B. Moffett, Shelby Crowson
Pre-K, Lower/Elementary, Middle: $5,000-$7,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 100
Average class size: 12
Accredited by: American Montessori Society
Chenal Valley Montessori’s mission is to educate children regardless of learning ability. With the belief that a well-rounded education not only includes learning the content areas through all the senses, Chenal Valley also offers keyboarding, art, dance, and symphony instruction to provide entertainment and mind development. • See school profile here!

The Children’s House Montessori School
4023 Lee Ave., Little Rock
664-5993
Admissions Contact: Sheila Patterson, Nancy Scott
Pre-K: $5,000-$7,999; Lower/Elementary: $3,000-$4,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 98
Average class size: 28
At The Children’s House, the emotional, intellectual, physical, social and spiritual aspects of each child’s growth are all of equal importance. The prepared environment of the Montessori classroom ministers to the needs of the “whole child.”

Christ Lutheran School
315 S. Hughes St., Little Rock
663-5212
Admissions Contact: Heidi Jerry
Pre-K: $3,000-$4,999; Lower/Elementary, Middle: $5,000-$7,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 130
Average class size: 13
Accredited by: National Lutheran School Accreditation; Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association
Christ Lutheran School is home to a top-notch academic and family-oriented learning environment. Small class sizes allow teachers to meet students’ needs and connect as a school family. Extra-curricular activities include band, choir and a variety of sports. The preschool program focuses on academic and social development, preparing students for the elementary level. The elementary and middle school program emphasizes good study habits, responsibility and academic excellence. • See school profile here!

Christ the King Catholic School
4002 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock
225-7883
Admissions Contact: Kathy House
Pre-K: $5,000-$7,999; Lower/Elementary, Middle: $3,000-$4,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 640
Average class size: 25
Accredited by: Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association
Christ the King’s mission is to teach and live Catholic values and doctrines and to provide a quality academic program through a loving, Catholic atmosphere. The school is dedicated to guiding and promoting unity, love, respect and understanding with the development of a positive attitude toward lifelong education. • See school profile here!

Conway Christian School
500 S. East German Lane, Conway
336-9067
Admissions Contact: Kim Roberson
Pre-K, Lower/Elementary, Middle, Upper/High School: $5,000-$7,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 428
Average class size: 18
Accredited by: Association of Christian Schools; Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association
It is CCS’ mission to glorify God by assisting families in the Christ-centered, biblically-directed education of their children.

Easter Seals, A Child’s Place Preschool
3920 Woodland Heights, Little Rock
227-3600
Admissions Contact: Melissa Hancock
Pre-K: $3,000-$4,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 90
Average class size: 15
Accredited by: Better Beginnings; Arkansas State Quality Approval; Department of Education; Child Care Licensing; Developmental Disabilities Services; CARF
A Child’s Place Preschool provides quality early childhood instruction and developmental therapy, nursing services, and physical, occupational, and speech-language therapies for children ages 3 months to 5 years, with and without disabilities. The curriculum includes language, science, math, computer skills, art and music.

Episcopal Collegiate School
1701 Cantrell Road, Little Rock
372-1194
Admissions Contact: Mary Jane Briggs, Ashley Honeywell
Pre-K: $5,000-$7,999; Lower/Elementary: $8,000-$9,999; Middle, Upper/High School: More than $10,000
Fall 2014 enrollment: 767
Average class size: 15
Accredited by: Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools; National Association of Independent Schools; Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association
At the core of Episcopal Collegiate’s philosophy stands on the simple yet profound belief that knowing every child well will unleash their full potential. The passionate and knowledgeable faculty coupled with unparalleled low student-to-teacher ratios provide the fundamental building blocks that inspire young people to maximize the gifts they have been given. • See school profile here!

Hope Lutheran School
1904 McArthur Drive, Jacksonville
982-8678
Admissions Contact: Cathi Barrington
Pre-K: $3,000-$4,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 27
Accredited by: Lutheran Church Missouri Synod; NFLA
Hope Lutheran School is dedicated to providing a healthy and loving learning environment and to develop 21st century leaders with Christian morals and ethics. Our preschool through 5th grade program provides a Christ-centered education for every child.

Immaculate Conception Catholic School
7000 JFK Blvd., North Little Rock
835-0771
Admissions Contact: Maureen Berry
Pre-K, Lower/Elementary, Middle: $3,000-$4,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 391
Average class size: 21
Accredited by: Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association; National Catholic Education Association
Steadfast in faith, Immaculate Conception aims to rise above the ordinary by developing education that can enrich lives and communities. Inspired by faith in Christ, the school works with parents, the parish and communities to help students achieve spiritual growth, respect, integrity, responsibility, knowledge and compassion. • See school profile here!

Immaculate Heart of Mary School
7025 Jasna Gora Drive, North Little Rock
851-2760
Pre-K, Lower/Elementary, Middle: $3,000-$4,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 133
Average class size: 15
Accredited by: Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association; National Catholic Educational Association
The Immaculate Heart of Mary offers a sound, fundamental education with an emphasis on Christian principles while expanding to meet ever changing educational needs.

Jacksonville Christian Academy
3301 N. First St., Jacksonville
982-7522
Lower/Elementary: Less than $3,000; Pre-K, Middle, Upper/High School: $3,000-$4,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 275
Average class size: 18
Accredited by: American Association of Christian Schools; Arkansas Christian School Association
Jacksonville Christian Academy is dedicated to giving students a strong background in academics as well as character training taught through the principles of God’s Word.

Little Rock Christian Academy
19010 Cantrell Road, Little Rock
868-9822
Admissions Contact: Jason Carson
Pre-K: $3,000-$4,999; Lower/Elementary, Middle, Upper/High School: $5,000-$7,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 1,460
Average class size: 20
Accredited by: Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association; Association of Christian Schools International; AdvancED; Council of Educational Standards and Accountability
A college preparatory school that provides a learning community that is professional, loving and increasingly diverse. This environment is guarded and guided by a professional cadre of qualified educators who challenge the individual student to reach their God-given potential. Little Rock Christian is a leader in integrating a vibrant biblical worldview into all areas of learning and provides ample opportunity to grow in academics, arts, athletics and active service to the community. • See school profile here!

Little Rock Montessori School
3704 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock
225-2428
Admissions Contact: Linn L. Siems
Pre-K, Lower/Elementary: $3,000-$4,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 88
Average class size: 24
Accredited by: Montessori trained/certified
The curriculum of Little Rock Montessori is characterized by individual instruction corresponding to the developmental level of each child emphasizing self-discovery, learning to learn, and love of learning.

Little Rock Montessori School South
12015 Hinson Road, Little Rock
225-2428
Admissions Contact: Linn L. Siems
Pre-K, Lower/Elementary: $3,000-$4,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 73
Average class size: 24
Accredited by: Montessori trained/certified
The curriculum of Little Rock Montessori is characterized by individual instruction corresponding to the developmental level of each child emphasizing self-discovery, learning to learn, and love of learning.

Miss Selma’s Schools
7814 T St., Little Rock
225-0123
Admissions Contact: Robin Smith, Alana Reed
Average class size: 18
Accredited by: Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association Non-Accredited Associate Schools
Miss Selma’s believes that quality early childhood education—fostered by loving, enthusiastic attitudes—will promote physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. Miss Selma’s School provides a comprehensive educational program, and each teacher’s goal is to make learning an exciting, rewarding, experience.

Mount St. Mary Academy
3224 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock
664-8006
Admissions Contact: Chelle McCarroll, Annie McFadden
Upper/High School: $5,000-$7,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 527
Average class size: 21
Accredited by: Arkansas Nonpublic School Accreditation Association; AdvancED
Mount St. Mary Academy is a private, college-preparatory Catholic high school for girls in grades 9-12. Founded in 1851 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, the school has been in continuous operation for more than 160 years and serves families of all faiths in the greater Little Rock community. • See school profile here!

North Little Rock Catholic Academy
1518 Parker St., North Little Rock
374-5237
Admissions Contact: Ashley Pierson, Denise Troutman
Pre-K, Lower/Elementary, Middle: Less than $3,000
Fall 2014 enrollment: 206
Average class size: 21
Accredited by: Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association; National Catholic Education Association
North Little Rock Catholic aims to provide an atmosphere of faith, where students are called to academic excellence, self-discipline and knowledge of God.

Our Lady of Fatima School
818 W. Cross St., Benton
315-3398
Pre-K; Lower; Middle: $3,000-$4,999
Average class size: 12
Accredited by: National Catholic Educational Association; Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association
Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School is dedicated to offering the highest quality academic curriculum, integrated with discipline, citizenship, religious truth and traditional values.

Our Lady of the Holy Souls Catholic School
1001 N. Tyler, Little Rock
663-4513
Admissions Contact: Nancy Handloser
Pre-K, Lower/Elementary, Middle: $3,000-$4,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 520
Average class size: 25
Accredited by: Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association
Our Lady of Holy Souls Catholic School is dedicated to providing an education that is built on the Gospel message. Students are helped to build a foundation of faith, hope, love and respect to support all areas of their lives. Students are instructed to strive for academic excellence and self-discipline.

Pathfinder Academy
P.O. Box 647, Jacksonville
982-0528, ext. 1500
Admissions Contact: Lindsey McDaniel
Lower/Elementary: More than $10,000; Middle, Upper/High School: $8,000-$10,000
Fall 2014 enrollment: 12
Average class size: 4
Accredited by: Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities
Pathfinder Academy provides children with autism a language-rich environment for learning academic and life skills. The school provides intensive therapy based on each child’s needs. Preparing teens for maximum independence in adulthood is a top priority. It offers chances to learn socialization within the classroom, recreational environment, and community, as well as providing chances for families to share and celebrate the success of their children.

Pulaski Academy
12701 Hinson Road, Little Rock
604-1910
Admissions Contact: Gregg Ledbetter, Matt Pulley
Pre-K: $5,000-$7,999; Lower/Elementary, Middle, Upper/High School: More than $10,000
Fall 2014 enrollment: 1,390
Average class size: 18
Accredited by: Independent Schools of the Central States; Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association-North Central Association
Pulaski Academy is Arkansas’ only independent, college preparatory, coeducational day school for 2 1/2 year olds to 12th grade. PA provides an environment that cultivates a passion for lifelong learning, fosters critical thinking skills, emphasizes high character standards consistent with the school’s Core Values—responsibility, integrity, respect and excellence—and embraces racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity.

Sammie Gail Sanders Children’s Learning Center
1300 W. 18th St., North Little Rock
907-5716
Admissions Contact: Miriam Jackson
Fall 2014 enrollment: 130
Average class size: 12
Accredited by: Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, Arkansas Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Child Care, Developmental Disabilities Services Medicaid
The center’s preschool service is a facility-based program designed to provide specialized services to children who have been diagnosed as developmentally disabled or delayed, and are not school age. There is also a program for typically developing children and children with special needs. These programs offer individualized habilitation that are age and developmentally appropriate. The programs help children reach important milestones and goals.

St. Edward Catholic School
805 Sherman St., Little Rock
374-9166
Admissions Contact: Jason Pohlmeier
Pre-K, Lower/Elementary, Middle: $3,000-$4,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 170
Average class size: 17
Accredited by: Arkansas Nonpublic School Accreditation Association Diocese of Little Rock
St. Edward is a Catholic school rich in tradition and striving to educate a diverse student body academically, socially, physically, emotionally and spiritually to become well-rounded persons. It is a fully accredited Roman Catholic parochial school with students in Pre-K through 8th grades. The school’s students come from 25 different zip codes around Central Arkansas.

St. Joseph School
502 Front St., Conway
329-5741
Admissions Contact: Margaret Davis
Lower; Middle; Upper: $3,000-$4,999
Average class size: 17
Accredited by: Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association; National Catholic Education Assoc.
St. Joseph School prepares students to be productive Christian citizens who seek truth and respect others. The ultimate goal of the school is to integrate faith and learning in order to develop the whole person: soul, mind and body.

St. Theresa Catholic School
6311 Baseline Road, Little Rock
565-3855
Pre-K, Lower/Elementary, Middle: $3,000-$4,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 152
Average class size: 18
Accredited by: Arkansas Nonpublic School Accreditation
St. Theresa offers quality education in the Catholic tradition.

Subiaco Academy
405 N. Subiaco Ave., Subiaco
(479) 934-1034
Admissions Contact: Pat Franz
Middle, Upper/High School: $5,000-$7,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 185
Average class size: 12
Accredited by: North Central Accreditation; Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association; Independent Schools Association of Central States
Founded by Benedictine monks in 1878, Subiaco Academy has been the academic and spiritual foundation for many young men. Subiaco sees Christ in each student and strives to foster an environment of faith, scholarship and character. Subiaco Academy is for grades 7-12 for both day and residential students from more than 14 states and nine countries.

Urban Garden Montessori
610 Main St., Little Rock
712-3185
Admissions Contact: Vera Chenault
Pre-K, Lower/Elementary, Middle, Upper/High School: $5,000-$7,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: (Enrollment begins fall 2014)
This new urban Montessori school in downtown Little Rock is currently seeking accreditation through the American Montessori Society, and will be expanding through high school in the 2015 school year. The school offers a traditional Montessori learning environment with enrichment through music, art, foreign languages, and a school garden program.

Victory Baptist School
10000 Brockington, Sherwood
835-2400
Admissions Contact: Marilyn Raymer
Pre-K, Lower/Elementary, Middle: $5,000-$7,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 100
Average class size: 12
Victory Baptist School challenges students to be thinkers with a solid Christian foundation. The school is built on a partnership with the school, home, church and community to instill the values necessary for a successful life. The expectations are high and students consistently test beyond their current educational level. The environment of Victory Baptist School is one of order and structure to ensure teaching and learning takes place.

Village Montessori
4401 Woodlawn Drive, Little Rock
944-4483
Admissions Contact: Courtney White
Pre-K, Lower/Elementary: $5,000-$7,999
Fall 2014 enrollment: 24
Accredited by: Seeking AMS accreditation
Village Montessori School was formed by an exuberant and impassioned group of individuals who shared one common goal: to provide a world-class, accredited Montessori education to children ranging in age from six weeks to 18 years old. As of fall 2014, it will have classrooms serving those from 6 weeks to 9 years old. The school offers healthy and organic snacks, yoga, music and art. VMS believes in a year-round education for the whole child.

Did your child’s private or parochial school make our list?
If we missed a school that provides stellar education, we want to know. Email BNeel@ABPG.com for more information on how have your child’s school included online or in the 2015 list.

Hunter Education Courses: Good Start to a Great Hunt

Image by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

#asset

Hunting in Arkansas is less of a pastime than it is a family tradition, often shared by multiple generations on a crisp Saturday in the deer woods or duck camp. Most hunters get their start learning at the elbow of their fathers or even grandfathers, says Joe Huggins, Hunter Education Coordinator with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

“Most of the young people who attend our hunter education courses already have an interest in hunting,” he says. “About half of them are already active in it; they get their basic information in hunting from their parents or grandparents.”

To help develop this interest, as well as teach the new generation of hunters to participate in the sport safely, Arkansas Game and Fish supports a number of initiatives for young people. The most popular is its hunter education course, which is required for anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1969, pursuant to obtaining annual hunting permits.

Hunter education is not mandatory for youth under 16 to hunt, but these youngsters have to be under direct supervision of an adult over 21. For this reason, many young hunters attend hunter education courses in order to obtain their own cards.

In fact, Huggins says, about 17,000 students completed Arkansas’ course last year, most of them between the ages of 12 and 18. The course is recognized in all 50 states, Canada and Mexico. He also notes that while the classes are offered year round, he’s gearing up for fall when the majority of hunters sign up for class.

The course covers a range of topics, beginning with a tutorial on various types of firearms, ammunition and archery equipment used in hunting, as well as the various elements of using and handling this equipment safely. The 10-hour, instructor-led classes are held throughout the state and, depending on location, are broken up over several evenings or held start-to-finish on a Saturday. (For upcoming classes, see below.)

Huggins says over the past few years, he’s noticed some changes both in who takes the class as well as the means in which they choose to take it. More girls in the 12-18 age range are attending classes these days, while more young adults are opting to take an online option or study via DVD and then report to a testing center to take the final exam.

“That’s something we’ve seen a lot more of compared to five years ago,” Huggins says. “We also see more women involved overall.”

The department has paid particular attention introducing women to outdoor skills through its “Becoming an Outdoors-Woman” program, a three-day skills workshop the department has hosted for more than 20 years. The workshop routinely hosts more than 100 women, many of them single mothers, who select from a variety of courses during the three days—from shooting different firearms to fly fishing to nature photography. Huggins says class sizes are kept small to facilitate questions and boost hands-on participation.

The primary goal of the workshop is to give women a way to learn about outdoor activities for themselves, but the secondary benefit is to create expertise in households that might not have the male influence that generally leads kids into hunting.

“The idea is to introduce these women to outdoor activities and given them hands-on experience,” Huggins says. “Once they learn how to do some of these things, they can then go back and teach their own kids how to participate in the outdoors.”

Huggins says the culture of hunting in the state has led to several successful partnerships with Arkansas schools. It’s also evolved into a competitive shooting sports program, which further reinforces gun safety, marksmanship and competition. The activity accommodates junior (grades 6-8) and senior (grades 9-12) divisions and is open to home-schooled shooters as well.

Participants compete in teams, most commonly representing schools, 4-H Clubs, Boy and Girl Scouts troops or churches, although stand-alone groups are allowed provided they meet minimum requirements. Competitors shoot at targets launched into the air via trap machines using 12- or 20-gauge shotguns. The season runs February through July with regional qualifiers advancing to a state competition.

“This is our sixth year sponsoring a shooting sports program,” Huggins says. “Last year we had more than 6,000 youth participate.”


Beginning hunters and seasonal shooters alike can ensure an enjoyable trip into the wild by adhering to the following basic rules of hunter safety.

1. Observe gun safety. Always assume the gun is loaded, make sure of your target and only point at what you intend to shoot. When walking, keep the muzzle pointed at the ground and your finger off the trigger. Keep the barrel free of debris and only climb a stand, hop a fence or cross a ditch with an unloaded firearm.

2. Dress appropriately. Make sure you and your children wear hunter orange to help others distinguish you from the game. Match your clothing to the weather conditions and the amount of time you plan to be exposed to the elements.

3. Don’t fly solo. Children should never hunt alone, and never go on a hunt without notifying an additional adult about where they are going and when they plan to return.

4. Remember: Guns aren’t your only hazard. In Arkansas, more people are hurt falling out of tree stands every year than are wounded by firearms. Make sure your structure is in good repair and capable of supporting you. Use a safety harness to avoid falls. Use caution when operating four wheelers or carts—especially over steep terrain—and wear all required safety equipment.

5. Leave alcohol at home. Hunters of legal drinking age should leave the cool ones back at the cabin, as booze and hunting simply don’t mix.

Mark Your Calendar

Upcoming Hunter Education classes scheduled for Pulaski County include:

  • Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, Little Rock:
    5:30-9 p.m. Oct. 20, 21, 23
  • Arkansas Game and Fish Commission headquarters, 2 Natural Resources Drive, Little Rock:
    6-9 p.m. Nov. 3, 4, 6

Hunters must attend all three nights of a session to pass the course. A Saturday course is also available from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Game and Fish headquarters. Seating is limited for all classes; registration information can be found on the commission’s website AGFC.com.

Field Trip Fun: Chihuly-Inspired Educational Programming at Clinton Presidential Center

Image by Clinton Presidential Center

Dale Chihuly, Mille Fiori, 2014, Clinton Presidential Center

Through Jan. 5, "Chihuly," an incredible glass exhibition from American artist Dale Chihuly, will be on view at the Clinton Presidential Center.

Several immersive installations interact with the building's design; in fact, you may have noticed "Red Reeds" at the center's entrance -- the artwork is a cluster of dramatic stems bursting from the outdoor fountains. Inside the museum, many more vibrant glass pieces and installations comprise the exhibition, including the "Sea Blue and Green Tower," another impressive work of approximately 700 hand-blown glass pieces.

The exhibit is the perfect opportunity for teachers to introduce students to Chihuly's revolutionary work, and the Clinton Center has created free educational programming for field trips and homeschool groups. The customized curriculum meets grade-specific educational standards established by the Arkansas Department of Education, as well as the Common Core framework.

School and homeschool tours are completely free with a reservation. And, in October, educational tours include the following for students in 9-12th grades:

Chihuly Studio: The Art of Glass: Students engage in a behind-the-scenes workshop about Chihuly's creative process and how to translate imagination into art. 9:30-10:30 a.m., 11 a.m.-noon Oct. 16.

Chihuly Studio: The Science of Glass: In this STEM-based workshop, students learn how glass is made and how natural forces affect glassblowing. 9:30-10:30 a.m., 11 a.m.-noon Oct. 20.

Chihuly Studio: Photographing Art: Students will learn many ways to photograph art as they explore and capture images of Chihuly's work. They will also discuss photography as a multidimensional media. 9:30-10:30 a.m., 11 a.m.-noon Oct. 21.

To schedule a field trip, call (501) 748-0419 or fill out the online reservation form here. For more info, visit ClintonFoundation.org/Clinton-Presidential-Center.

Pictured above: "Mille Fiori" by Dale Chihuly is one of the installations on view through Jan. 5 at the Clinton Presidential Center.

How to Play the Scholarship Game Seminar at Little Rock Central High School Tonight

College-bound high school students and their parents can learn about the scholarship application process at the How to Play the Scholarship Game seminar, which takes place tonight, Oct. 13.

Attendees will learn when and how to begin building a resume, when to start looking for colleges, as well as the many sources of funding for in- and out-of-state scholarships.

The free event is hosted by Little Rock Central High School, University of Central Arkansas, Arkansas Department of Higher Education and Arkansas Extended Learning Center.

This year's seminar takes place at Little Rock Central High School's Library, 6-8 p.m. Oct. 13.

The event is free, but registration is required. To register, visit ExtendedLearning.org.

How to Get Your Kids Interested in STEM

When it comes to buzz words in education, STEM is near the top of the list. As parents, most of us are well aware that our children must learn advanced skills in science, technology, engineering and math to have a competitive edge in the job market.

But some parents may not know that there is a nationwide shortage of qualified teachers to teach these subjects to our children -- a particularly terrifying thought for those of us who don’t even feel qualified to help with homework in these areas.

One attempt at remedying this situation is the national UTeach program, whose mission is to encourage students to teach secondary math or science. UTeach Arkansas -- offered through University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, University of Arkansas at Little Rock and University of Central Arkansas -- combines in-depth science or mathematics education with teacher preparation. Students can graduate in four years with both a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or science and STEM certification for grades 7-12.

Another focus of the program at UALR is to entice K-12 students to pursue STEM careers by teaching them real-world, problem-based lessons derived from the Common Core Standards.

But how can you get your kids excited about such concepts from a young age?

As you would expect in the Google age, there are lots of practical resources available to parents, many of which are free. For example, Oct. 19-25 is National Chemistry Week, an annual event that seeks to promote the value of chemistry in everyday life. And what kid is not going to want in on this year’s theme: “The Sweet Side of Chemistry -- Candy,” showcasing the chemistry involved in candy and confections. Sponsored by American Chemical Society, parents can find online videos and experiments on the chemistry of candy corn, hard candy, ice cream and cotton candy.

Parents who do not consider themselves scientifically or mathematically inclined can breathe a sigh of relief, because generating and facilitating your kids’ interests in STEM subjects truly is not rocket science. And STEM is not just the combination of science, technology, engineering and math, but rather an integrated, applied approach that combines all disciplines into a relevant learning experience.

Thomas Wallace, a member of the faculty of the Information Science Department and Information Technology Program at UALR, is a great example of what all parents can do to prepare their kids for the STEM track.

His kids -- son Carter, 8, and daughter Madeline, 5 -- both attend eStem in Little Rock.

“We didn’t set out specifically to tackle working on STEM concepts,” he says of his and his wife Brooke’s approach. “From an early age, we answered their questions with questions to open the door for discussion.”

Wallace says teaching our kids to be curious is the #1 skill we can impart to them. “Teach them to ask questions,” he says. “Then it’s important how you go about answering those questions. Not just, ‘Here’s the answer,’ but, ‘Here’s why.’ Never stifle their creativity. Get at why, not just how.

“Our MO is to expose our kids to lots of things. We spend a lot of time in the woods. Nature is a great place to explore; you’re free to discover.”

As you might expect, his kids play with lots of Legos, Lincoln Logs and erector sets. “We build with them,” he explains. “We give them a box of Legos and see what we can create together. Most parents know Legos, so it’s a good entry point.”

Participating with your child is key, he adds. “My kids will do anything, as long as I’m doing it with them. It’s as much about spending time with them in an environment in which they can explore. Go and discover the answer with your child.”

After all, he points out, most of the problems they will have to solve don’t even exist yet.

“To teach them a love of learning, you have to actively participate,” he says. “You have to cultivate that love of learning.”

Pictured above: Last summer, Carter Wallace, age 8, attended a weeklong robotics summer camp through ROBOTS-4-U. His father, Thomas, offers advice on how to instill a love of learning in all children.

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About The Author
Jennifer Pyron is the Associate Publisher and Editor of Little Rock Family magazine. She is the go-to gal for family events, activities, news and opinion. She and husband Charles are the proud, exhausted, penniless parents of Charles Jr. and Emily. Plus, should you need a pop culture lifeline on "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire," you may call her.
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