Since 1994, Families First Learning Lab (FFLL) has been empowering Missoula families with parent education and learning through play. FFLL provides knowledge and skill-building through parenting classes and opportunities for parents to connect with peers and professionals to build a strong network. In addition to the work with caregivers, FFLL facilitates opportunities for children to participate in learning through play activities.
Since our move into the new Missoula Public Library, FFLL has been a part of fostering an innovative culture to serve Western Montana children and families. Our team has provided engaging exhibit experiences for youth, while also strengthening families with a deeper level of education that extends beyond a playful visit. The long-term impact of this work will result in more informed, resilient families who will create a healthier, stronger Missoula community.
Each partner in the new facility brings strengths and areas of expertise that collectively propel us one step closer to the shared goal of closing knowledge, opportunity, and achievement gaps for Missoula children and families. While Families First Learning Lab is no longer a traditional “children’s museum” it IS an inspirational place of learning, growth, and development. For the first time in our history, family education happens in the same space as hands on learning through play experiences, giving parents a chance to model the skills they learn in workshops with their children. Activities for children and families are intentional with the following goals:
Build parenting knowledge and skills through workshops and multi session classes
Provide a place and opportunities for social connection
Develop social-emotional skills in children through hands on learning through play experiences
Link families to professional support systems in time of need
Build parental resilience by providing tools and resources to build confidence to navigate challenging times