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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Musky and a good deed lead to Cook childcare

David Colburn
Posted 10/25/23

COOK- Thanks to the serendipitous entanglement of Missouri nice with Minnesota nice, Cook has a new option for quality childcare. Albany, Mo., native Lora Klancher, the wife of Wakemup Fishing Guide …

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Musky and a good deed lead to Cook childcare


COOK- Thanks to the serendipitous entanglement of Missouri nice with Minnesota nice, Cook has a new option for quality childcare.
Albany, Mo., native Lora Klancher, the wife of Wakemup Fishing Guide Service owner Paul Klancher, recently opened Live and Learn with Lora in the couple’s new home at 8884 Beatty Rd., just west of Beatty Town Hall.
But if not for an act of Missouri nice on the part of Lora, she and Paul might never have met and Live and Learn with Lora might never have been.
While Klancher has a degree in graphic design and spent 20 years as a professional photographer, and also has 13 years of childcare experience, she loves the outdoors, and in 2019 she was working as a campground host at Mozingo Lake Recreation Park in northwest Missouri.
“While I was doing photography it was a great way to be able to interact and explore,” she said.
During that time, Klancher and her daughter Anna befriended an elderly fisherman who frequented the lake.
“We called him Mr. Lindsay,” Klancher said. “He was in his 80s and he had Parkinson’s. I met him doing my routes one day, and he was always fishing. One day I said, ‘I’ve got a kid at robotics camp right now, and when she comes back would you be interested in teaching her how to fish.’ So, Mr. Lindsay and Anna became really, really close and they actually helped each other out.”
As the end of the summer approached, Anna asked Klancher a poignant question.
“Anna said to me, ‘Do you think Mr. Lindsay will be here next year?’” Klancher said. “I said I don’t know, and you could just kind of see the sadness. I don’t know what she was really asking. But I said, ‘You know, maybe we should see if Mr. Lindsay wants to go on a fishing trip.’”
Mr. Lindsay accepted the offer, and between Anna’s newfound interest in catching a musky and Mr. Lindsay’s lifelong dream to catch a salmon, they decided they could do both by coming to Minnesota.
“I didn’t even know what a musky was. I was like, ‘Where do you catch a musky,’ and she just researched it and said Lake Vermilion was the place to go.” Klancher said.
And after checking with several guide services Lora chose Paul Klancher.
The trio first stopped in Duluth on the way up and went salmon fishing on a Lake Superior charter for Mr. Lindsay to realize his dream. Then it was on to Lake Vermilion, although they had to stay at Pelican Lake because they couldn’t find anywhere else to stay.
“Then we drove over here and met Paul,” Klancher said. “He was wonderful with Anna. He was 100 percent onboard. He loves teaching fishing and seeing that excitement in their eyes.”
Lora and Paul struck up a friendship, and Lora booked another trip for the summer of 2020.
“I just saw it as he’s going to be a great friend and a good connection for when we’d come back up to fish,” she said.
But it was more than musky that got hooked that next summer. Lora had discovered the best of Minnesota nice in her friend and fishing guide, and that became a life-changer.
“He proposed at the end of the summer and we got married that winter,” Klancher said. “The rest is history.”
First work with kids
Klancher got her start working with young children as a nanny while she was attending the Colorado Institute of Art in Denver, and also in Kansas City after getting a job there. She also worked at a corporate childcare setting for a time in Kansas City.
She was a single mother of a little boy named Miles when she opened her own daycare back home in Albany and was licensed for 14 children. It was a way for her to be with Miles while continuing to do some graphic design freelancing on the side.
“Many people want to see their kids grow up, and I was one of those,” Klancher said. “So, it worked out great that I was able to raise them at home with other children.”
Klancher eventually discovered that her art background was a good match with photography, and she was good enough that she opened a studio for her business in Albany, called Miles and Me, in 2005, and opened a second about 40 miles away in Maryville in 2015.
But working with chlldren had remained in the back of her mind, as one look at the big picture windows in the Klanchers’ new house reveals.
“I wanted them because I had good northern light for photos, and I knew I wanted them low to the ground to explore nature as much as possible because I knew that daycare was in my back pocket as an option the whole time we were building this house,” she said. “I was tired of chasing the photography and I’m ready for it to be just a hobby.”
Live and Learn
The post on the Live and Learn with Lora Facebook page that Klancher put up to announce that she was open for business contains a very important clue to her approach in working with young children: “childcare with Montessori inspired principles.”
That’s a reference to the renowned Italian educator Maria Montessori, whose philosophy and practices developed in the early 1900s continue to help define what early childhood education professionals consider to be best practice in caring for and teaching young children. Thousands of schools around the world bear the Montessori name, and two major organizations, the Association Montessori Internationale and the American Montessori Society, continue to set the standards for the Montessori model.
Klancher was exposed to Montessori principles at the center where she worked in Kansas City and through her daughter’s childcare provider, and they are a perfect fit with how she wants to promote children’s development.
“A lot of what I love about the Montessori approach is that it teaches children to be independent,” Klancher said.
To facilitate that, a Montessori infused approach such as Klancher’s relies on a materials and activity rich environment in which a child is allowed to choose what they want to do. Klancher’s job is to create that environment and then interact with children on the fly, introducing and teaching educational concepts as they naturally arise through the child’s selected activities. Children are also active participants and learn through daily routines such as cooking and cleaning.
“The Montessori approach is very much creative, and I love to promote creativity in children,” Klancher said. “It lets children develop their amazing little minds. Every kid is a creator – if they’re just allowed to express themselves in a healthy way, then I just feel like we’re raising better adults.”
It’s important for Klancher to meet an individual child at the level and moment in which they’re ready to learn. That could be in a prolonged art activity, walking on a balance beam, playing with a puzzle, or reading a book.
While activity areas can be found throughout the large family room in the house, there’s also a dedicated activity room equipped with many classic Montessori materials that promote both intellectual and physical development. And Klancher sees the outdoors as another great big classroom.
“Their feet need to be in the dirt, their hands need to be in the dirt, they need to be out and doing things,” Klancher said. “Kids need to be outside and not in front of a TV or a video game or a phone. Next year we’re going to have a garden that we’re going to actually eat out of – I want the kids to learn to grow and eat their own vegetables. I’m going to make a foraging forest so that they can learn different berries. This winter, it’s going to be a giant winter wonderland out there. I love the snow. We’re gonna have fun.”
And, of course, the outdoors is also accessible visually through those big picture windows, and an attraction holding the kids attention last week were colorful child-decorated gourd bird feeders hanging from low branches that have attracted a good following of fine feathered friends for the kids to watch.
Another aspect of the Montessori approach is its adaptability for children of differing ages and giving older children the opportunity to act as mentors for younger children. With the mixed ages Klancher is serving, promoting social and emotional development is a key for enhancing the learning environment, Klancher said.
“It’s really important that kids learn about their emotions and what to do to regulate them,” she said. “We’ll be doing a lot of studying facial expressions so they can understand what different emotions are. We all get angry, we all get sad, we all get happy. We need to learn to recognize those in other people, how they’re feeling and then what to do with different emotions. I think that’s a huge part of raising up this generation. Our minds are so important with relating to other people and also with our own struggles.”
Klancher referred to a child in her care who hasn’t been in a group care environment before.
“Yesterday when I had two of them together, she had a hard time sharing,” Klancher said. “Obviously, if you’ve not been social, if you don’t have those interactions, she doesn’t know that taking a toy away from a kid because she wants it is the right way. She needs someone to teach her that. It’s all simple common-sense stuff, but quality care is hard to find.”
Klancher is quick to note that she hasn’t been formally trained in the Montessori approach but has picked up what she knows through her past work and online study. It’s clear those experiences have paid off when observing Klancher’s interactions with children or listening to her speak.
And Klancher said she plans to get additional education in early childhood by obtaining a Child Development Associate credential. The competency-based credential through the Council for Professional Recognition is a rigorous course of study of the basic principles of high quality early childhood education and builds on past experience. A national exam and an on-site observation are required before a credential is awarded.
For more information about Live and Learn with Lora, serving infants through school-age children with full-time and drop-in care, call or text 218-750-8091 or email