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Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE)


Mother and son


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ECFE is a voluntary public school program for all Minnesota families with children between the ages of birth and kindergarten.

ECFE's Mission
The mission of ECFE is to strengthen families through education and support for parents in providing the best possible environment for healthy growth and development of their children.

ECFE believes that what parents do is important. ECFE recognizes and supports parents' understanding of their children as well as their parental roles. What parents do to guide and nurture their own children and their skills in working with others who share responsibility for their child's development (teachers, schools, and others in the community) is critical to each child's future and the future of our nation.

About ECFE...
ECFE is recognized as a national model for parent education and family support.  ECFE includes:
* parent-child activities
* parent discussion groups
* play and learn activities for children
* home visits
* special events for the entire family
* book lending libraries
* information on community resources
* newsletters sent yearly to all families with young children who are listed on the school census.
* the Community Education brochure also has updated information in the fall. winter, and summer.
* morning, afternoon and evening classes are offered.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when we come to ECFE parent-child activities?
The ECFE staff will greet you and the room will be set up with activities. Usually there are three parts to the sessions:
* Together time for parents and children
* Parent discussion time
* Children's activity/exploration time

What are the rooms like?
The ECFE rooms are set up for young children with child-sized furniture, toys and materials that are age-appropriate and appealing to kids!

Where is ECFE located?
ECFE is located in the Rockford Elementary Arts Magnet School. Park in front of the school and use the main front entrance.

Who will be at ECFE?
Other parents with their kids - just like you! Many families have developed friendships through ECFE activities and see each other outside of class.

What will the activities be like?
Several fun learning stations, geared to the ages of the children in the class, will be set up in the classroom. You and your child can choose what you want to try. Some activities, like painting, become weekly favorites. We encourage you to "take your child's lead" and enjoy these special times together.

Will we do group activities with the other parents and children?
Usually there's a brief circle time when everyone gets together for songs, finger plays, stories or other age-appropriate group activities.

What happens during parent discussion time?
While your child participates in the children's time in the ECFE classroom with the Early Childhood Educator, you'll meet with parents and the ECFE Parent Educator in the parent resource room. It's a comfortable situation where you'll be able to talk about the joys and concerns of being a parent. You'll be able to take time to look at and consider many ideas. Often parents say this is one of their most important times during the week. Research tells us that getting information and support for our jobs as parents is one of the most important things we can do for our children and ourselves! Parent discussion takes place in the children's room for non-separating classes.

What happens during the children's time and how will parents be involved or informed?
The children participate in activities in the classroom while moms and/or dads participate in the parent discussion group. The Early Childhood Educator prepares activities gauged for the children's ages. Both teacher-directed and child-initiated activities are planned. If a child is having a very stressful time being separated from his/her parent, the staff will either bring the child into the parent room or ask the parent to come to the children's room. This is a very normal reoccurring situation and is handled gently and sensitively.

Who teaches ECFE?
All Early Childhood Family Education teaching staff have a four-year degree, plus a MN teaching license and experience teaching young children.  Assistants are parents who have received training in child guidance.

For more information, call the Early Childhood Programs office at 763-477-7500, or email Tiffany Reinhard at