Welcome to Early Childhood Family Education

  • 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:

    • Time together 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 appealing to kids! We have one room set up just for infants - 2 years, others for a variety of ages, and one for children who are 3-5 years.

    Where is ECFE located?

    ECFE's main site is located in the north wing of the Handke Center in Elk River.

    We also have classrooms at:

    • Zimmerman Elementary School
    • Rogers Elementary School
    • Prairie View Elementary and Middle School

    Who will be at ECFE?

    Other parents with their kids - just like you! Many families have developed friendships through ECFE activities.

    What will the activities be like?

    Activities will be set up in the room. 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 the special times together. There are one time events, usually held Friday night and Saturday mornings. These events are available for families with preschool children.

    Will we do group activities with the other parents and children?

    Usually there's a time when the ECFE staff have all the parents and children together in order to get acquainted. There will be a variety of activities depending on the age of the children. For the older children there will be stories, songs, fingerplays. In some classes parents will "step back" and watch the children's learning in action.

    Will I feel 'silly' doing kid things?

    It may seem silly at first, but most moms and dads find it's fun to be a little silly and the kids love it! Activities are easy to participate in and you can participate as much as you feel comfortable.

    Who teaches ECFE classes?

    All Early Childhood Family Education instructing staff have, at minimum, a four year degree plus teaching licensure in Parent Education, Early Childhood Education and/or Early Childhood Family Education.

    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. Parent discussion will be in the children's room for parents with young children; it will be in another room for parents with older children. 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 role as parents is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and our children!

    What happens during the children's time and how will parents be involved?

    The children participate in activities in the classroom while moms and dads participate in the discussion. The Early Childhood Educator prepares the room and activities gauged for the children's ages. Both teacher lead and child initiated activities are planned. Parents take turns working with the teacher in the classroom. This provides an opportunity for parents to observe children's time and how their child responds. It also provides an opportunity to learn more about children's development and behavior. It's a chance to get involved and have fun!

    More information

    For more information, or to have specific questions answered, contact the ECFE office at 763-241-3524.

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