Valuable ECFE for families, young people | News, Sports, Jobs


FAIRMONT- Earlier this week, Fairmont Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) wrapped up its summer programming and registration is now open for its school year programming.

During the school year, ECFE will offer parent-child classes for children up to age five and pre-school classes for children aged three to five.

Although some classes may already be at capacity, at this point ECFE may be able to reallocate resources and staff to offer additional sessions if there is significant demand. Scholarships and financial aid are also available for both programs.

ECFE lessons take place every week and allow children to play with their parents and other children of their age group.

Classes like these can help children adjust to school, interact with their peers, and be away from their parents.

Michelle Rosen, co-director of Fairmont Elementary, is one of the project leads for ECFE.

“Truly, the first educator any child has is their parent. If we can get parents and children working together from birth, it reinforces that success for families, for the family unit, and for everyone else involved,” Rosen said.

Most sessions will also include workshops and seminars for parents. The instructor usually works with parents at their seminar to identify topics and areas they would like to learn more about. Previous topics have included when to start feeding babies solid foods, potty training, sleep routines and how to handle tantrums.

“The topics are very broad, but they focus from the group on what they need and what they have difficulty with”, Rosen said.

First class is $100 per year and second class will be $75 per year. Some sessions will have child care available for siblings at a cost of $50 per child per year.

ECFE preschool sessions are divided into two areas; one for three-year-olds and another for four- and five-year-olds. The bus is available to all students who live in the district.

Three-year-olds can attend morning classes two or three days a week. Classes last two and a half hours. Bursaries are available for families who qualify for free and reduced-price meals.

Pre-school classes for four and five year olds are divided into morning and afternoon half-day sessions. Classes are held five days a week. This program meets the voluntary pre-kindergarten standards of the Minnesota Department of Education and therefore has no cost associated with enrollment.

Rosen says students enrolled in preschool can make much smoother transitions to kindergarten because the program familiarizes them with the school environment and procedures.

“It just gives you a stronger foundation when you have those preschool opportunities,” Rosen said.

Registration for parent and child and preschool classes is available on Skyward. Classes will begin the week of September 26 and will follow the district’s school year schedule. More information can be found on the ECFE website or on its Facebook page.

Outside of these programs, ECFE will continue to hold monthly family home evenings.

Rosen also had one final piece of advice for parents of young children.

“The most important thing I want parents to know is that your child has only been young for so long. Value those years, enjoy those years, explore those years with your child, and do whatever you can to be this educator with your child”, Rosen said.

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