Column: Family is front, center in early childhood ed
Early Childhood Family Education classes help children grow and develop, enrich family life and provide information and support for families in their important role as parents.
Parental involvement in children's education is one of the most significant factors in predicting how well a child will do academically in school. Our ECFE program recognizes that parents are children's first and most significant teachers.
We also accept differences in families and practice mutual respect, cooperation, and shared responsibility. We acknowledge and build upon strengths as we support families in their task of raising children.
Families participating in the program can help us, as educators, learn about cultures and family child-raising styles that are different from our own.
ECFE classes are offered at Colvill Family Center throughout the school year. The classes offer learning opportunities for parents and their children that are designed for any family with children ages birth to age 5. Families can choose from a variety of classes including: Incredible Infants, Toddler Time, Terrific Two's and Three's, Mixed Ages, Infant Massage, Special Event Classes, Book Studies, Play Days, and Open Gym.
Staff at Colvill Family Center includes two certified teachers and one educational assistant. All three staff members bring a wealth of knowledge and years of experience to the program. Classes generally consist of parent/child exploration time - where age appropriate activities are set up in a colorful, stimulating early childhood centered classroom. These activities foster children's social, emotional, cognitive, physical, and language skills.
The ECFE staff provides support and guidance to families as they explore the classroom with their child. There is no right or wrong answers and parents and educators talk openly to each other and the children during this time in the classroom. Children are delighted to explore the classroom with their families and are welcome to participate in any of the activities or centers set up in the classroom.
After Exploration time comes parent/child separation time. This gives parents the opportunity to go into a comfortable, relaxing classroom (called the Parent Room) to talk with each other and the parent educator about topics relevant to raising children. These may include: toilet training, understanding how children develop and effective discipline techniques to use with children.
Parents are allowed to ask questions and give helpful advice to each other. We acknowledge that there are many points of view on a topic and encourage parents to share their opinions.
While the parents have time together, the early childhood teacher and educational assistant have snack and play time with the children. Classes then end with the parents joining the children for a large group circle time. During this time, the children and their parents sing songs and listen to stories.
Many of our families enjoy the time they have together in ECFE so much that they develop relationships outside of the school environment. These relationships develop into lifelong friendships and families are able to continue to provide support to each other as their children enter school.
We encourage any families with young children to get involved in ECFE today. For more information, please contact Colvill Family Center at 651-385-8000 or stop in to hear about the many opportunities we have for you and your family.