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Lifelong Learning

Programs and Curriculum

Early Childhood Family Education

Phone: 218-284-3400
Fax: 218-284-3433

Attendance Office: 218-284-3401

Joelle Hofer, Director of Early Learning
Joelle Hofer,
Director of Early Learning
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Parent and Child Classes

A typical ECFE class consists of three learning sections:

  • TOGETHER TIME: Parents and children explore the ECFE room together. Learning activities are provided as well as time for open play. This time also includes a group "Circle Time" of songs and games.
  • PARENTS' TIME: A licensed parent facilitator provides resources and guides discussion about child development, parenting techniques, and current issues concerning today's families.
  • CHILDREN'S TIME: During parent discussion time, your children have snack, continue to play and are supervised by the early childhood teacher. Learning experiences such as sharing, socializing and relating to friends their own age are encouraged.

Classes are offered in a variety of formats: separating, non-separating, special events, field trips and parent only/workplace parent education. Check out our Parenting Press Newsletter for the most current class offerings or call 218-284-3400 to discuss which option is best of you.

All of our teachers hold a minimum of a four-year degree in early childhood or child and family development and maintain a current teaching license through the Minnesota Department of Education.

Parent educators use The Parent Education Core Curriculum Framework to guide curriculum development for parent groups. Parent educators typically survey the group for interests and develop the plan for parent discussion time using the PECCFI indicators to guide learning objectives, activities and content each week. Early childhood educators use The Early Childhood Indicators of Progress: Minnesota's Guidelines for Birth to Three and The Early Childhood Indicators of Progress: Minnesota's Learning Standards for 3-5 as a foundation for developing curriculum for the early childhood classroom. Teachers collaborate to create an integrated lesson plan with both parent and early childhood components.

Home Visit Program

Families who are unable to attend classes at Probstfield Early Learning Center may wish to invite a home visitor into their home for short-term, individualized parenting help.

Infant Massage Visits

Share the calming power of touch with your infant. All Moorhead residents who are the parents of new babies are invited to call 218-284-3400 to request a free infant massage visit to their home. Parents receive instruction in infant massage from our licensed, experienced instructor and a gift certificate toward an ECFE class.

Parent Lending Library

Families are welcome to borrow books, DVDs and videos for parents and children. There are a variety of items available, ranging from new publications to tried and true favorites. You'll find information on parenting concerns to societal changes to children's books on separation and friendship. Your ECFE teacher is happy to assist you in finding the specific information you need.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Who participates in ECFE?

A: Parents/Caregivers and children participate together. Participation is voluntary. ECFE is committed to accessibility for everyone, so fees are based on a sliding fee scale or are waived for families unable to pay (for those within the Moorhead school district).

Q: How is ECFE associated with Head Start?

A: Clay-Wilkin Head Start has classrooms at the Family Service Center. Head Start is a state and federally funded program for families of 3 and 4 year olds that meet income eligibility or have special needs.

Q: Why are ECFE classes encouraged starting at birth?

A: Brain research confirms the first three years are an extremely critical period in a child's development. This is especially true in the areas of language, social skills and the roots of intelligence. An infant's daily interactions with parents and other caregivers actually determine the structure of some areas of the brain itself. Getting involved in ECFE can help parents be better equipped to deal with the challenges of caring for these rapidly developing infants and toddlers.

Q: Who benefits from ECFE?

A: Society benefits from strong families and healthy, well-developed children. The potential of ECFE to prevent or reduce later learning problems of children has been confirmed by evaluation of ECFE and similar programs. Parents involved in ECFE report feeling more supported and more confident in their role as parents. They also report having a better understanding of how children develop and having improved parenting skills. Research strongly suggests that dollars spent on ECFE are more than repaid by savings in remedial health, education and welfare costs.

Q: How do I register for a class?

A: There are a few options for registration. Register online here, remember to enter the information for the child/children attending the class. Call 218-284-3400, or mail your registration form to Community Education, Probstfield Center for Education, 2410 14th St. S., Moorhead, MN 56560.

Q: What is ECFE's illness policy?

A: Parents and children should stay home when they are sick for the wellness of the program and other participants. The ECFE illness policy in included in the parent handbook.

Q: If I register for a separating class and prefer not to separate from my child, how is that handled with your program?

A: At ECFE we know there are varying degrees of comfort for parents and children when it comes to separation. Our licensed and experienced staff will work with you to meet your needs and preferences while maintaining our educational standards. Parents are never required to separate. It is always a parent's choice.