What is ECFE?
Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) is a program for all Minnesota families with children between the ages of birth to kindergarten entrance. The program is offered through Minnesota public schools. ECFE is based on the idea that the family provides a child’s first and most significant learning environment and parents are a child’s first and most important teachers. ECFE works to strengthen families. ECFE’s goal is to enhance the ability of all parents to provide the best possible environment for their child’s learning and growth.
Cambridge-Isanti ECFE classes are offered several times throughout each week, mornings and afternoons. ECFE classes are on a sliding fee scale so families choose which price fits their budget the best or they can pay the suggested price listed. No family is ever turned away for inability to pay.
What happens in ECFE?
ECFE programs are tailored locally to meet the needs of families in each specific community. Most programs contain the following components:
- Parent discussion groups
- Play and learning activities for children
- Parent-child activities
- Low cost sibling care is offered in many classes. This enables parents to attend a class with one child while a trained professional in an adjacent classroom is caring for another child.
- Special events for the entire family
- Home visits
- Early screening for potential children’s health and developmental problems
- Community resource information for families and young children
- Libraries of books and other learning materials
Who participates in ECFE?
Parents and children participate together. Participation is voluntary and services are offered free, or for a nominal fee. ECFE is committed to accessibility for everyone, so fees are waived for families unable to pay.
It is the goal of ECFE to serve a representative cross-section of families with young children in each community. All families have different needs. Programs usually offer several sessions with specific topics to meet the needs of families with special concerns, such as single parenting, teen parents, children with special needs, etc.
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What is Preschool?
Cambridge-Isanti Preschool is for children ages 3 to 5. We offer classes in Cambridge (inside Cambridge Intermediate School) and Isanti (inside Isanti Primary School). Classes meet 5 (M-F), 3 (M/W/F) or 2 (T/Th) days a week. We have full-day classes (7:40-2:15), half-day morning classes (7:40-10:25) & half-day afternoon classes (11:40-2:15). Preschool is a tuition based program, $30 per contracted full-day & $15 per contracted half-day. There is a non-refundable $40 registration fee due at time of registration.
Cambridge-Isanti Preschool has scholarship monies available for families in need of tuition assistance. We have School Readiness & Pathway II scholarships. We also accept Pathway I scholarships. Many times we are able to help even if a family doesn’t qualify due to a higher income, reach out to us as we may be able to find another way to determine eligibility.
What is the difference?
The main differences between ECFE & Preschool are:
parent & child attend together
parent drops child off
sliding fee scale
How to decide which to enroll my child in?
The decision on which program to enroll into resides solely on the family. Each family is so different and there are so many different ways to approach Early Childhood learning. Rest assured that whatever decision you make in regards to Early Learning, it is the best answer for your family at that time. We are here to support you & your family in any way without judgement, so feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need help deciding which class to take. Many families participate in ECFE & Preschool simultaneously from birth until their child enters Kindergarten while others participate in just one program at a time. What works for your family works for us!