School Spotlight: Robbinsdale’s Early Childhood Family Education
Getting a child’s education off to the right start often begins with a child’s first teachers, their parents. Instructors with the Robbinsdale School District’s Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) program help give parents information to get their children off to a good start.
“Parents are a big piece of our program because we want to partner together, share together and build systems for home and school so we can support what’s best for our children,” says Monica Potter, program director. “We are building that foundation with families for the rest of their school success and life success.”
Robbinsdale Area Schools has a robust ECFE program, reaching as many as 800 parents and 1,500 children every week, either at the New Hope Learning Center or in outreach programs and home visits. Many parents seek out the program when their children are infants as a source of information and a way to network with other parents.
“I was nervous about being a parent with him and I didn’t know if I was doing it right or wrong,” says Jacqulynn Gonzales, who has two children and started attending with her son who is now about to enter kindergarten. “They help with calming techniques, body massages and ways to get interested in books.”
After parents learn in class with their children, the parents are often separated from the children for additional learning. Then, parents can choose to have children enrolled in preschool or even pre-kindergarten classes.
“I never knew how difficult being a parent was until I became one so I feel more comfortable getting information and bringing it home, and sharing stories and experiences with other parents,” says Kristin James, who attended classes with her daughter, Avery.
James says she networked with other parents and scheduled playdates.
“A lot of it is the camaraderie of parents being together and sharing experiences and knowing you are not alone.”
Much of what children learn at higher levels prepares them to enter kindergarten.
“It’s interesting that there’s a piece we don’t think about and it’s learning how to do school,” says Potter. “They learn the structure of what you do. They learn to pay attention to other adults and they learn it’s time to sit still and when it’s time to move.”
To learn more about Robbinsdale Area Schools’ ECFE program, visit this website.