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Community Education Corner: ECFE — what is it?

This program works to support you as a parent/caregiver and to build on family dynamics of bonding and enrichment and is just plain fun!

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Contributed / Michele Carlson
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ESKO — Early Childhood Family Education is a wonderful program offered through all of the area community education programs.

We are fortunate in Minnesota that our state deems early childhood and family education as vital to the success of students in kindergarten through grade 12. ECFE is supported by both state aid (similar to K-12 education) and by local tax levy dollars. The amount each district receives is based on the age 0-4 census reports done by the district.

It is vital to make sure you touch base with your district if you move into the community or have a baby so your children can be added to the district census report to support funding. This is also how you will receive information about programs like ECFE.

ECFE is based on the idea that a parent provides a child's first and most significant learning environment. This program works to support you as a parent/caregiver and to build on family dynamics of bonding and enrichment and is just plain fun!

ECFE helps to prepare children and parents for each stage of development. The program's focus is to build connections with families and to enhance the ability of each parent and family members to provide the best possible environment for learning and development for each individual child.


ECFE is provided by teachers who are licensed in early childhood and/or parenting education by the state of Minnesota. It is an enriching educational program that allows you to gather information from early childhood experts, and other parents going through similar parenting experiences.

My children are now 29 and 25 years old, and I am happy to say that I am still friends with several people that I met in ECFE classes. The bond you create with families while learning to be a parent are some of the most important and strongest bonds you will create in a community.

I felt comforted knowing my children already had a set of “friends” from ECFE when they stepped into kindergarten classes on their first day of school. I knew my children and I had already created our school support network with the relationships we had built in ECFE classes.

ECFE was my first connection to community education that sent me down the path to become a licensed director. You can definitely say I am passionate about the program.

If you have questions about ECFE programming in Esko, please reach out to our coordinator, Shannon Matzdorf at smatzdorf@esko.k12.mn.us or myself at mcarlson@esko.k12.mn.us

"Community Education Corner," published weekly in the Pine Journal, features news from Community Education programs in Carlton County.

Michele Carlson is the Community Education Director for Esko Schools.

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