Paynesville Press - February 5, 2003

Community Perspective

School offers early childhood programs

By Kim Thompson

Every child needs a helping hand. Every family deserves one. Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) is for families like yours.

What is Early Childhood Family Education? ECFE is a wonderful place for you and your child to play and learn and find support and friendship with other parents. It is an opportunity for your child to make new friends and grow socially through new experiences.

ECFE believes that parents are the child's first and most important teachers and that parents need support and encouragement in the difficult job of raising children.

ECFE offers programs that addresses various parenting topics such as choices for discipline, ideas for playing with your child, toddler and preschool topics, and growing together as a family. This is a special time for parents to share ideas and concerns. There is no one recipe for success in raising children. We offer many positive parenting approaches.

Each weekly session is divided into three parts. The first part of each session is for you and your child to spend time together participating in some planned activities. Your child will have an opportunity to develop positive self-esteem and enjoy learning with you.

The activities are prepared by licensed teachers.

The second part of the session is for your child. He/she will have fun learning through play under the direction of a licensed teacher. New friendships can be formed with the other children, while the child is apart from you.

Mom/dad and child in the 3-5 age groups separate during the parenting time. Mom/dad and child in the 0-3 age groups stay in the same room, even when parents are having their discussion time.

The third part is an opportunity for parents to share ideas and concerns with other parents. The support and encouragement of others is helpful to parents in their difficult job of raising children. A licensed parent educator leads discussions on pertinent topics. You will find that you are not alone.

ECFE is located at the Paynesville Area Elementary School. Please call myself or Becki Quade at 243-KIDS for information and to join us. All families are welcome. No one will be denied participation due to inability to pay. Come for your child and stay for yourself.

School Readiness

School Readiness is an integrated program that provides a high quality learning experience for children ages three and a half to five. A warm and caring staff will provide plenty of "hands on," developmentally-appropriate activities that help young children learn and grow.

Children will be exposed to a variety of experiences to improve self-image, socialization skills, language and cognitive skills, and small and large motor development.

School Readiness is a program that was established to help prepare young children for kindergarten. This is a drop-off program where children spend six hours a week playing, learning, and socializing with other preschoolers under the direction of a licensed teacher. The cost is $4 per day.

Preschool screening must be completed before a child can be considered for this program. A referral must be made by a parent, teacher, or other professional for a child to be considered for this program. Parents are expected to be actively involved because the program believes that the parent is the child's first and foremost teacher. A variety of ways exist for families to fulfill this component, such as visiting their child's classroom, attending ECFE classes, or participating in home activities.

School Readiness is located in Room 118 of the Paynesville Area Elementary School. For more information, call me at 243-KIDS.


Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) is provided for children with general developmental delays and/or those who have disabilities. They must qualify using standardized assessments and meet state criteria. Services for children from birth to two years of age are home based. Children who are three to six years old attend class at the Paynesville Area Elementary School.

There is no cost for children who are enrolled in this program. These children have access to vision and hearing consultants as well as occupational and physical therapist services if needed. Speech and language services are also available.

For more information, call Pam Pfeifer or Sue Currens at 243-7543.

Kim Thompson is an Early Childhood Family Education teacher.

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