ECFE: A Sanity Saver For Me!

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    By: Amy Franzwa

    My Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) class was nothing short of a life-saver for me as a first-time mom! Prior to hearing about it from a friend, I sadly had no idea what ECFE was or the many benefits the classes have for parents and children both educationally and socially.

    I started a birth-5 year multi-age class when my oldest daughter was 6 months and I still kick myself that I didn’t start sooner. (Newborn babies are welcome). At that point I had all I could take of rattles, walks and Baby Einstein videos. We both needed a change of scenery and new friends!

    Our two-hour class had two components, parent-child time and separation, which is typical of most ECFE classes. We spent the first hour together enjoying age-appropriate toys, games, crafts and songs. To that point our “play” experience was pretty basic because there’s not much a 6 month old can do, but we weren’t at home and weren’t responsible for cleaning up the mess! 

    After our hour-long bonding time, I joined the rest of the parents and a parent educator in a different room while my little peanut stayed back with the other kids and early childhood teachers. During that hour of separation, we discussed relevant parenting subjects such as breastfeeding, child development, etc. And, of course, there were off-topic conversations that are to be expected when you get a room full of 10 frustrated, sleep-deprived, hormonal women together! Discussions were occasionally interrupted by the phone ringing and it always resulted in a chorus of “Awww”s because it meant diaper duty for one of us.

    Flash forward to the next year when my second daughter was born and I had a newborn and 15 month old. It was difficult to find activities for both so back to our multi-age ECFE class we went. I attended a birth to 5 year multi-age ECFE class until my youngest ventured off to kindergarten. We had other class options with narrower age groups (e.g. Walkers and Ones, Toddlers and Twos), but I liked having kids of varying ages in the class.  

    ECFE’s goal is to get kids learning school skills at a young age and the classes definitely achieve that. But my experience was so much more beneficial because it introduced me to a fantastic group of parents who provided support during a critical time and who have become some of my closest friends. 

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