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Early Childhood Programming

Early Childhood Family Education is a MN State funded educational program for families with children from birth to 5 (not yet in kindergarten). ECFE helps parents support their child's growth and development. Classes are taught by licensed early childhood teachers and licensed parent educators. 

Winter/Spring ECFE Registration

Winter/Spring classes take place February 5 - May 30, 2024. Registration for lottery placement into classes will be November 27-December 8, 2023.
 View Catalog Early Learning Winter/Spring 2024 Catalog PDF

Drop-In Play Sessions

Drop-In Play sessions provide the opportunity for you and your child(ren) to pop in for some parent/child ECFE fun. Most sessions are weekly and run from September through May based on the ECFE program calendar. Registration is not required and sessions are free. Space is limited to 14 children per session. For ages birth - 5 years old.

LIBERTY RIDGE SITE 2 - 11283 EAGLE VIEW BLVD., WOODBURY, MN

  • Mondays 11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. 
  • Wednesdays 11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.
  • Fridays 9:00-10:15 a.m.
  • Fridays 10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
  • Fridays 11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

DISTRICT PROGRAM CENTER - 8400 E. PT. DOUGLAS RD. S., COTTAGE GROVE, MN

  • Mondays 8:45-10:00 a.m.
  • Wednesdays 9:30-10:45 a.m.
  • Wednesdays 11:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

DROP-IN PLAY WILL NOT OCCUR ON THE FOLLOWING DATES:
Nov. 22-24; Dec. 22-29; Jan. 1-2, 15, 29, 31; Feb. 2, 16-19; Mar. 4-11, 29; Apr. 26; May 27, 31

Parent/Baby Connection Drop-In

In this free, drop-in style class, you will be able to connect with other new parents, ask questions and share ideas related to adjusting to a new baby, feeding, sleeping and more.  For more information, please call the Early Learning office at 651-425-7181.

LIBERTY RIDGE SITE 2 - 11283 EAGLE VIEW BLVD., WOODBURY, MN

  • Tuesdays 10:30-11:45 a.m. - ages birth - 3 months (Starting September 12, 2023)

WASHINGTON COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH - 13000 RAVINE PARKWAY S., COTTAGE GROVE, MN

  • Fridays 10:30-11:45 a.m. - ages birth - 3 months (Starting September 15, 2023)

Contact

Enrollment Questions:
Katie Van Overmeiren
Office Coordinator
651-425-7181

kvanover@sowashco.org

Beth Quist
Site Coordinator
Liberty Ridge Site 2
651-425-7163

bquist@sowashco.org

Ann Mockenhaupt
Site Coordinator
District Program Center
651-425-6636

amockenh@sowashco.org

Joyce Beaird
Early Learning Family
Services Manager
651-425-7169

jbeaird@sowashco.org

Office Hours:
7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

ECFE Classes and Activities

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Early Learning Blog

Along with the joy of becoming a parent comes a lot of questions about raising a child. It can be hard to find answers and information. Our Early Learning blog can provide the information you seek. Written by one of our own ECFE Licensed Parent Educators, each blog offers insight into child development, parenting strategies, and other important topics that can support parents during their parenting journey. View our extensive blog library of topics as well as our most recent post below:

Recently, a mom shared a touching gift that brought my eyes to water and my thoughts to linger, a card from her graduating daughter that contained a simple yet profound statement, "When I grow up, I want to be like you." In addition to the gratitude and acknowledgement of all her parent’s love and support, it’s this sentiment that resonates deep within every mom and dad—a reflection of deep, profound love for their child, hope in goodness, the countless unseen sacrifices and unwavering connection that define parenthood. Sometimes the phrase, “cut the umbilical cord” is used in jest. The physical umbilical cord is easy to cut but that deep attachment cannot naturally be severed.

The essence of early childhood lies in building and strengthening the parent-child relationship. Research confirms that the foundation of this attachment is formed during infancy, a stage where the dance of love, responsiveness, and trust begins. The attachment relationship is not just a fleeting phase; it is a cornerstone that shapes a child’s future emotional and social well-being. By promptly responding to their needs, we convey a fundamental message—they are seen, heard, and valued. Through shared gazes and gentle touches, we build a foundation for a strong, emotionally intelligent adult.

Independence can be a roller coaster. It’s a tricky balance between doing everything for your kids and letting them stumble through it while managing big emotions and taking into account the logistics of getting a child buckled into their car seat in time for preschool or considering safety in the kitchen.

When my kids were toddlers and at varying stages of independence, I vividly recall the struggle of finding that delicate balance between doing everything for them and letting them stumble through it on their own. But through patience, insight from experts, and often a healthy dose of perspective from my husband we continue to find a rhythm of independence that challenges me to grow as a parent and foster both confidence in how my children view themselves and trust to ask for help from others.

What exactly is play-based learning? It's the environment that is conducive to a child’s development involving skills such as teamwork, communication, clever thinking, creativity, and confidence. Additionally, it's beneficial for social skills, language development, and even laying a foundation for number sense and scientific inquiry.

Parent Resources