How many times have you heard the parent of a school-age child exclaim, “If only I had known of ECFE when my children were younger”? Or, after sharing with someone what you do for a living, how often do you hear, “What is ECFE?” Answers to these questions require us to ask the following: How do parents and families learn about our programs and services?
Since its inception, Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) programs were intended to serve all parents of children from birth to kindergarten enrollment. ECFE programs have always been voluntary, both for families to participate and for school districts to offer. Program staff must focus not just on reaching full attendance, but on reaching a demographic cross-section of the families living in the communities they serve.
Minnesota Statutes 124D.13, Subdivision 2, lists the program requirements for ECFE programs. One of the requirements (item six) is “a community outreach plan to ensure participation by families who reflect the racial, cultural, and economic diversity of the school district.” Item four requires “information on related community resources,” which is also a part of the outreach process.