By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN Parents of young children might want to check out the new Early Catholic Family Life (ECFL) classes through Holy Trinity Catholic Parish and School in Winsted this winter.
The eight-week program will take place in the preschool room at Holy Trinity Elementary every Wednesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m., starting Jan. 9 and going through Feb. 27. All children from birth through age 5 are welcome, along with their parents.
“It’s modeled after the ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) program,” said Dr. Bonita “Bonnie” Jungels, principal of Holy Trinity School.
While ECFE is a program available at public schools in Minnesota, ECFL is faith-based and is designed to empower parents to raise their children confidently with Jesus.
ECFL is similar to ECFE in its structure. For the first part of the class, parents and children meet together. Then, parents meet separately while the children participate in a learning activity.
“It’s nice to have something to go to, and it’s a nice way to meet people,” said Jungels, who was involved in ECFL at her previous job, at St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Jordan.
ECFL was developed in 2001 by a Minnesota couple named Joanne and Alan Foley, with the help of the Office of Marriage, Family and Life of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Since then, it has been implemented in more than 100 parishes in the metro area.
Jungels decided to bring the program to Winsted because she believes it will benefit the community. She explained that parents who are busy raising small children can sometimes “feel like an island,” and it’s helpful to have support from other young families who are going through the same struggles.
Jungels will be leading the parent section of the class, while Jenny Poppler will be in charge of the children’s activities. Poppler has been a Holy Trinity preschool teacher for the past four years, and she enjoys that age group.
“I love that they get so excited about learning,” she commented.
At each ECFL lesson, there will be plenty for children to get excited about. During the Jan. 9 class, for instance, children will get to see live minnows. The theme for that day, “God Made Everything,” will focus on various aspects of God’s creation, including animals.
Each week has a different topic, and children will learn how God is always with them, how to love others, and how Jesus is the son of God, among other topics.
The first topic for parents will be “Growing in Faith.” Examples of other parent topics include prayer, moral foundations, and spirituality of children.
An online registration form for the class can be found by following the “Early Catholic Family Life” link at www.herald-journal.com. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.