Edina Family Center (EFC) programs received a four-star rating, the highest attainable, from Parent Aware, a program of the Minnesota Department of Education dedicated to helping families find the highest quality early childhood education programs in Minnesota.
EFC has received the top rating each year since the program began. A rigorous application process takes place every two years and is tied to a research-based, proven assessment strategy that EFC staff employs.
“What this tells families is that we have invested in staff and curriculum to provide a high-quality program. This ensures that programs support not only the social and emotional growth of the child but also support kids academically,” said Val Burke, director of Community Education Services. “The rating also provides our families access to scholarship funds, which advances the Family Center’s mission to serve all students.”
To earn the four-star rating, programs must use a curriculum that is aligned with the Minnesota Early Childhood Indicators of Progress (ECIP) and conduct assessments using an approved tool with all children at least twice a year. The assessments measure developmental progress in the areas of social, emotional and physical development, as well as cognitive abilities such as language acquisition, literacy skills, and mathematical thinking. The portfolio assessment system employed by the EFC provides valuable student data to early childhood teachers, provides baseline data for kindergarten teachers, and most importantly gives families ideas on areas of strength and areas to work on with their child at home.
Edina’s program was also cited for its quality staff. All preschool teachers at the Edina Family Center must complete at least eight hours of training on the implementation of the curriculum and eight hours of training on authentic child assessment. This is in addition to all other state licensing requirements and early childhood certifications each teacher holds, requirements that extend beyond those set forth by Parent Aware.
“This was truly a team effort,” said Laura Scanlon, an EFC teacher who served as interim program coordinator and guided the application process last spring and summer. “[The rating] validates the hard work and commitment that we all have to the children and families we serve.”