Welcome to our September Newsletter!

ECFL training via Zoom is on:
November 7 and 14
The Catholic School Center of Excellence
The Catholic School Center of Excellence (CSCOE) is a Twin Cities non-profit organization with a simple two-part mission: to help Catholic elementary schools within the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis achieve and maintain excellence while increasing student enrollment. Since its beginning just a few short years ago, CSCOE has shown itself to be a tremendous help to Catholic Schools in the area, and a big help to the Early Catholic Family Life program. They have helped to spread the word about us within the Catholic school community in the Twin Cities and provided us with lots of “hands-on” assistance including providing funds for schools to be trained, as well as real marketing solutions.
Gail Dorn, Executive Chair, CSCOE
CSCOE is wonderfully led by its Executive Chair, Gail Dorn. Before she came to CSCOE, Gail served as a senior executive with Target in the areas of communication, PR, philanthropy and marketing. She was the primary spokesperson for all public and media-related communications and has extensive experience in organizational development, strategic planning and human resource management. So Gail brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to bear on her role in leading CSCOE.

Recently we asked Gail to answer some questions about the relationship between CSCOE and ECFL.

In typical gracious Gail fashion, she begins:

Hi Foleys! I am honored to be asked to help you and I continue to be thankful for your great work on behalf of young families! 
Question 1. How did you hear about ECFL?
CSCOE heard about ECFL through our Archdiocese and we were very impressed! At the time, our organization wanted to help Catholic schools grow and we understood the necessity to educate young families during the important time between Baptism and First Reconciliation. Our organization introduced the growth of Faithful Beginnings, a Catholic Preschool expansion, but we were searching for additional programs that specifically addressed the whole family in their understanding of our great Catholic faith.
Question 2. What was it that attracted you to ECFL - why did CSCOE decide to support the program?

Put simply ECFL is excellent and desperately needed. Our Church must do everything possible to support and sustain Catholic family life and ECFL is, in our opinion, the best program available. It works. By connecting families to each other, in a positive, loving and faith-filled environment, we are building the Church for future generations. This approach is pro-family and acknowledges exactly what our Catholic faith teaches: that parents are the first and most-important educators.
Question 3. We know that CSCOE felt that parents who attended ECFL would be more likely to send their child to the parish school. Do you still feel that way?

It is our hope that parents begin their journey with ECFL and then “graduate” to a Catholic school experience. There is no better option than to have your child educated in a Catholic school as its mission is to develop each child’s mind, body and soul. Catholic education is different and unique in the marketplace of education options. By choosing a Catholic education, parents are choosing excellence for their child.  
Question 4. How have Principals made use of ECFL?

Our school principals have found a way to integrate ECFL into their school culture. A Catholic grade school is a dynamic community and by addressing the needs of the whole family, beginning in the pre-school years, we inherently build a trust level with parents that extends to a lifetime. 
Question 5. Does CSCOE continue to support the Early Catholic Family Life Program?

CSCOE enthusiastically endorses the ECFL approach because it provides what is frequently absent from modern day family life: a joyful connection to our great Catholic faith and an engaging way for young families to build a Catholic culture in their homelife.
We are very grateful to everyone at CSCOE for their continuing support of the ECFL program, And thank you, Gail for your thoughtful responses to our questions. May God continue to bless the work you are doing!
ECFL parents talk about exploring their faith and fostering friendships

Click here to learn more about Early Catholic Family Life.
Games of Tasting, Smelling, Touching, Seeing and Hearing
Praise God for our Senses! 
Here are some senses games to play:

Do you hear what I hear? 
Listen with your child, outside, with your eyes closed! A neighbor mowing, a roofer pounding, a bird tweeting, a dog barking, friends chatting, cars on the street or airplanes overhead, the chirp of crickets or the buzz of bees or the high-pitched hum of cicadas. Our ears hear all these sounds and we identify the world around us. Notice, remark and be amazed with your child.

Dwell on this Smell
Select a variety of spices. Smell them once and again blindfolded. Think about where you smell this aroma—does it remind you of soap, hand cream, cinnamon toast or apple pie? Does it attract you, or make you hungry or bring you a memory? Share your attractions and memories. Take turns finding more scents and fragrances and odors just for the fun of it. How keen are our noses!
Taste and See.
Select a variety of common ingredients such as sugar, salt, molasses, honey, brown sugar, peanut butter and jelly. Taste them once and then again with eyes covered.  Talk about them. Sugar is sweet, taste and see. You only know this because you taste it. King David wrote: Taste and see that the Lord is sweet. What he meant, according to one of my favorite authors, Mary Reed Newland, was “ we could grow to love being loved by God just as we grow to love sweet things—but first you have to taste and see.”

I Spy with my Little Eye
I spy something God has made. One of our favorite car ride games. Think of something, give a hint or two and let the guessing begin. The first to guess becomes the next Spy. Wrap up your game with an act of praise and thanksgiving for all the gifts God has provided and for the eyes to see it.
Touch and Feel
Oh my! The favorite game of older babies and toddlers! Gather from your household many things that are safe. Look, then close your eyes and touch and feel them. Help your child distinguish big and small differences and give colorful and descriptive words for what they feel and touch.

We can make ordinary awareness a game with children.  Not only did God give us the awesome wonders of the world, He also gave us the means to discover, know and experience Creation through our senses. And our child's play becomes a precious prayer when we praise and thank God for those gifts.
"As the odor of spice or the fragrance of balm, or choicest myrrh, is my perfume.
As fragrant incense I lift my praise to the Lord.
Come to me, all who yearn to be filled with my fruits, and you will yet hunger for more.
For all who try me will find my memory sweet."
                  -Mother of Holy Hope, Lucien Deiss
ECFL is dedicated to helping parents with small children to create a home that has a Catholic culture
a home with Jesus at the center.