What is Early Catholic Family Life?

What does each session of the ECFL Program look like?

“This Class was a great experience. It really helped us open up and talk about how we are going to live out our faith with the kids.”


Each two-hour session is divided into three components: The Parent and Child Play Together Time takes place during the first hour of each session. During the second hour of the session the children and the parents separate. The parents take part in The Parent Discussion Time while their children continue on in the early childhood classroom with a trained adult volunteer leader and assistants in The Child-Only Time.

How do I start a program? 

The Early Catholic Family Life program is designed to be simple and straightforward for parishes to implement. It's easily offered in parishes using existing spaces, such as a Parish Council meeting room for parents' discussion and a children's room, usually a parish's preschool or Sunday childcare program space. 


Early Catholic Family Life program materials are designed to be self-contained and self-explanatory. They include:

  • Parent Leader's Guide

  • Parent Workbook

  • Childhood Leader's Guide and

  • Training Manual


Any additional materials for ECFL are simple and easily gathered from within your parish.

Training for Early Catholic Family Life is regularly offered or easily scheduled by the program's creators, Joanne and Alan Foley and is found to be an essential element of successful implementation.


ECFL has been implemented in more than 100 parishes in the Twin Cities area. We have also prepared parishes to provide ECFL in the New Ulm, St. Cloud and Winona Dioceses, as well as in Georgia, Kansas, Colorado, Wisconsin, as well as the Archdiocese of Toronto. 


​The primary source of the materials and ideas for the Early Catholic Family Life program is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. ECFL has earned the Imprimatur and the Nihil Obstat designations, designed to ensure that works that present the teachings of the Church do so correctly. 

ECFL now features a second set of seven Parent Ed lessons. Parishes and Schools that have already implemented the program can offer a second round of ECFL classes for their parents. The children's lessons may be re-used with the new Parent Ed sessions. Contact us at alanfol@gmail.com or at 612-925-1203 for more information. 


Alan and Joanne are native Minnesotans and have lived in Minneapolis for many years. They are graduates of the University of Minnesota and Alan earned his MBA at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. They are members of St. Peters parish in Richfield. Alan and Joanne will graduate in May from the Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute. They have 4 children and 9 grandchildren.

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Copyright © 2018 Alan and Joanne Foley & Catholic Schools Center of Excellence