Tribal College and University Childhood Education Initiatives: Strengthening Systems of Care and Learning with Native Communities From Birth to Career

Tribal College and University Childhood Education Initiatives: Strengthening Systems of Care and Learning with Native Communities From Birth to Career

Supporting the development of responsive educational systems that provide a place-based, culturally appropriate education for young Native American children can help ensure their academic and social success at a foundational age, a report from the American Indian College Fund finds. The report, Tribal College and University Childhood Education Initiatives: Strengthening Systems of Care and Learning with Native Communities From Birth to Career (52 pages, PDF), highlights insights from the first six years of the fund's effort to build sustainable systems of early childhood care and learning — structured around five domains: teacher quality, child development, Native language and culture, pre-K to K-e transition, and intergenerational family engagement — at seven tribal colleges and universities (TCUs). Funded by the W.K. Kellogg and Grotto foundations and others, the initiatives have served nearly four thousand children, twenty-four hundred families, and twelve hundred teachers; built sustainable systems of care and learning; expanded partnerships with local and external organizations, including Head Start, local schools, and foundations; engaged families; drawn on the knowledge and experience of community elders; and shared lessons learned. The report found examples of how direct engagement within a culturally appropriate context improved the initiatives' sustainability at the individual level (children, families, and college students), institutional level (TCUs), community and tribal level, and systemic level.