The program, For the Wisdom of the Children, will offer culturally based training for current early childhood education teachers as well as pre-service education for prospective teachers, with a focus on STEM subjects grounded in indigenous approaches, at up to seven tribal colleges and universities (TCUs). The goal, according to AICF, is to reduce the structural and educational inequities that keep Native students from pursuing STEM education and work. To that end, teachers will be expected to improve their knowledge of STEM in early learning environments, while TCUs will work to enhance their tribal and university-teacher education programs with an emphasis on STEM and early childhood education.
The fund also will partner with several organizations and institutions to provide teacher development, early learning systems, STEM content and research, interactive pedagogy, and family and community education provider training. Partner organizations include the National Association for the Education of Young Children, WestEd, and Brazelton Touchpoints Center.
"We thank the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for its continued commitment to place-based, culturally competent education, especially for our youngest citizens," said Cheryl Crazy Bull, president and CEO of AICF. "This initiative builds on extensive, community-based engagement, helping tribal people adapt to contemporary opportunities. Creating better approaches to the formal education of young children is our way of adapting to modern society as Native people. We are especially excited to be supporting the education of teachers so they can both teach more skillfully and take advantage of employment opportunities."