Spring is in full bloom here at the Northwest Indian College (NWIC) Early Leaning Center, and the College Fund’s Restorative Teachings Early Childhood Education (ECE) Initiative is beginning to take shape. We are fortunate to live in a part of the country where the seasonal changes are so dramatic and each transition brings such a feeling of change to our surroundings.
As we began our journey with this new project, the spiny bare branches of winter began to bud and then bloom with white and pink cherry blossoms. While we worked to build our team and our vision of what this opportunity could mean for the children in the community, the birds began to sing us awake and the frogs croak us to sleep. This process of new growth and renewal happening around us inspires and mirrors our own.
Our Coordinating Team has met several times and continues to build on the strengths of NWIC’s ECE degree program, Sacred Little Ones and K’e’ ECE Initiatives, and the amazing staff and families at the NWIC Early Learning Center and Lummi community. We will continue to build on our many strong resources and assets as we work together to create sustainable place-based learning opportunities for our children.
With opportunities stemming from the Restorative Teachings ECE Initiative, our plan is to partner with NWIC’s Coast Salish Institute and Cooperative Extension to facilitate Professional Learning Communities about traditional plants and foods for ELC staff. We also plan to partner with NWIC’s Indigenous Service Learning program in order to transform the ELC’s playground into an outdoor classroom with a school garden featuring plants that are indigenous to this area.
Below are a few “before” pictures of our ELC playground. We look forward to juxtaposing these pictures with images of our playground “during” and “after” the transformation, illustrating the beautiful changes that we foresee happening with our ELC program and curriculum.
Alicia Allard (ELC Director) and Nahrin Aziz-Parsons (ECE Faculty)