American Indian College Fund and Yale University Partner for Early Childhood Education Project
June 7, 2012
The Wakanyeja “Sacred Little Ones” Early Childhood Education Initiative at the American Indian College Fund announces a partnership with the Yale Child Study Center at Yale University of New Haven, Connecticut, for an early childhood education institute at the end of this month to receive training in working with children and families with special needs.
As part of the institute, all four program participant schools will send an early childhood teacher, a parent of an early childhood student in a partner learning center, and the project director at the tribal college to participate. Participants will work with Yale’s Child Study Center faculty to identify three areas that are barriers to receiving a quality education and create a program to address these areas of need.
According to Tarajean Yazzie Mintz, program officer for the Wakanyeja “Sacred Little Ones” early childhood education initiative, the team-oriented institute encourages participants to bring their own questions for an interactive conversation with officials at Yale University to discuss the expertise in the community and what they believe will be successful, as well as to think of ways people engage in fostering child development from a cultural perspective. Yazzie Mintz says Yale University program officials have some experience working with tribal college students, and are seeking to build their knowledge about the Native schools and their communities.
This partnership was one of two developed for specifically for the Wakanyeja ECE Initiative. Wakanyeja grantee teams also participated in a in a five-day Brazelton Tribal Touchpoints® Institute in April in Boston, Massachusetts, which provided tools and methods for training teams in implementing Touchpoints modules in early childhood teacher education and professional development in Native communities using culturally specific contexts to engage communities in strength-based approaches to child development.