By Sara Montgomery, Coordinator of the Anishinaabe and American Elementary Education Program and For the Wisdom of the Children Project Director, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

In the Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe language) we say that we “giminogi’awasaanaanig nitaawigi’angwaa” (raise children in a good way as they grow).

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College (FDLTCC) is excited to be able to do just that by involving the community and families in our Early Childhood Education Program with early learners, helping us all to become a stronger, vibrant voice with Anishinaabe ways of knowing.

FDLTCC received a For the Wisdom of the Children grant from the American Indian College Fund. FDLTCC faculty, teachers, pre-service teachers, the community, and students have the opportunity to work with Anishinaabe ways of knowing in Indigenous STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum and to develop projects for young learners. This is a collaboration between FDLTCC, the Cloquet Early Learning Center “’Lil Thunder,” and Fond du Lac Ojibwe school kindergarten classrooms.

Demonstration of wild ricing with basket.

Demonstration of wild ricing with basket.

For the next two years the project will broaden the focus in Wigwametry (math from an Anishinaabe perspective) and seasonal science activities (harvesting wild rice and maple sugar) which are strong traditions in the Anishinaabe culture and Anishinaabemowin. Local experts of Anishinaabemowin and STEM will be working as part of the coordinating team with the FDLTCC faculty to develop curriculum specific to the STEM subjects for the early leaner pre-service students at FDLTCC.

Pre-service students will work with the tribal and public schools to develop the cultural units for early learner classrooms and the families served by the project. This will become part of the regular curriculum at each of the sites for our children, families, and communities throughout the area. Collaborative meetings with the local communities have already begun.

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College student graduated with associate degree in Elementary Education in Spring of 2018.

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College student graduated with associate degree in Elementary Education in Spring of 2018.

Students enrolled in the Anishinaabe, American Elementary Education, and Early Childhood Education programs at FDLTCC have been working with the local and tribal schools to enhance partnerships by incorporating learning about culturally responsive teaching with seasonal units. This allowed community members, FDLTCC faculty, and future students to present their findings at local, national, and world conferences.

This exciting collaboration and relationship building with the local/tribal families and communities working and learning together allows us to “Giminogi’awasaanaanig nitaawigi’angwaa.” (Raise children in a good way as they grow).