Wakanyeja

Early Childhood Education Initiative

About The Program

The American Indian College Fund, through the Wakanyeja “Sacred Little Ones” – Tribal College Readiness and Success by Third Grade, is working to bring together tribal colleges, communities, educators, and families to address early learning disparities in Native communities. The initiative addresses the following five domains:

  • Improve cognitive and non-cognitive skill acquisition among American Indian children
  • Improve early childhood teacher education quality in Native communities by partnering with post-secondary teacher education programs at tribal colleges
  • Bridge early childhood education Pre-K transition to K-3 schooling
  • Integrate Native language(s) and culture(s) into curriculum development and instruction for teacher preparation programming, early childhood education centers, and K-3 settings
  • Empower families and communities to act as agents of change in education for their children

Location

In 2011, four tribal colleges were selected through a competitive process to participate in the Wakanyeja ECE Initiative and received up to $935,000 over four years to develop and strengthen early childhood education programs at tribal colleges.

Download Our Free Report

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

TCU Early Childhood Education Initiatives

For the Wisdom of the Children:
Strengthening the Teacher of Color Pipeline

Restorative Teachings Early
Childhood Education Initiative

Cultivating Lakota Early
Childhood Learning Opportunities

Ké’ Early Childhood Education
Family Engagement Initiative

Wakanyeja – Early Childhood
Education Initiative

Our Programs

Early Childhood Education

Connecting TCUs and our earliest learners, we support the creation and development of early childhood education from within Native communities — strengthening Native families’ roles as advocates and partners in their children’s education, and creating collaborations between early learning centers and community partners.

Native Culture and Language Preservation

Strong Native communities are built on tribal languages, cultural knowledge, and traditional arts. With many communities facing the risk of loss of language, culture, and traditional arts, we provide grants and support for communities to restore, sustain, and pass on traditional knowledge.

Environmental Sustainability

The College Fund invests in the TCUs that are engaged in strengthening their environmental science opportunities for students. It provides support for TCUs that are working with Native communities to develop and implement research initiatives and innovative collaborations.

Indigenous Visionaries

By connecting Native women students at TCUs with faculty within their academic disciplines, and providing support for strong mentoring relationships, the College Fund is helping to develop the next generation of Native leadership in early childhood education, environmental science, and traditional Native arts.

Infrastructure

Infrastructure involves design, implementation, and sustainability of systems and structures.

Student and Institutional Success

We invest in individual students to support their pursuit of a college degree, and we invest in TCUs as the institutions that can provide an intellectual and academic home for students in Native communities.