The College Fund recognizes that the success of one Native student impacts their whole family, extending to their community. From supporting students who will become the early childhood teachers nurturing our children, to uplifting adult learners pursuing their high school equivalency, to encouraging systemic changes that lead to more Native teachers in the classroom, we are building strong Indigenous education pathways.
Indigenous Early Childhood Education
Learn more about our TCU grant programs to support Indigenous children.
Ihduwiyayapi: Advancing Indigenous Early Childhood Education
Active Program Dates: 2021-Ongoing
The Ihduwiyayapi: Advancing Indigenous Early Childhood Education program partners with tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) to build the capacity of their early childhood education programs and improve teacher education through family and community outreach, enhanced child developmental pedagogy, pathways development, enhanced capacity, and engagement in national conversations about ECE best practices and lessons learned.
Strategic Planning and Building TCU ECE Family Engagement
Active Program Dates: 2020-2021
The Strategic Planning and Building TCU ECE Family Engagement program involved a $200,000 grant that supported 7 TCUs with family engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as supported the development of a strategic plan for the next 1, 4, and 7 years of the American Indian College Fund’s Indigenous Early Childhood Education (IECE) programming.
For the Wisdom of the Children: Strengthening the Teacher of Color Pipeline
Active Program Dates: 2018-2020
For the Wisdom of the Children: Strengthening the Teacher of Color Pipeline is the latest American Indian College Fund early childhood education (ECE) initiative thanks to a two-year, $1.5 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Restorative Teachings Early Childhood Education Initiative
Active Program Dates: 2016-2018
The College Fund in collaboration with Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), is implementing a $1.5 million dollar early childhood education (ECE) initiative that draws upon the child development knowledge from within Native communities melded with the best practices identified in the field of early childhood education.
Cultivating Lakota Early Childhood Learning Opportunities
Active Program Dates: 2015-2016
Partnering with Sitting Bull College the project seeks to develop a scope and sequence of a pre-K Lakota immersion language curriculum, improve family engagement strategies, create an early learning language immersion assessment system, and strengthen the knowledge and skill of Lakota immersion language teachers.
Ké’ Early Childhood Education Family Engagement Initiative
Active Program Dates: 2014-2015
The Ké’ Early Childhood Initiative (Ké’ ECE Initiative) supports tribal college grantees and their tribal and community partners in deepening their engagement with Native families in the education of their children, starting from birth to age 8.
Wakanyeja – Early Childhood Education Initiative
Active Program Dates: 2011-2016
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.
Indigenous Teacher Education
Learn more about our grant programs to strengthen the Native teacher pathway.
Active Program Dates: 2022-2024
The Wounspekiya Unspewicakiyapi Native Teacher Education pilot program seeks to address the teacher shortage in our Native communities through support for K-12 Native teacher recruitment, development, and retention by collaborating with tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) to increase students’ successful attainment of teacher certification and employment and to learn best practices and strategies for future programming.
Our Programs’ Blogs
Read important Program News from the team at College Fund.
Building the Capacity of Early Childhood Education through Innovative Indigenous Approaches: Integrating Indigenous Culture, Philosophy, and Pedagogy into ECE Programming
The 2022-2023 Ihduwiyayapi: Advancing Indigenous Early Childhood Education program grant from the American Indian College Fund at Little Priest Tribal College, titled Building the Capacity of Early Childhood Education through Innovative Indigenous Approaches, supported the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program at Little Priest Tribal College (LPTC) in a variety of ways to help indigenize ECE programming, curriculum, instruction, pathways, and the total educational experience of early childhood students.
Sinte Gleska University’s high school equivalency students become grounded in their cultural identities as they lead community engagement efforts through Native Arts workshops.
Jeri’s first step to achieving her dream of serving and supporting Native youth is completing her high school equivalency degree at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe University.