About The Program
Wakanyeja “Sacred Little Ones” was the first ECE program at the American Indian College Fund. The program worked to bring together tribal colleges, communities, educators, and families to address early learning disparities in Native communities during the years of 2011 to 2016. The initiative addressed 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
In 2011, four tribal colleges were selected through a competitive process to participate in the Wakanyeja program, and received up to $935,000 over four years to develop and strengthen early childhood education programs at tribal colleges.
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.
College of Menominee Nation
Northwest Indian College
Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute
The American Indian College Fund’s Wakanyeja Early Childhood Education Initiative project director at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, Danielle Lansing, will be presenting a research poster at the Native Children’s Research Exchange (NCRE) at CU-Denver this week.
This fall marks the final year of the initiative; reflection on the accomplishments of the four tribal college grantees spurs new hope and healing amongst the grantee institutions and their respective project partners. Engaging in collective inquiry to impact and change systems within and among tribal communities is complex work.
Hello my name is Sasha Toribio. I am from Zia Pueblo, located in Zia, New Mexico. I attend Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) and for a year and a half I have been studying within the early childhood program. During my fall trimester of 2013 I enrolled...
The Wakanyeja Early Childhood Education (ECE) Initiative celebrates another milestone; the project story has gone (or flown) international! Starting April 2 through May 2014, the Switchback Gallery in the Gippsland Centre for Art and Design, in Churchill, Australia,...