TCU ECE Initiatives

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


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.

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. The initiative focuses on STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) early childhood education, partnering with Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) to indigenize their STEM ECE curriculum, increase STEM opportunities for Native children, and provide more training and education in STEM ECE to increase the number of teachers of color, particularly Native teachers. This includes parents, TCU students, experienced teachers in early learning centers, and others who serve Native children and families.

TCUs indigenize their ECE STEM programs, allowing both children and teachers to connect more meaningfully to developmentally appropriate learning. Centering indigenous knowledge is paramount to the sustainability of the systems of care needed for the holistic development and well-being of children.

By drawing on local knowledge, TCUs collaborate with their respective communities to create and implement STEM courses, activities, and training programs that are developmentally appropriate for children ages birth to eight. Each project centers around five domains — critical focus areas of work — including inter-generational family engagement, teacher quality, child development, Native language and culture, and pre-K to K-3 transition. For the Wisdom of the Children projects follow five strategic cycles of educational transformation to ensure intentional and sustainable of culturally informed practices. This framework engages Native families, Native communities, and other stakeholders throughout the transformation process through each phase: Visioning; Systems Development; Implementation; Authentic Assessment; and Reflection, Dissemination, and Reflection.

For the Wisdom of the Children ECE STEM initiative empowers Native children, families, teachers, and communities, and enriches the STEM field by enfolding Indigenous knowledge into it. It grants children the wisdom to see the connections in all things. Indigenous teachings are the root that sprouts and branches out to influence other fields of teaching. Children will take this wisdom with them as they grow, learning from those around them and becoming change agents for their communities for generations to come.

Teacher Quality Infographic

What’s New



Day 2 of the Video-Cued Ethnographic Methodology training involved practicing filming in early childhood centers. At debrief, our #TribalCollege #ECE representatives had some strong ideas for implementing their training into their Early Childhood programs.



The College Fund’s #ECE Program Initiatives team and #TribalCollege representatives are in San Antonio, Texas for the Video-Cued Ethnographic Methodology training, led by Dr. Jennifer Keys Adair with assistance from her ECE grad students. Day 1 was a success!


The #CollegeFund, in collaboration with #tribalcolleges, engage in #ECE initiatives that draw upon child development knowledge from within #Native communities melded with the best practices identified in the field of #ECE.

Next week! The #FortheWisdomoftheChildren initiative #tribalcollege grantees will be attending a Video-Cued Methodology Training. Video-Cued Ethnographic Methodology: Stay tuned!
#vialogues #ECE #NativeECE #UnivofTexas

Did you know you can look through the @CollegeFund’s past #TCU #ECE Initiatives on our Program Initiatives webpage? Click on each program to see our unique ECE initiatives from over the years, and how far we and the #TribalColleges we support have come:

“We know that we want to maintain our culture and languages to further our tribal nations, but how do we do it?” The answer still lies in the impact we make on our earliest learners, the #SacredLittleOnes.

#ECE #Wakanyeja #FortheWisdomoftheChildren

#FortheWisdomoftheChildren TCU partners indigenize their #ECESTEM programs, allowing both children and teachers to connect more meaningfully to developmentally appropriate learning.
#SKC #Native #ECE #Children #Families

In our latest #ECE blog post, #FortheWisdomoftheChildren grantee Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College explores how #STEM education is rooted in Indigenous ways of being.

#NativeECE #EducationIsTheAnswer #TribalCollege #FDLTCC

We have moved forward from our #Wakanyeja #ECE initiative, but the 5 Domains still stand in our programs. Our current ECE initiative, #FortheWisdomoftheChildren, draws on one of the domains of improving teacher quality. Learn more about the 5 Domains:

Video-Cued Ethnographic Methodology Training in 2 weeks. Getting excited. The #FortheWisdomoftheChildren initiative #tribalcollege grantees will be attending a Video-Cued Methodology Training led by Dr. Jennifer Adair. More to come!
#ECE #NativeECE

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Drawings of Whales with decorative text stating: A Tribal College and University collaborative to strengthen systems of care and learning with Native families and children.”