Indigenous Early Childhood Education

Transforming Native communities, starting with our earliest learners

Strengthening Systems of Care and Learning with Native Communities

The American Indian College Fund (College Fund), in collaboration with Tribal Colleges and Universities, engages in early childhood education (ECE) initiatives that draw upon child development knowledge from within Native communities melded with the best practices identified in the field of early childhood education.

Indigenous Early Childhood Education

Indigenous Early Childhood Education Programs

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 Early Childhood Education Blogs

Read important Program News from the team at College Fund.

SIPI Engages a Virtual Dialogue to Improve Early Childhood Teacher Education Programming

SIPI Engages a Virtual Dialogue to Improve Early Childhood Teacher Education Programming

SIPI Engages a Virtual Dialogue to Improve Indigenous Early Childhood Teacher Education Programming

The Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute utilized its Ihduwiyayapi grant to consult community and Indigenous thought leaders to improve the Indigenous Early Childhood Education program curriculum and develop a virtual dialogue series of 4 guest lectures featuring Indigenous scholars and teachers.

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Indigenous ECE Family Engagement Webinar with Janice LaFloe

Indigenous ECE Family Engagement Webinar with Janice LaFloe

The American Indian College Fund’s Strategic Planning and Building TCU ECE Family Engagement Grant provides TCUs support for family engagement and wellness in Native communities during the pandemic. This may include sending families early childhood learning kits, organizing virtual story time or language lessons, or assisting families with meals and basic needs.

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