While many Northwest Indian College (NWIC) faculty members and students were off for spring break, early childhood educators from our Early Learning Center (ELC) dedicated one full day to engage in collective inquiry. Administrators and lead teachers came together for a Professional Learning Community (PLC) co-facilitated by Dr. Anna Lees, Curriculum Coach, Alicia Allard, ELC Director, and Nahrin Aziz-Parsons, Early Childhood Education faculty.
Staff members at the NWIC Early Learning Center recently attended the 33rd annual FOCUS on Children Conference at Bellingham Technical College, sponsored by The Northwest Washington Association for the Education of Young Children (NW AEYC), Bellingham Technical College, The Opportunity Council and Whatcom Educational Credit Union. The theme of this year’s conference was Nurturing Connections Through Our Senses, and a the day-long conference provided numerous workshop sessions related to this concept as well as practical tools for classroom management and leadership.
On a blustery and bitterly cold December night, the NWIC Early Learning Center cranked up the heat and welcomed families and community members to celebrate traditional plants and foods in Coast Salish culture. In spite of the winters chill, the event was an amazing success, with nine enrolled Early Learning Center (ELC) families, and eight families from the Lummi community.
During the summer of 2016 the Northwest Indian College Early Learning Center (ELC) Director made the difficult decision to remove the large natural log-lined sandbox from the main play area. This structure was built by volunteers in 2009 and reflected the tidal shores that surround the Lummi Reservation. The sandbox was filled with natural sand similar to what you might find on the local beaches, and surrounded by large smooth sections of split logs that brought to mind the weatherworn driftwood the children on the Salish Sea grow up climbing on.
On August 4th, members of the Restorative Teachings Early Childhood Education Initiative Coordinating Team visited Northwest Indian College’s Swinomish Extended Campus Site, in order to research and learn more about their widely acclaimed and highly renowned Native plants garden.
On May 20, 2016, Northwest Indian College’s (NWIC) Restorative Teachings Initiative Coordinating Team held a family engagement event for the families of children enrolled at NWIC’s Early Learning Center (ELC). The purpose of this event was to introduce families to our Restorative Teachings Early Childhood Education Initiative-, share about the positive changes that will affect the ELC and NWIC, and to get a deeper understanding of the families’ conception of child health, nutrition, and wellness. We also wanted to remind families how invaluable their input and thoughts are in regards to this grant/project.
When I was asked to participate in the Restorative Teaching Early Childhood Education Initiative Coordinating Team for Northwest Indian College (NWIC), I jumped at the opportunity. I knew this would be an incredible opportunity for me both personally and professionally. I would get to be a part of a project that would do great things for the very community I come from, while at the same time, furthering my experience in the academic world.
On May 20, 2016, Northwest Indian College’s Restorative Teachings Early Childhood Education Initiative, in partnership with the NWIC Early Learning Center, hosted a family engagement event, including a luncheon and introduction to the Restorative Teachings grant project. Most importantly, the purpose of the event was to invite parents and family members of young children at NWIC’s ELC, our formal early learning partner in the Restorative Teachings project, to engage in the Initiative’s visioning, planning, and development process with us.
Spring is in full bloom here at the Northwest Indian College Early Leaning Center, and the AICF Restorative Teachings Early Childhood Education Initiative is beginning to take shape. We are fortunate to live in a part of the country where the seasonal changes are so dramatic and each transition brings such a feeling of change to our surroundings.
Northwest Indian College has been invited to participate in a new American Indian College Fund Tribal College & University Early Childhood Education Initiative entitled, Restorative Teachings. Restorative Teachings focuses on strengthening systems of care and learning for Native children and families served by TCUs. This is a two year initiative building upon the success of the Wakanyeja (Sacred Little Ones) and K’é (Family Engagement) initiatives.
n February 6, 2016, Bellingham Technical College hosted its annual “Focus on Children” Early Childhood Education conference. This professional development event draws early childhood educators from a five-county area to think collectively and reflect collaboratively about critical issues in early childhood education.
Several students in and graduates of Northwest Indian College’s Associate of Applied Science – Transfer in Early Childhood Education degree program attended this year’s conference. We had solid representation of NWIC ECE students from Lummi, Swinomish, and Suquamish in attendance.
Furthermore, NWIC ECE program graduate, Anna Somerville, and current students, Rachel Goodman and Christine Edwards, presented at the Focus on Children conference! They facilitated a breakout session entitled, “Handling Children’s Emotional Moments.” Both Anna and Christine are fluent Spanish-speakers, and Rachel is conversational in Spanish; therefore, their workshop was designed especially for Spanish-speaking early childhood educators.
Two years ago I was a struggling single mother working twelve hour shifts at a child care as preschool teacher making $9.04 an hour. The quality of the center concerned me and so did my future there. I knew that I would never move up professionally. I wasn’t offered the necessary support or training. I didn’t make enough money to support my children nor did I have any time with them since I had to work almost sixty hours a week just to make ends meet.
Twenty six and 1/2 years! That is a long time to be devoted to one's work. Shelley started at Northwest Indian College in January, 1989 and has been there through July, 2015 without any intervening work breaks throughout that entire time.
There are many things that are remarkable about Shelley. One of them is her scurrying from one place to another on campus. Another is her constant friendly persona and yet another is her love of children and her dreams to make the world a safe and welcoming place for all children.
On Friday May 15, 2015 the Northwest Indian College Early Childhood Education Leadership Team, in partnership with the Sacred Little Ones ECE Initiative, hosted our final Professional Learning Community of the academic year, and combined the event with our “Celebrating Early Childhood Education Students” dinner. Our annual spring celebration is designed to recognize the unique efforts and contributions that students have made to the ECE program at Northwest Indian College.
Written by: Michelle Wilson
Get the kids to bed! Research says 8 to 10 hours a night! Is that why we had a meltdown at the grocery store today? Is the baby going to sleep tonight? How on earth am I going to function at work? Did I buy diapers? Are we feeding our kids enough vegetables? Did we order the middle school yearbook? Why oh why can’t I have more that 2 cups of coffee a day…is that really spit up on my shirt? HOW LONG AS THAT BEEN THERE!?
They are in the process of producing a film about racial equity in education, featuring the Sacred Little Ones project and Northwest Indian College's very own Shelley Macy, Sacred Little Ones Principal Investigator and Project Co-Director.
By Christine Edwards, Toddler Teacher
During my trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, I did a lot of things for the first time. I went on my first plane ride, rode on tramway for the first time, and attended my first conference. This experience was the best in a lifetime. I have never met so many young, powerful Native Americans. I felt very important… They way that people talked to me and looked at me… They made me feel like I was somebody. I made a lot of great friends!
Things are moving fast at the Northwest Indian College and the Lummi community. The last 3 ½ years of collaboration and planning on behalf of the Sacred Little Ones project leadership and partners has created many exciting new opportunities for families and children in the Lummi community.
Our first Family Engagement activity was an Ey’ Snat Family Fun Night in September held in conjunction with Sacred Little Ones partner site Lummi Head Start. We wanted families to get to experience a salmon barbeque with salmon cooked in the traditional way.