Northwest Indian College has just finished constructing its Children’s Interactive Sensory Garden. The garden supports children’s education in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). It has been thoughtfully designed to allow young children to observe, explore, and interact with a small ecosystem featuring plants that are indigenous to the area, hold traditional significance, and/or provide textural or botanical interest.
Native Children Living on Salish Sea Meet and Greet Sea Creatures
By Christine Edwards, Teacher, Northwest Indian College
In early November, the Salish Sea Research Center team from Northwest Indian College visited our Early Learning Center classrooms. Our students were excited to see what they had brought because the scientists arrived with a mysterious, big, red ice chest. The children called it “a treasure chest of sea creatures!”
Northwest Indian College has received another Early Childhood Education (ECE) grant entitled, For the Wisdom of the Children: Strengthening the Teacher of Color Pipeline, from the American Indian College Fund. It has three areas of focus:
A gathering for Northwest Indian College’s Restorative Teachings Early Childhood Education Initiative recently took place at our Early Learning Center. Joined by aunties, uncles, grandparents, elders, close friends, and children, we celebrated the completion of our Outdoor Learning Classroom.
Lawrence Solomon of the Blackhawk Singers made a special visit to the Northwest Indian College’s Early Learning Center to share his gifts with the children and staff. Mr. Solomon’s visit came during our celebration of traditional songs week to enhance our classroom learning and hands on experience. Children had the opportunity to listen and participate in the traditional song and dance.
On February 3rd, Bellingham Technical College hosted the 33rd annual Focus on Children conference. The conference, which draws early childhood educators from a five-county region and over five Tribal Nations, is designed to: (1) provide professional development and networking opportunities to those working with young children and families; (2) promote inclusive attitudes and practices and support awareness of and action related to diversity issues; and (3) support partnerships and collaboration among educators, families, providers, school, agencies and our communities. All Northwest Indian College (NWIC) Early Learning Center (ELC) staff, including teachers and administrators, were in attendance at this year’s conference.
By Johanna Phair
As we kick off a new academic year with Dr. Anna Lees, Alicia Allard and Nahrin Aziz-Parsons, Northwest Indian College’s Early Learning Center teaching staff created learning activities with items from our natural environment and art supplies. Teaching teams worked together and designed lesson plans that aligned with our newly developed Traditional Foods, Plants, and Medicines curriculum.
On Wednesday, August 2nd Northwest Indian College’s Early Childhood Education degree program and Restorative Teachings Initiative hosted 20 visitors from Southwest University in Chongqing, China. The group included ECE faculty and teacher candidates from Southwest University, and practicing teachers from their partnering ECE programs. Their day with Northwest Indian College focused on the land, water, and place based teaching with young children and families.
Written by, Oomagelees (Cynthia Wilson, M.Ed.) and Nahrin Aziz-Parsons, M.Ed.
The Washington State Department of Early Learning (DEL) works with Tribal Nations to help ensure all children and families have access to early learning resources and information. This year, DEL hosted a Tribal Early Learning Language Summit, in order to further reach this goal.
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.