Northwest Indian College Early Childhood Education Initiatives are for
and by the Lummi community’s children and families

2014 DEL Tribal Early Care and Education Conference

Written by Alicia Allard, Director of Northwest Indian College’s Early Learning Center

On August 12th-14th 2014 staff and administrators from Sacred Little Ones supported program at Lummi Childcare, Lummi Head Start and the Northwest Indian College Early Learning Center attended the 2014 Tribal Early Care and Education Conference hosted by the Washington State Department of Early Learning. The conference was held at the beautiful Great Wolf Lodge on Chehalis Tribal land in Grand Mound, Washington and was attended by numerous tribal early childhood programs. We were proud to have a large group of attendees representing the Lummi Nation’s early childhood programs.

The predominant themes of this year’s conference were a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) in early childhood education; and how STEAM focused learning supports traditional knowledge and understanding of the natural world. We were honored to welcome Dr. Megan Bang, CHiXapkaid (Dr. Michael Pavel), and Mitch Factor as Keynote speakers, and Dr. Bette Hyde from the Department of Early Learning as an esteemed guest. Dr. Hyde has been an amazing advocate for Tribal early childhood programs in Washington State, and has demonstrated a strong commitment to learning from Tribal programs.

Attendees from Lummi Nation programs enjoyed breakout sessions on USDA meal planning and incorporating traditional foods; disaster preparedness and planning for emergencies on tribal lands; supporting professional development; incorporating outdoor activities into lesson planning; and engaging with families. Attendees shared their positive experiences at the conference during our group dinner on the second night. Staff shared their renewed interest in teambuilding; excitement for newly learned teaching techniques; and a greater awareness of the importance of male involvement in early childhood. We all came away with a renewed passion for our work with children and families, and each other.