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

Hosting Early Childhood Educators from Southwest University in Chongqing, China

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. The group was first welcomed at the Lummi Nation Early Learning Center with an introduction from Lummi Education Director, Bernie Thomas, and Lummi Early Learning Director Bonnie Hayward. From there, they traveled to the Northwest Indian College Early Learning Center where they were welcomed by Early Learning Center Director Alicia Allard. At both centers, the group was provided with a tour of the buildings and discussion around how the teachers support child development through culturally responsive practices, inclusive of families and community. They were offered an opportunity to examine early learning curriculum and observe teachers’ interactions with young children in both indoor and outdoor learning spaces.

After visiting the Early Learning Centers, the Southwest University visitors spent the afternoon on the Northwest Indian College campus to learn about the ECE Restorative Teachings Project. Facilitated by Nahrin Aziz-Parsons (Northwest Indian College ECE Faculty) and Anna Lees (Western Washington University ECE Faculty), they examined efforts to develop a land, water, and placed based curriculum in collaboration with children’s families and community members and grounded in Lummi teachings and values. The group took time to understand the context of early childhood education in an Indigenous community and made connections to the goals of advancing equity and diversity within their teacher education program and early learning centers. They shared that they were touched and inspired by our work, our environments for young Native children, and our overall commitment to indigenous education. The day was full of collective learning and deepened understandings around global efforts to center early education in aims of community well-being.

- Article written by, Anna Lees, Ed.D.
- Photograph courtesy of Nahrin Aziz-Parsons, M.Ed.