The American Indian College Fund announced a Clinton Global Initiative with the Brazelton Touchpoints Center to provide early childhood training for teachers and service providers in underserved rural Native American communities.
Native families who live in rural areas often have limited access to quality early childhood education for their kids. According to a College Fund press release, that access is only made more difficult by the underfunding of education centers and programs, outdated resources, and the lack of teacher preparation for those working with kids in communities that have high poverty, substance abuse, youth suicide, and unemployment rates.
The College Fund, a nonprofit that provides scholarships and support for the nation’s 34 tribal colleges, and the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, which offers strength-based interventions and practices to equip families, caregivers, providers, and systems of care to support all domains of children’s early learning and healthy development, will partner to train 150 early childhood care providers and educators at six tribal colleges to be selected in Michigan, North Dakota, and New Mexico.
“The program will impact more than 660 Native families and their children across six tribal nations. The College Fund and the Brazelton Touchpoints Center will collect and track data to understand the impact of the training on teachers and on the engagement with Native and rural families over time,” says the release. “Both organizations will share best practices in Native American and rural communities with other educators.”
This partnership builds on the College Fund’s earlier work training 371 early childhood teachers serving Native communities. Teachers were assisted with creating curriculum that incorporated Native language and culture to better engage Native families and children.
“The most important role of tribal families is to appropriately socialize their children in cultural ways, in how to be a good relative, and with skills to lead prosperous, productive lives,” said Cheryl Crazy Bull, College Fund president and CEO, in the release. “Well-trained early childhood teachers and providers ensure that families, especially parents, have contemporary resources to strengthen traditional child-rearing practices and give children a solid foundation for better lives. The College Fund is so pleased that this commitment and our partnership with the Brazelton Touchpoints Center will allow us to significantly expand the number of trained early childhood education providers in our communities.”
“Nation building begins with babies, children, and the families and communities who raise them. American Indian/Alaska Native early childhood educators are building nations as they build babies’ brains. The Brazelton Touchpoints Center is honored to partner with the American Indian College Fund and its colleagues in tribal colleges and universities to support the development of the early childhood education workforce and a new generation of leaders who will ensure the promise of every child and family in tribal communities,” said Joshua D. Sparrow, Brazelton director, president of Brazelton Touchpoints Foundation, and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Part-time, Harvard Medical School, in the release.
Dr. Sparrow added, “We commit to honor their vibrant cultures’ sacred sciences that guide children’s learning and healthy development and to respect the purposeful behaviors that babies offer, starting at birth, to help their parents, teachers and communities learn to raise them. In this workforce development partnership, we will bring together children’s wisdom and the teachings of elders as the foundation for the next generation of American Indian/Alaska Native leaders in early education.”