Native Early Childhood
Claude S. Endfield, 2006
American Indian /Alaskan Native statistics:
• 557 Federally recognized tribes in 35 states
(Cole, 2002, Indian health Service)
• 1.4 million children identified as American Indian or
Alaskan Native (AI/AN)
• 840,000 reported only one racial group
• Using single race definition, AI/AN children increased by
• Using multiple race definition, AI/AN children increased by
• Only 29% of AI/AN children live on reservations or in
Alaska Native villages
• IHS Service population is increasing 1.8% each year
• Largest Tribe: Cherokee (302,569 members)
• Navajo Nation second largest (276,775 members).
• 43.1% of AI/AN children under five years of age are living
in poverty, compared to 20.1 percent of US.
(Indian Health Services)
• BIA reports that 30% of employed AI live below the poverty
• Arizona has twenty one federally recognized tribes.
(Intertribal Council of Arizona, 2006)
Indian Tribal Council
of Arizona, 2006,
American Indian and Alaska Native
• Traditionally education was conducted at home
within family units and villages and came from the
customs of the different clans.
• Children were educated for tribal life by their
elders, family members and peers.
• Story telling, working with adults, participating in
ceremonies and puberty rites were essential to
• With the introduction of European cultures AI/AN children
were introduced to cultures very different than their own.
• AI/AN cultures and languages have experienced some
revitalization, renewed acceptance, and respect so that
children are receiving culturally and developmentally
appropriate educational services from different federally,
grant, and tribally supported programs.
Programs Serving American
Indian/Alaskan Native Children
• Head Start
• Early Head Start
• Child Development and Development Fund
(Tribal Child Care)
• Child Find
• Hopi Diabetes/Tobacco Program
• Preschool program for income eligible three and four-year-
• Began in the 1960s under Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on
• Goal was to bring low income children up to the level of more
advantaged peers by the time they reached school entry.
• Approximately 900,000 children were to be enrolled in
2005/2006 school year.
• 2,729 Head Start grantees and delegate agencies
• Budget: $6.9 billion
• Little evidence that Head Start has a lasting impact on
• Head Start does not focus enough attention on remedying
academic deficits in preschool children.
• Money would be better spent on focused educational training.
American Indian/Alaska Native Head
• Provides AI/AN children and families with comprehensive
health, educational, nutrition, socialization, and other
developmental services promoting school readiness.
• FY 2005 appropriation: $456,003,000.00
• FY 2004 AI/AN Enrollment: Approximately 28,081 or 3.1 %
• 153 tribal grantees in 27 states
• Largest program serves 4,243 children
• Smallest program serves 15 children
(2001 PIR, ACF)
Locations of American Indian/
Alaska Native Head Start Programs-
Region XI (ACF)
American Indian/Alaska Native Head
Start Programs: Staff Qualifications &
• Nearly half hold Child Development Associate (CDA)
• 19% have associate's degrees
• 7% have bachelor's degrees (Exhibit 4).
• Annual salaries: about $20,000 for teachers with a CDA or an
associate's degree and about $23,500 for teachers with
• The annual staff turnover rate: about 2%
• Program directors have his/her position for an average of five
• About half of all teachers are current or former Head Start
(2001 PIR, ACF)
AI/AN Early Head Start
• Early Head Start (EHS) has a triple mission. It promotes
healthy prenatal outcomes, enhances the development of
low income infants and toddlers, and promotes healthy
• Created during 1994 reauthorization of Head Start
• 40 American Indian/Alaska Native grantees
• Enrollment 2,335
Child Care and Development Fund
• 265 tribal CCDF grantees, including Hawaiian grantee (ALU
• Approximately 500 federally recognized Indian Tribes and
Alaska Native Villages receive CCDF funding
• Largest grantee 60,547 children (Navajo Nation)
• Smallest grantee 50 children (Hoh Tribe of Washington)
• Smaller tribes may be served though tribal consortia
• Budget: approximately $96 million
(NCCIC.ACF website, 2006)
Good Start, Grow Smart
• Since 2002, President Bush’s Good Start, Grow Smart Early
Learning Initiative has been a catalyst for increased State-
Tribal coordination and collaboration around the development
and implementation of early learning guidelines,
• The establishment of statewide professional development
systems, and the coordination of various Federal and State
early care and education programs and funding streams.
• A guide was developed to increase the understanding of the
rationale and benefits of States and Tribes working together to
provide quality child care choices and services for children
and families they serve.
(US Dept. of Health & Human Services, 2005)
FACE (Family and Child Education)
• Initiated in 1990 by the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of
Indian Education Programs to weave culture and native
language throughout the program design.
• An integrated model for a tribal early childhood parental
• National Goals for American Indians and Alaska Natives and
• As of 2003, 39 sites serving children 0-8 years of age.
• A family education model serving families that is culturally
relevant to the communities it serves.
(National Centers for Family Literacy, 2003)
• Models are provided by the National Center for Family Literacy,
the Parents as Teacher National Center, and Engage Learning
• Meets the multidisciplinary adult education needs of the
• Provides a developmentally appropriate preschool, parent
education, and parent-child interactions for three to five age
• Trains teachers to implement active, integrated
curriculum in grades K-3 to facilitate transition of FACE children
(National Centers for Family Literacy, 2003)
Child Find Programs
• Child Find is a continuous process of public awareness
activities, screening, and evaluation designed to locate,
identify, and refer as early as possible all young children with
disabilities and their families who are in need of Early
Intervention Program (Part C) or Preschool Special Education
(Part B/619) services of the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA)
• Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) - The BIA has responsibilities
for implementation of Part C and Part B IDEA services
provided on certain American Indian reservations. In those
cases, Child Find for Part C and B of IDEA must be
coordinated with this program’s efforts to locate and identify
(Bourland & Harbin, 1987)
• Example: The White Mountain Apache Tribe provides services
to 150 children, ages birth to five throughout the reservation.
Two Play Groups serve 14 children each, for 2 ½ hours, four
days per week. At home therapy and intervention services are
provided for younger at risk and disabled children. The18
staff positions are funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
WIC (Women, Infant and Children)
• 33 Tribal WIC programs in 100 of the federally recognized
• WIC has helped to improve the health and nutrition of AI/AN
women, infants, and children by providing nutritious
supplemental foods and nutrition education while working
with other organizations to improve access to health care.
• Offers culturally appropriate services specific to AI/AN health
and nutrition concerns
• Provide continuity of care in geographically isolated tribal
(Henchy, Cheug, & Weill, 2000)
• WIC helps prepare children for school: children who
receive WIC benefits demonstrate superior cognitive
• Most of WIC recipients live on or near reservations in
the West (61%)and Mountain Plains (20%)
• Those on or near reservations have larger average
family size (4.4 vs. 4.0 23.8 %) versus families of six or
– Greater participation in public assistance programs
– More severe poverty
(Henchy, Cheug, & Weill, 2000)
An Example of an Innovative Tribal
Child Care Program
• Kids’ Korner Program opened May 2005
• Funded by the Hopi Tribe Diabetes/Tobacco Fund through
Inter Tribal Council of Arizona
• Provides 2 hours free child care for children birth to 7 years of
age while parent(s) exercise in gym five days per week.
• Two staff are enrolled in ECD courses with local community
college: Northland Pioneer College
• Developmentally and culturally appropriate environment and
*Accredited by North
Central Association of
Colleges and Schools
Commission on Institutions
of Higher Education
Service area: 21,158 sq.
in Navajo and Apache
The Navajo, Hopi and
White Mtn. Apache Indian
Reservations occupy more
than 40% of total land in
the college service area.
Early Childhood Development (ECD)
Program at Northland Pioneer college
• Began in 1974 in conjunction with Central AZ. College who
had field tested the Child Development Associate (CDA)
• Open entry program provides training/college courses on-site
at student’s work or volunteer site
• Offers Certificates of Applied Science and Associate of
Applied Science Degrees in following emphasis areas:
– Infant Toddler
– Family Child Care
– Early Childhood Management
– School Age
– Early Childhood Special Needs
AZ Systems Ready-Child Ready
To weave together a more integrated system of early
childhood initiatives with collaboration from community
colleges and agencies in Arizona to provide professional
development opportunities for teachers who serve children
in high-need communities.
AZ SR/CR- History
• Arizona had a patchwork of public and private, often
competing or parallel early childhood programs, services and
• The Arizona School Readiness Board was brought into being
by governor’s degree in 2002.
• The AZ SR/CR Project was born out of the collaboration
between Arizona State University (ASU) and the School
AZ SR/CR Aspects
• Recognizing the need to use strategies that impact:
• Funding for Early Childhood Teacher Education.
• Establishing core knowledge/competencies for early
• Emphasis on outreach and access to professional
development opportunities in high need areas.
– Colleges and Universities
• Institutions of Higher Education
• Community Based training agencies
Arizona System Ready Child Ready
• A US Department of Education funded collaboration between
Arizona State University, the Arizona School Readiness
Board, community colleges, and community agencies
• 300 early childhood practioners were selected to participate
• 71 of the 80 NPC participants completed their coursework
• Family child care, day care, Head Start, public school
preschool, and parent volunteers participated
• The learning community allowed participants the opportunity
to complete basic skill or college level courses in English and
mathematics as well as completing corresponding courses
that pertained to the children they worked with: Literacy and
the Young Child and Numeracy in Early Childhood.
• Summer Institutes were held for one week focusing on the
Social Emotional Development of Young Children.
• One on one mentoring was provided to each
student, on site at their work sites
• Participants completed professional portfolios
• Participants have been allowed to enroll in
additional college level coursework to complete
general education requirements leading towards
Certificates of Applied Science, Associate of
Applied Degrees and the CDA Credential.
Collaboration from Community
colleges and agencies in Arizona
Central Development Glendale
Pioneer AZSRCR Community
• Windy Sherman, Hopi from Polacca, Arizona with children in
her family child care home. Windy is the only CDA
credentialed family child care provider in Navajo County,
Examples of Professional
Development for AI/AN Programs
• Each Head Start grantee receives T/TA funds for training,
which may include pre-service, in-service, CDA, and college
• The Southwest Consortium of Indian Head Start Programs
provides a regional conference annually focusing on the
training needs of AI/AN programs.
• CCDF grantees may use 10% of funding allocation for
increasing program quality.
• TRI TAC provides semi-annual new administrator trainings
and cluster workshops annually in addition to their Annual
Tribal Child Care Conference. Funds are available for each
grantee to send one representative.
• NICCA provides training conferences, rotating locations
• Each CCDF Region also holds annual conferences.
• White Mtn. Tribal CCDF Program requires all selected
eligible parents to attend a one day workshop: Orientation to
Child Care as part of their enrollment process.
• They also provide monthly workshops for their providers on a
variety of early childhood topics.
Conditions Necessary for Change
• Change must occur in all aspects and levels of the
educational system: early childhood classrooms, school
buildings, communities, nations,and global society.
• Focus needs to be on how children develop and learn in
order to meet their needs.
– Early educators/providers must have a thorough
understanding of child development and be able to
implement that knowledge.
– Developmentally appropriate practice includes smooth
transitions from early childhood to the next level.
– Teachers must work together to insure common
curriculum and assessment practices that provide
continuity throughout the child’s academic career.
• Parents must be encouraged to take active roles in the
education of their children and in all aspects of their child’s
growth and development.
- This requires open communication, problem-solving and
collaborative decision making between and among
administrators, teachers and parents.
Child Care Information for ACF
• The Child Care Bureau has developed a booklet for Tribal-
State Coordination, highlighting GSGS as a perfect area for
• Tribes are asked to participate in State efforts to implement
the Early Learning Guidelines., Tribal representatives have
been included in efforts to develop and implement Early
• Health and Safety
– Minimum standards have been developed and published
as a guide for CCDF Tribal Lead Agencies.
• Upcoming technical trainings:
– Construction and Renovation of Child Care Facilities
– Native Leadership Forum on Cultural Curricula and
Indigenous Language Acquisition
– Child Care Bureau National Conference: Diverse
Perspectives, Common Goals
Child Care Information for ACF
• Research Projects
– Sparking Connections: State-Tribal collaboration Project.
Phase II of the Families and Work Institute’s “Sparking
Connections” project, a national research and
demonstration initiative focusing on family, friend and
neighbor care. Unique because it will serve as a model to
demonstrate collaboration between five Oklahoma tribes
and the Oklahoma Child Care Resource and Referral
– Market Rate Survey Project: a three year field initiated
research study to examine how well market rate surveys
assess the price of care in various types of communities,
what methods validate market rate survey findings and
the effects of child care subsidies on the larger child care
– The Role of Tribal Child Care Programs Serving
Children Birth –Five: A two year research scholar grant
to investigate AI/AN child care director’s perceptions of
the reservation communities efforts to promote and
preserve cultural integrity in the local transmission of
cultural values to children enrolled in child care
programs on Indian reservations.
Factors that predict quality in
different types of care
• Group size
• Education and training
• Professional commitment to career
(Kreader, Ferguson, & Lawrence, 2005)
Challenges for the future
• Sufficient funding to serve all children
• Inclusion of cultural and traditional values
• Expansion of programs
• More programs in rural areas
• Staff representative of children’s cultural backgrounds
• Implementation and continuation of native languages
• Worthy wages
• Respect for the field
National Centers for Family Literacy, 2003
Photos by Claude S. Endfield and Windy Sherman with permission
NCCIC.ACF website, 2006
Henchy, Cheung & Weill, 2000
Northland Pioneer College website
Indian Tribal Council Arizona
Bourlad & Harbin, 1987
Kreader, Ferguson, Lawrence, 2005