ERIC Number: ED343761
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: N/A
Early Childhood Education in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities.
Paul, Alice S.
The expansion of early childhood education for American Indians and Alaska Natives has reflected the trend in the larger society. While efforts are being made to improve early childhood care and education for all children, deeper issues must be considered by Native Americans. First among them is the long history of forced assimilation and attempted acculturation of Native Americans into the mainstream society. Native American children must be allowed to maintain their Native identities and retain the unique strengths embedded in their cultures. Programs for young Native children must be designed within the context of each child's culture, home language, and family. Successful programs encourage parent involvement, use parents and community members as resources, offer parents educational opportunities, and link home learning with school learning. The current definition of readiness focuses the blame for early school failure on the child. Instead, schools should support the culturally bound and individually determined readiness skills with which children come to school. Additional strategies for early childhood programs are: involving the community in curriculum development and educational policy formation; training more Native teachers and administrators through incentives and alternative certification procedures; supporting socioculturally relevant evaluation including cultural awareness courses in teacher training; hiring Native aides; increasing Head Start availability; and promoting Native language use. This paper contains 115 references. (SV)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Department of Education, Washington, DC. Indian Nations At Risk Task Force.
Authoring Institution: N/A