Making It Work! Connecting Cultural Learning Experiences in American Indian and Alaska Native Classrooms and Communities with the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework

Making It Work triple photos in black and white

 

Adults have always taught children the skills and values that they need to succeed as adults in their culture. The Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework (HSCDELF) calls these the "domains of early learning." When early childhood programs connect their traditional cultural skills, values, beliefs, and life ways with the HSCDELF domains, children develop math, literacy, social-emotional, self-help, and other skills.

Note: These resources are under review.

Making It Work! is a planning process that supports American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Head Start programs to teach their language and culture while meeting Head Start requirements. It is a tool programs can use to:

  • Connect traditional cultural skills, values, beliefs, and life ways to the HSCDELF
  • Create cultural lessons that engage families and communities
  • Include documentation of children’s progress using your program’s assessment process
  • Match children’s interests and needs to create individualized lesson plans for each child and small groups

Making It Work! is designed for teaching 3- to 5-year-olds and can also be easily adapted for children birth to 3.

Making It Work! Section 1: School Readiness

Traditional life ways, language, and cultural heritage are important components of young children’s school readiness. Making It Work! supports AIAN early childhood staff to meet school readiness goals as they teach their traditional cultural skills, values, beliefs, and life ways.

This section discusses:

  • Each HSCDELF domain
  • How each domain matters in a child’s overall development
  • How state and local school expectations align with traditional cultural skills, values, beliefs, and life ways
  • How family and community engagement supports children’s learning at home and in the classroom with strategies that help close the achievement gap

Making It Work! Section 2: Forms and Examples

Making It Work! is a three-step process using specially designed forms. Instructions, examples of completed forms, and blank forms are included in this section.

  • Making the Connection connects traditional cultural skills, values, beliefs, and life ways to the HSCDELF.
  • Making It Happen creates cultural lessons that engage families and communities. It includes documentation of children’s progress using your program’s assessment process.
  • Making It Real identifies children’s interests and needs to create individualized lesson plans for each child and small groups.

Making It Work! Section 3: Pilot Study Program Examples

This section contains examples of the Making It Work! process created by the seven AIAN programs that participated in developing Making It Work!.

Making It Work! Field Guide for Program Leaders and Early Childhood Education Specialists

This Field Guide was developed to help program leaders and early childhood education specialists engage programs in a multi-year effort to embrace, adopt, and implement Making It Work! in their community.

The Field Guide covers:

  • What Making It Work! is and why it matters
  • Connecting school readiness goals to traditional cultural skills, values, belief, and lifeways 
  • Refining cultural practices in classrooms
  • Engaging families and the community in cultural activities
  • Implementing Making It Work! as a multi-year journey

Additional Resources

Office of Head Start Tribal Language Report 2012

Topic:Culture and Language

Keywords:American IndiansAlaska NativesMulticulturalTeaching practicesEducation managers

Resource Type: Article

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