Traditional lifeways, languages, and cultural heritages are important components of young children's school readiness. Making It Work helps American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) early education staff meet these goals as they teach children about their traditional cultural skills, values, beliefs, and lifeways.
Adults have always taught children the skills and values that they need to succeed as adults in their culture. The Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF) calls these the "domains of early learning." When early childhood programs connect their traditional cultural skills, values, beliefs, and lifeways with the ELOF domains or state and tribal early learning guidelines, children develop math, literacy, social, emotional, self-help, and other skills.
Making It Work
Making It Work is a suite of products that helps AIAN programs:
- Implement cultural learning experiences for children ages birth to 5
- Connect traditional cultural skills, values, beliefs, and lifeways to school readiness goals
- Create cultural lessons that engage families and communities
- Document children's progress using the program's ongoing child assessment process
- Match children's interests and needs to create individualized lesson plans for each child and small groups
Steps and Introduction to Making It Work: A Guide to Implementing Cultural Learning Experiences in AIAN Settings for Children Ages Birth to 5
This guide offers a three-step process to connect tribal cultural skills, values, beliefs, and lifeways to research-based guidelines, including the ELOF and state and/or tribal early learning guidelines. It also offers instructions and tools (examples of completed forms and blank forms) programs can use to integrate cultural learning experiences into their curricular approach. The three steps are:
- Making the Connection. Guides programs as they connect traditional cultural skills, values, beliefs, and lifeways to the ELOF.
- Making It Happen. Helps programs create cultural lessons that engage families and communities. It includes information about how programs can use their own ongoing child assessment processes to document children's progress during cultural lessons.
- Making It Real. Shows programs how to identify and integrate children's interests and needs into individualized lesson plans for small groups and individual children.
Pilot Program Examples
Review examples created by the seven AIAN programs that helped develop the Making It Work frame.
Making It Work Training Guide: Engaging Your Program to Implement Cultural Learning Experiences for Children Ages Birth to 5
This training guide helps program leaders and technical assistance staff engage programs in a multi-year effort to embrace, adopt, and implement cultural learning experiences. It includes the materials (e.g., agenda, PowerPoint, training tips, templates, etc.) needed to engage programs and communities in the Making It Work process.
Sample Lifeways from the Field
See and hear tribal stories on the importance of culture and language, as well as the implementation of Making It Work. Find tips for working with children ages birth to 3.
Why It Matters: Culturally Responsive Early Learning and School Readiness
This supplement includes current research and cultural stories to support education staff in meeting children's school readiness goals as they teach their traditional cultural skills, values, beliefs, and lifeways.
- Implementing Cultural Learning Experiences in AIAN Settings: A Webinar on Making It Work
- A Report on Tribal Language Revitalization in Head Start and Early Head Start
- Head Start Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness Resource Catalogue Volume Two: Native and Heritage Language Preservation, Revitalization, and Maintenance (Second Edition)
- Office of Head Start Tribal Language Report 2012
- Standards in Action: Tribal Language Preservation and Revitalization
- Stories from Esther Martinez Initiative (EMI) Grantees
- 15-minute In-service Suites: Engaging Interactions and Environments
Topic:Culture and Language
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning
Program Type: American Indian and Alaskan Native
Program Option: Center-Based
Audience: Teachers and Caregivers
Last Updated: December 10, 2018