Culture and Language

Supporting Native Indian Preschoolers and Their Families

Family—School—Community Partnerships

Community partners work effectively with preschools to design after-school events that incorporate storytelling and other Native Indian customs. These family-focused events are foundational to enhancing learning and building family resources to support the achievement of Native American children. This article presents effective strategies and the benefits that result from focusing on building family, school, and community relationships.

To address the persistent achievement gap between children in low income, minority communities and children in mainstream, middle-class communities, we know that "both school experiences and home and early life experiences are important." A two-pronged approach to the problem involves creating high-quality, culturally responsive, educational programming in preschools and collaborating with community partners to design engaging after-school opportunities for families.

This article briefly reviews the status of urban indigenous families and discusses an innovative all-Native-American preschool, and an early childhood initiative created to address the achievement gap. Supporting Native Indian Preschoolers and Their Families