Making It Work: A Guide for Implementing Cultural Learning Experiences in American Indian and Alaska Native Early Learning Settings
Deborah Mazzeo: All right. It is 3:00 Eastern Time, and we're going to go ahead and get started. I'd like to say hello and welcome to this webinar on Making It Work: A Guide for Implementing Cultural Learning Experiences in American Indian and Alaska Native Early Learning Settings. All participants will be in listen-only mode, however, there will be multiple opportunities for engagement, and we encourage you to respond to the polls and type in the chat. Feel free also, at any time, to type in your question, and my co-presenters or I will respond. Thanks to those who have already typed in. I'll share that, last week, I was at the Native American Child and Family Conference sharing Making It Work! in Las Vegas, and it was a pleasure meeting with folks there who also felt that the information was very valuable, so I'm hoping that individuals from that conference have made it onto today's webinar. One last note before we get started -- You can download the PowerPoint, the guide and the blank forms for Making It Work! in the handout section of this platform, also called the supporting documents. My name is Deborah Mazzeo. I'm the cultural and linguistic practices coordinator at the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning, or the DTL for short. I work to ensure that the materials and resources produced by the center authentically and respectfully reflect the diversity of the families and children served by the Office of Head Start and the Office of Child Care. I'd like to invite my co-presenters to introduce themselves. Melody, will you say a few words?
Melody Redbird-Post: Good afternoon. This is Melody Redbird-Post. I am the project director of the National Center on Tribal Early Childhood Development. I am a member of the Kiowa Tribe. I am coming from Oklahoma, and I'm very excited to be a part of this presentation.
Deborah: Thank you, Melody. And Lisa?
Lisa Ojibway: [ Speaking native language ] I'm Lisa Ojibway from the Infant/Toddler Specialist Network within the Child Care State Capacity Building Center.
Deborah: Thank you, Lisa. I'd also like to add that I am so grateful to have two Region 11 early childhood specialists on our call to share their knowledge and experiences with us. Later on in the presentation, you will hear from Renetta Goeson and Aziele Jenson. Next, I'd like to introduce to you all Jennifer Amaya-Thompson from the Administration for Children and Families who would like to say a few words as we begin.
Jennifer Amaya-Thompson: Thank you, Deb. Good afternoon, everyone. It is wonderful to be with all of you today. As the Content Lead for Culture and Language in the Division of Comprehensive Services and Training and Technical Assistance in the office of Early Childhood Development at ACF, I have the honor to work with highly committed colleagues from multiple federal program offices and divisions to ensure that culturally and linguistic responsive practices are integrated to all the projects, activities and TA materials and resources. I wanted to thank the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning, the Tribal National Center, the State Capacity Building, the Home Visiting Program, the EACLMP Tribal Subcommittee members and many other partners who worked very hard in putting together today's webinar to introduce you and, for many, to reintroduce you to the revised and the new Making It Work! The purpose of the Making It Work! continues to connect tribal culture, skills, values, beliefs and, lastly, to research-based guidelines including the state and tribal Early Learning Guidelines and the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework. As some of you may remember, in 2011, Making It Work! was regionally developed by the Office of Head Start National Center on Cultural Linguistic Responsiveness in collaboration with representatives from the American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start Program and other extras from around the country. Last year, in 2017, the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning, in collaboration with additional contributors, conducted the update and revisions of the Making It Work! The revised Making It Work! integrates lessons learned from the past in which you have shared with us that culture and language must be at the center of every educational experience to support school readiness. We also reviewed the Head Start Program Performance Standard and the CCDF regulations and make sure that explicit connections to Making It Work! were made. In addition, we also ensure that the revised tool was expanded to be used as a resource for not only the Head Start and Early Head Start AINA programs but also the Early Child Care Tribal Program serving children ages birth to 5. Today, you will have the opportunity to hear from several partners, key highlights about the purpose, the importance of the integration of culture and language, key connections with the Head Start regulations and the CCDF regulations, the Making It Work! GSF Programs and program experiences with Making It Work! and also future opportunities to continue to provide you with the TA support to support your work. Before I end my remarks, I also want to thank all of you who are participating in today's webinar for your ongoing efforts, your daily commitment and your passion to provide high-quality services to American Indian, Native Alaskan and many other tribal children, families and native communities. Once again, thank you, Debbie and the whole team, for the opportunity to participate in this webinar today.
Deborah: Thank you so much, Jennifer, for those words. We hope to achieve several objectives through this webinar. First, we will use Making It Work! to explain the benefits of integrating language and culture. We hope you will understand how integrating language and culture connects with the Head Start Program Performance Standards, the Child Care Development Fund regulations and the Early Learning Outcomes Framework, or ELOF, to support school-readiness goals. We'll discuss the three-step process to Making It Work! We'll infuse traditional values and practices and early learning programming through Making It Work! Through Making It Work!, you'll also be able to conduct continuous quality improvement and cultural responsiveness through family engagements. And then, finally, we'll conclude by learning about some implementation highlights, successes, and considerations. Our agenda follows that same sequence as our objectives. We've already done introductions, so we'll proceed with the purpose and background here shortly. I mentioned there would be opportunities for engagement, and next, we have quick activities for you. I will turn it over to Lisa to lead that.
Lisa: All right. So as you can see to the right of your screen, many of the participants on today's webinar have already started to introduce themselves, so, if you're just joining, you can see that there are various tribes represented in this session today, so please make sure to say hi to each other by introducing yourself in the chat box with your name, your role or title, and what tribe or native nation you are from, and we encourage you to share, comment and converse in this chat box today throughout the presentation. So we have a word-cloud activity for you, and you'll see the screen change in a little bit. I think Renetta is going to pull the word cloud over. All right, and we just need to expand it. Perfect. All right. So you'll see, towards the bottom of the screen, there's a little bar that says, "Enter your message here," and when we look at the diverse linguistic representation as far as tribes, we just want to exemplify that. So there are many different traditional languages represented across American Indian, Alaskan Native communities, and so, in that "Enter your message here," if each person could type the name of their tribe's traditional language, you'll start to see a word cloud, and it'll grow and change as people start to enter it. So my family is Ojibwe, and the language we speak is Anishinaabemowin. And other people are starting to enter their languages. Okay. I will give you some time to keep entering. And if you have any trouble seeing the word cloud, there are four little lines above where people are entering their language, and you can lower that so that you have a better picture of all the languages represented on today's call. So as you can see, the languages that are in larger fonts are the ones that have greater representation on today's call, and there's a lot of linguistic diversity, so we just wanted to illustrate that representation, and we'll give you a few more minutes to finish entering, and then my colleague, Melody Redbird-Post, is going to tell you a little bit more about the importance of culture, language and identity development in children's sense of self. And, Melody, when you're ready, we'll transition back to the PowerPoint, and you'll be able to start the next section. Melody, are you on mute?
Melody: All right. I think I was on mute.
Lisa: All right. We may move on.
Melody: Hello, everyone. This is Melody again. So I just wanted to talk a little bit about culture, language, and identity formation. So I'm not going to read through the quotes that are on the screen, but I just wanted to talk a little bit about how research relates to all of this work. So research, over the years, has validated what tribal communities have known for a really long time, that identity matters. Knowing who we are and where we come from is so crucial to maintaining traditions and continuing our knowledge into future generation, and as these two quotes illustrate, recent early care and education research studies have reaffirmed the importance of language and culture in identity formation in young children. These studies and other studies like these show that, when young children have a strong sense of who they are, their culture and their language, they build resilience and improve their chances of success in school and later in life. And so just encourage you to explore the resources at the end of the presentation, and I'll turn it back over to Deb.
Deborah: Thanks, Melody! So I'd like everyone to take note that the image that is on this slide shows the front cover of the Making It Work! guide. Making It Work! can be found as a resource on the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center, the ECLKC for short is what we say, under the topic area of Culture and Language, so you can find it on the website as well as in the supporting documents here on this platform. The web page on ECLKC has been updated, and this newly revised version has been posted, so this revision now includes birth to 3, which we're really excited about because, before, it was just from ages 3 to 5, and it aligns with the current ELOF, the Early Learning Outcomes Framework, and it's inclusive of all early learning programs, so we're really excited about this. These four bullets here are the four key features of Making It Work! So Making It Work! is a process and a tool that promotes language development, including English, as well as the tribal language. It ensures lesson plans and teaching strategies infuse important cultural and life-way skills, and so, when I say life way,I mean the customs or the practices of your communities. The Making It Work! guide will help ensure that the tribal, state, and Early Learning Outcomes Framework standards and regulations are achieved by teaching traditional cultural skills, values, beliefs, and life ways. And then, lastly, it also complements and connects each program's research-based curriculum and ongoing assessment processes to local cultural life ways. Next, we have a poll, and I'll turn it over to Lisa again.
Lisa: Sure. So as the poll is being brought up, you'll see to the left there are two circles, and you can choose, so we're just curious who has used the Making It Work! tool before, so you can either click that, "Yes, I have used the tool in the past," or maybe, no, you've not yet used the tool. If you have used the tool, if you could please tell us more about your thoughts and experiences with the Making It Work! tool in the chat box. All right. So, Deb, it looks like we have about 93 percent of people on today's call that are new to it and have not yet used the Making It Work! tool, and then we have about 8 percent that have, which is wonderful because it's always helpful to hear about your experiences and how each tribe does it differently. So, Deb, I think it's back to you for the next slide.
Deborah: Thank you, Lisa, and I think it'll be a great introduction to those who have not yet used it, so this is wonderful. And for those who have, I please ask that you share your experiences in the chat. Thank you. All right. So, on this slide, you can see I've underlined key aspects of the Head Start Program Performance Standards where culture and language are integrated into the education services. Making It Work! is a tool that can support implementation of these standards. I'm not going to read these. You can be able to refer back to them. I'm going to go ahead and advance to the next slide, so, Melody, if you'll say a few words about the CCDF regulations?
Melody: Yes, definitely. So as you know, the CCDF, the Child Care Development Fund, was recently re-authorized with the final rule coming out in 2016, and the final rule also specifically indicated how the re-authorized act would apply to tribes, and so just wanted to highlight that the Making It Work! materials also can support tribes as you go about implementing perhaps your quality activities. So under the new final rule CCDF regulations, there are requirements around specific quality spending amounts that tribes will need to spend with their CCDF funds, and we have heard over the past year and a half that many tribes across the country are looking for ways to incorporate their tribal language and culture into their CCDF program, and so we just wanted to emphasize that, you know, if you do choose to explore Making It Work!, that tool would be a wonderful tool and a good opportunity to really be able to make those connections and really think about incorporating your language and culture using that tool in your CCDF programs as well. And, continuing on, we'll go ahead and go to the next slide. And I just wanted to highlight, for those of you that are CCDF grantees, you may already be aware that there are several places in the current CCDF tribal plan where those requirements and where language and culture can fit. And so, for instance, in the first section under leadership and coordination, of course, you know, building on partnerships between child care and Head Start and Early Head Start, as well as Tribal Home Visiting programs within your communities or within your tribe, as well as, we mentioned this on the quality improvement activities, and quality can be found in the current tribal plan in section five, and then also ensuring that all children have equal access to high-quality care, and so, thinking about ways to incorporate your language and culture, whether you had a tribally operated center under CCDF or if you have providers, if you have family home providers, relative providers or center-based providers, and perhaps they're looking for ways to continue to incorporate language and culture, I encourage you to explore Making It Work!, especially the revised version that we're talking about today, so that could really support that, as well. And we'll go ahead and move to the next slide. And so there was a recent report from the National Academy of Science and Engineering regarding supporting American Indian and Alaska Native programs specifically around language revitalization and just wanted to emphasize that, in that report, it was acknowledged that the revitalization of indigenous heritage languages is a very important goal, as I mentioned, for many American Indian and Alaska Native communities, and some school systems see this goal as being in conflict with the school's efforts to promote English language and literacy. However, the evidence indicates that participation in strong language revitalization programs can have a positive impact on student achievement in school, and, in some cases, there have been studies that have shown that students who participate in high-quality language-immersion environments, tribal-language-immersion environments, can actually outperform students who have been in English-only environments on English standardized tests, and that kind of takes us to the next slide. Again, we encourage you to explore. I'm not going to be reading all of this word for word, but just, you know, encourage you. If you're interested in exploring some more of these studies, we will have the references that we're talking about, these different reports and these different studies. You'll find those links at the end of the presentation, so, that way, if you're interested in exploring more of those. So continuing on around looking at the research around culturally responsive and culturally relevant early care and education, and so, again, there's been a consensus among recent research studies, especially over the past decade, as more and more indigenous researchers are going out and conducting studies in their own communities and really adding to that body of research around early care and education and tribal language and culture in tribal communities. And, really, these studies are showing that, when programs that children attend are high-quality, and they're culturally responsive, meaning that they're based on the children's own culture and their own tribal languages, that these children are really improving their outcomes, and they're really improving their ability to be successful in school, and, as I said before, if they're in immersion programs, for instance, they can tend to do better on these tests, these standardized tests that they have to do, for instance, in the third grade in some school districts. And so it's just, you know, very interesting to see that all of this tool kit is really based on all of this body of research that is really emphasizing the importance of language and culture in high-quality early care and education, and, with that, I'll go ahead and turn it back over to Deb.
Deborah: Thank you, Melody. All right. So thanks for providing that overview of the research, and let's get right into, what is Making It Work! then? So you see a variety of different images here. Making It Work! is a tool, as well as a process. So when AIAN programs engage in the Making It Work! process, which we'll talk about shortly, the entire program reflects on its own unique traditional cultural and language skills, values, beliefs, and life ways and engages in an in-depth effort to identify the key skills that children learn when engaged in their community's traditional activities. They align these skills with their curriculum, school-readiness goals, Early Learning Outcomes Framework or Tribal Guidelines or State Early Learning Guidelines. They engage families and tribal communities in supporting children's learning. They group children to maximize their learning. They teach children with intentionality. They assess children's progress and adjust instructional strategies as needed, and they record and document children's growth, so that essentially is what the guide will help you work through in your settings. So a little bit of history about the guide. It was originally developed by the Office of Head Start, former National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness in collaboration with AIAN Head Start Programs. It was first shared in 2011 at the National Indian Head Start Directors Association, and through continuous feedback from tribal leaders, Head Start leaders, early childhood teachers, cultural and language staff and early childhood program staff, Making It Work! evolved over time and became a tool used in many Head Start programs. For a full list of those who contributed to the original and these revisions, you'll find the acknowledgments in the front of the guide itself. So, as I had mentioned earlier, this was recently expanded to include birth to 3 and reach all early learning programs. So here you see the ELOF, the Early Learning Outcomes Framework, that has been continuously referred to during this presentation. The ELOF organizes children's learning within five central domains. These domains are outlined for children from birth to 3-year-olds, which are the infants and toddlers, and then preschool-age children. It's organized into the following elements, the central domain, subdomain, goals, developmental progression and indicators, and, on the ECLKC website, each block is a clickable link that expands, and so you can read the specific goals that are associated and so on. So in the planning process of Making It Work!, you'll be determining the cultural skills that support these early development and school-readiness goals, and then you'll plan activities that teach the cultural skills, values, beliefs by involving elders and families and the community. So this is the entire Making It Work! process at a glance. There's a one-pager that's found on page 14 of the guide that has this at a glance for you. So, in the guide, there are two specific life ways that are provided as examples. They're fishing and drumming, and the two life ways are provided for both age groups, birth to 3 and 3 to 5. Now, these are just examples, and they may or may not be applicable to your tribe, so we encourage programs to develop plans that are based on your own cultural traditions. There are pilot-study examples that are currently on the Making It Work! ECLKC Web page, and they were developed by tribes who piloted this initially, and so the examples are for storytelling, beading, drum-making, powwow, basket-making, gathering berries and making blue-corn tortillas, so there are many examples for you to be able to explore. So the three steps essentially are making a connection, making it happen and making it real, and I realize the print is very small. We're going to go into each of these steps in greater depth, but, before jumping into that, we'd like to pose a question. Lisa?
Lisa: Yes. Thank you, Deb. So, just to get you warmed up, we have a couple questions for you. Each tribe is completely different. The cultural aspects are unique, and there are certain things that are very important to your communities that are very different. So, with this one, we'd like you to use the chat box and brainstorm a list of important aspects of your traditional culture just to kind of get your own thinking to kind of think about how you might use this tool, and each American Indian, Alaskan Native community is going to use it differently. You're going to brainstorm a list of important aspects of your traditional culture, and while you each begin to type in the chat box and brainstorm, I'll provide you a little bit of context. With the various tribes in American Indian, Alaskan Native communities, there's geographic diversity along with different songs, different traditional stories, different traditional foods, even games like hand games, dance styles, designs and various cultural aspects and even with the languages as we saw in the word-cloud activity. So just for your experience, as we start brainstorming in the chat box, and think about some of the pieces that maybe you want to incorporate using this tool. These things enrich children's lives, and the Making It Work! tool can be used to incorporate cultural learning into the curriculum, the lesson planning and activities, so it also serves to help you draw connections, as Deb mentioned, to the Early Learning Outcomes Framework, and there are many ways that this can be done that's reflective of the many different cultures and languages, and so I'm going to hand it back over to Deb to tell you about the many paths that can be taken in the utilization of this tool.
Deborah: Thank you, Lisa. So as this proverb states, there are many paths to the top of a mountain. There are many paths in the development and implementation of Making It Work! Many people, tribes, communities have been involved in its development in the past and now, and these various paths allow programs to support and focus on their unique needs and strengths. So there is no one right way. So let's get into the first step on Making The Connection. Now just to preface this, this is going to be a very high-level explanation of the steps. We encourage you to work with your program's leadership or TNTA staff when beginning this process. So Making The Connection has three subparts, and first is the brainstorming activity. So you'll be selecting one cultural skill, value, belief, or lifeway, and I'm going to give examples through these steps by talking about the fishing lifeway. So you're going to figure out which developmental domain goal relates to the skill, and when I say developmental domain, it's that large area of child development, whether it's cognition, language and literacy, so those are the domains that I'm referring to. So, for example, if you're having children pretend to catch fish or move like fish, that's going to fall under the cognition domain and the subdomain of imitation and symbolic representation in play. In part B, you're going to review those ELOF goals for each domain, and you're going to select the goals that -- so exactly what the children will know and will be able to do after they've worked on the activity and have learned the skill of the cultural lifeway. The guide has forms that you will just check off those specific goals associated with the larger domain or area of development. And then in part C, you're going to rewrite those goals, making them specific to your cultural lifeway, and so you'll work with those goals as you develop the cultural lesson plans, and so to give you a better idea of what I mean when you're doing the brainstorming and making connections to the domain, we have these images here of the brainstorming webs, and you can see they have slight differences for the two age groups, particularly in cognition and then language and literacy. But for the most part, the rest of the developmental domains are similar across the age span. Notice that the lifeway is at the center, and all areas of development are fostered through the lifeway. Making it happen is the second step in the Making It Work! process, and within this step you'll develop the cultural lessons for teaching that domain, so you'll engage families, parents, community members, in these efforts. So, for example, you might invite elders to tell stories about fishing in your program. Then you'll choose a type of documentation to record children's progress. You might identify specific assessment indicators to document that progress. You'll connect classroom activities to activities that families can do at home. You'll invite families to be a part of the process at home and within your program, so, for example, you might have them send in pictures of you fishing with -- The families going fishing together is what I meant to say. And then you'll engage elders and community members in planning, teaching and supporting their efforts. Here we have another chat question, so, Lisa.
Lisa: All right. So when you're thinking about all these different aspects, you're going through that process of brainstorming what cultural aspects you want to infuse into the curriculum in the early childhood classroom activities and experiences, but sometimes you may need some support. So it's important to also consider who within the families and your community can you call upon to share their knowledge of language, of traditional songs, dances, beadwork, traditional story telling, and a multitude of important aspects of your traditional culture. So, for example, if language is one of the family's areas of expertise, perhaps they can help with bilingually labeling of activity centers, toys, materials in the classroom. If you have family members or community members within the program that are championship dancers at pow-wows, perhaps they would help with tiny tot dance activities to help the children think about music and movement activities. Some of the elders could volunteer either to do traditional story telling or in speaking with the children in the traditional language. Some of the fathers sing on drums or play a hand drum or a traditional flute, and they might be willing to be a guest presenter in the classroom or offer ideas for culturally responsive music activities. So you're thinking about who from the families can you call upon even for traditional food. Sometimes there are kind of science and mathematic and measurement activities that can be conducted with culinary activities, so when you're looking at the process of working through wild rice and berries and blue corn tortillas, or if you're talking about salmon versus venison or caribou versus sturgeon, that can be a science activity in itself that can relate to culture, as well. Even examples such as making dough can be culturally appropriate and developmentally appropriate so that you're thinking about activities which involve teaching science and math and measurements, you're applying and connecting the culture to the curriculum, and also the early learning actions framework thinking about all the different domains that that child is experiencing. A couple more examples with beadwork. You may have someone within the community or one of the families that's in the program that is excellent at beadwork and they could support some ideas for counting and sorting and color recognition or one-to-one correspondence. Beadwork can also relate to fine motor skills, so there may be someone in your community who's well-known for the beadwork who could be called upon for their ideas to help children get started, and adapting materials to be age-appropriate that your program can utilize the Making It Work! tool to infuse cultural aspects into the early childhood classroom or curriculum while making these connections.
Deborah: Thank you so much, Lisa, and I am just so excited to see all of the messages in the chat. I see so many wonderful ideas, the seasonal feast, the traditional foods. Let's see. What else? The food preservation, the canoeing. This is wonderful. I love all of these great ideas that are popping up here on my screen. All right. So let's just talk about the third step, Making It Real. This is the last step in the Making It Work! process, and it might take up to a year to get to this stage, but this is the stuff that gives staff members an approach for individualizing instruction. Making it real helps teachers create individualized cultural lesson plans by using children's assessment data to identify the interests and needs, matching each child's interest and needs to one of the activities from Making It Happen, which is the step just prior, highlighting common interests and needs across children to create small learning groups, listing the traditional cultural skills, values, beliefs, and lifeways that interest families, and listing the program topics that relate to the cultural lifeway. And there is a form that allows you to list your students, their interests and strengths, and the lifeway activities in the guide itself, so I encourage you to check those forms out after the webinar. Next, I'm really excited to share some of the implementation highlights from our early childhood specialist, and so I'd like to turn it over to Aziele Jenson first for the sugaring example. Aziele?
Aziele Jenson: Thank you. Thank you, Deb. I'm Aziele Jenson and I'm an early childhood specialist, as Deb said, with Region 11, and I work with -- I love my work with grantees in different areas of the country representing different cultures, different languages, different tribes, and I have several that are implementing Making It Work! and finding great success and enjoyment as they really focus on their lifeway, their culture and their curriculum. Sugar bushing is one that I have several tribes that have chosen to do a Making It Real example, as Deb was talking about. They have gone through the process of Making The Connection, Making It Happen, and Making It Real. So sugar bushing in the areas of Wisconsin, Maine, and Minnesota, a lot of the families have their own sugar bush, and the tribes have sugar bushes, as well, which are basically groves of maple trees. There is a lot of science involved in recognizing when the sugar bush is ready to release the sap and be able to make maple syrup. It has to be a certain temperature. It has to be humidity. It has to be a certain time of year, and then the families go out and they -- Children and their families go out together, and they go to the sugar bush, and they collect the maple sap, and then they process it and make maple syrup. They use the maple syrup in the classrooms with their pancakes, with their food. They make maple candy. So as I'm talking about this, I hope you're thinking about all of the ELOF domain that this activity encompasses. It's a great traditional practice that is kept alive and real for families in those classrooms and in those centers and in those tribes. It's a wonderful example. So, Renetta.
Renetta Goeson: Yes.
Deborah: I agree. A very lovely example, and, Renetta, thank you for sharing the second example on building with us.
Renetta: Okay. Yes. I'm really glad to be here. I'm also an early childhood specialist, and I work with many tribes across the nation, as well, and one of the things that I find as I work with grantees, and I have encountered them having many questions regarding the curriculum fidelity in accordance with the Head Start Performance Standards and how does Making It Work! support that? How can we include culture into our curriculum and be responsive to the strengths and needs and the interest in the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the many children and families that we serve? So I wanted to give a little bit of a background and an example of how this has happened and share a story of one of the grantees in the Southwest that I was working with. And they were thinking about how teachers could intentionally follow the curriculum's approach and the guidance, but modify that curriculum's activity and their teaching practices so that it's culturally and linguistically responsive. And so when they were implementing a unit on buildings, they thought about their approach, and they wanted to focus on the cultural significance of the buildings in their community. So they -- In planning sessions, they really were intentional, and they thought of some questions while they were thinking about this. So some of those questions included, what are the cultural significance of the buildings in their community and what materials can we set out for children to use throughout the learning environment, both indoors and outdoors because we remember that curriculum -- as we think of curriculum our environments are part of that, so being really intentional about both the indoors and the outdoors as an expansion of that curriculum is really important, so they thought about that. And they also thought about, what are some of the words in our language we will use as we think about how buildings are significant in our community? And then also, how are those buildings made? You know, these are just questions they were asking themselves, and through this process they thought about how can we include families and our community members in the development of our learning experiences and how does readiness in the Early Learning Outcomes Framework connect with all of these things that we're thinking about in this one unit on building? So in thinking about that, that intentional planning of a generic unit on buildings, it became so much more than a learning experience. It connected their world view and it honored the children in the families and the culture and the language of the community. So that's just one example. There are many more examples of that, but really thinking about it in that intentionality and how we're going to really focus on curriculum and how it all connects together. Next slide.
Deborah: Thank you, Renetta, and I'll just add that these two are wonderful examples that were based on the former version, right, because this new version with the step three is just being released, so we'll be curious to learn about how the steps are implemented in all programs, especially in those birth to 3 programs, so I'll be providing some information later to be able to collect those stories. But, Renetta, if you'll continue on here with the implementation successes?
Renetta: Sure. So, as I just described that it makes the curriculum responsive to tribes so you can really enhance who are you going to bring -- And I heard this over and over throughout the presentation. It really embraces parents and community and looks at them through their strength base, so what do they have to add to the program and really honors parents and families, as well. And it also gives that opportunity for language immersion, so what are all the possibilities there? What words can we include as we speak throughout the day, you know, as we go through and intentionally plan? And the keyword is intentionally planning. So how does that look? And it does take a little bit of work and I think Adele will talk a little bit more about that in the next slide.
Aziele: Thank you, Renetta. It does take time to intentionally plan, as you so beautifully described. What really happens in my grantees that have really embraced Making It Work! and making it part of their -- It becomes a focus of their curriculum. The culture becomes the focus of the curriculum and then they develop the curriculum basically around the culture, and it still, as Renetta said, you can still have fidelity in your curriculum doing this. So initially, it takes time to develop those first lesson plans, and then you have two or three, maybe four. The next year you can add a couple more, and pretty soon you have, really, a year of lesson plans that are culturally appropriate and really celebrate the lifeways and embrace the parents. It increases the family engagement exponentially. It connects with the community. So it does take time, so then what happens when you have staff leave? And we all know that staff turnover is a big concern, but it's worth it because they may not -- New staff come in. They may not have all the background of how this lifeway was developed into this Making It Real, making it into the lesson plan, but if they're developed well then they can easily pick them up and there's management team members that can support that. So strategies for them to follow up and check in with staff to share those stories of implementation and see what they may have learned. It's really important to have documented and make sure that those stories are transferred onto new staff.
Lisa: All right. Thank you. Yeah. All right. So in this part we just want you to quickly think about sharing your ideas and your vision, so as you have participated in this presentation and learned more about the newly-revised Making It Work! tool, which has been expanded to use with children, birth to 5 years old, and both Head Start and all childcare programs, what are your thoughts? If you could please type in the chat box how do you envision using the Making It Work! tool? I want to give you some time, just while it's fresh in your mind, to kind of start thinking how you might like to use it, and then once you've had a chance to kind of type that information in the chat box, we may want to continue. I'm going to hand it back to Deb who can tell you more about the process.
Deborah: All right. Thank you, Lisa. So I wanted to share with everyone some next steps that we're working on here at DTL along with, in collaboration with, the Tribal Early Childhood Development Center and the State Capacity Building Center. So we're currently working on the training and implementation guide, which we are calling "How To Bring Making It Work! To Your Program," and, as I mentioned previously, we're going to be collecting sample lifeways from the field, and so we really want to hear the voices from the field and be able to share these with all AIAN programs. So I've placed my e-mail address on the slide. I encourage you to please contact me with stories as you're typing in what your next steps might be with Making It Work. I hope that you'll continuously visit the web site and reach out to share stories with us. I want to remind you that there are blank forms that will help support you through that three-step process. Again, the link is being provided in the chat, so click on that link and it'll take you right there. So a few final words here before we close out. Melody? I saw a question related to health, and I think the slide will specifically address that. So, Melody, will you say a few words?
Melody: Yes, definitely. So I did notice that question as well on whether Making It Work! can be used or has been used around median health outcome, and so just wanted to emphasis that there is additional research that shows how important language and culture is as regarding young children's overall health and wellbeing, so not only does it support the academic development, it also, you know, having that culturally responsive curriculum also supports children's overall health so there are definitely connections that can be made between the different domains and the goals, like as you go through and develop your process through the Making It Work! approach, and like was explained, you can definitely make those connections to the different developmental domains, including children's health and wellbeing. And so we just encourage you, again, to explore some of the resources that are available in the references section on the slide. Back to you, Deb.
Deborah: Thank you, Melody. So I want to say a few closing words, but this is the key takeaway for today. Education that interweaves cultural topics with daily activities strengths Native American children's identity and leads to better outcomes for all students, so that is ultimately our goal, right, is high student achievement, overall health and well-being, so please keep that in the back of your minds. I hope that we can continue this conversation on MyPeers. There are two different communities, the AIAN Language and Culture community or the CLRP community, so I encourage you all to, if you're already registered on MyPeers, to become a member of those two communities. We can again share stories on those platforms, and I would like to reserve these last few minutes here for any questions that you might have, and as you're thinking about some of those questions and typing them in, if you would also complete this brief survey and provide us with your feedback. Again, I just want to say that we thank you so much for your time today. This webinar was recorded and will be posted on the ECLKC in the very near future for your reference and for sharing with other colleagues. I also want to add that while they did not present during the webinar, there are many individuals who contributed to the content of this webinar, and I would like to especially give many thanks to Chris Sharp and Ed Gonzales from the Path Program for their feedback related to tribal home visiting. I'd also like to thank Deb Shuey, who is a consultant on the Making It Work! work, Francis Moore, Carol Bellany, and Renetta, who's been working in the background to be able to ensure that the webinar runs so smoothly here. So are there any questions? And I'm asking my colleagues if they might have seen any questions in the chat as I might have been talking, and I do see that there is some typing happening in the chat. I'm going to just advance the slide, here, and just mention the reports that were depicted on the prior slides can be accessed electronically, so, again, as I mentioned, this will be available in the very near future. There has been great interest in using Making It Work! by tribal home-visiting programs, and so there is this wonderful resource by, Stark is the last name of the author, that talks about cultural enrichment, enhancement, and adaptation, which Making It Work! would serve that purpose for tribal home visiting curricula, so I encourage you, even if you just Google the title, you don't have to wait for the PowerPoint to be up on ECLKC. Just Google that title and it'll come right up on your web browser. There is a question I see. Is there a certificate of attendance? And I believe that the answer to that is yes, and I'm seeing Renetta typing so I'm hoping she's going to confirm that what I'm saying is accurate. And she has. Yes, you will be able to download it once you complete the evaluation. So I think Renetta has placed the evaluation link in the chat, so you might want to scroll back up if you don't see it, or I'm hoping that if you hover over the hyperlink where it says survey on the slide, you could probably access it that way too. All right. If there are no other questions, I, again, thank you all so very much for you attention. You have my e-mail address. Please reach out directly, and I hope everyone has a lovely afternoon.
Thank you so much.
Discover the importance of language and culture in American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) early learning programs. Making It Work is a guide for implementing cultural learning experiences. It is also used to foster children's development across the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF) domains. Hear from AIAN staff about how their traditional values and practices are featured at the center of their programs.