Day Care Workers Certified through Northwest College Program

May 15th, 1989 | By | Category: 1-1: From the Past, the Future, Tribal College News

Northwest Indian College, formally Lummi Community College, is broadening its commit­ment to all of Washington State’s 23 reservations through a grow­ing number of off-campus training programs.

Since October, 1988, for example, the college has offered a program to certify workers at Head Start and day care centers on 15 reservations throughout the state. Two Northwest faculty travel to each community to offer classes for a total of 49 students.

Graduates of the program will be certified as child care assis­tants and be better prepared to meet the needs of Indian children, according to Madeline Jefferson, the program’s coordinator.

“Native American children have a higher school failure rate, so the preschool programs are under pressure to get children ready for the first grade,” Jeffer­son says.

The difficult task, however, is to prepare children for school while still providing age-appropri­ate education. Jefferson says the certification program has helped teachers to identify this educa­tional middle ground. “You see an incredible energy shift (in the teachers) once they know what they need to work on,” she says.

Because of such regional programs, Northwest recently changed its name from Lummi Community College, the name of the institution’s home tribe.

“We needed a name to reflect the regional nature of our activi­ties,” says President Robert Lowrence.

In time, he would like to establish permanent centers at reservations throughout the state that can offer a full range of degree programs.

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