UTTC Building Early Childhood Programs

May 15th, 2002 | By | Category: 13-4: The Many Faces of Leadership, Tribal College News
By Leah Woodke
UTTC CHILD

UTTC early childhood programs are based on the premise that every child is sacred. Photo by Lee Marmon

All of our children are sacred. They are the key to the future of our cultures and languages. United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) has become a hub of activity in early childhood education.  The Early Childhood Education Department (ECED) on the Bismarck, ND, campus is involved with three major initiatives.  The first began three years ago with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Language Affairs.  The program is called Lakota – English Acquisition Project (LEAP).

LEAP has three main components:  teacher training, parent education, and direct instruction.  Through LEAP, parents are provided access to resources that help them as first teachers of their children.  In addition, the teachers at the campus-based center receive professional development in teaching methods, language development, and techniques to teach Native language to young children.  The Early Childhood Education faculty created a developmentally appropriate, culturally relevant curriculum for use with the children and families at the ECED.

In addition, the Education Department recently awarded the college a second grant: Plains Alliance for Bilingual Education (PABE). PABE will help early childhood practitioners throughout the state access early childhood education courses from United Tribes Technical College through online technology.  PABE is also building an elementary education degree program at the college through collaborative efforts with Sinte Gleska University, a tribal university in South Dakota.  The project is a vehicle through which current North Dakota teachers can access courses for North Dakota bilingual endorsement.

Finally, the early childhood education program is going online.  The program serves both Indians and non-Indians. Most of the students taking courses online work in early childhood centers.  Students have said they appreciate the convenience of taking courses from their homes.  Prominent early childhood professionals throughout North Dakota serve on the advisory board for the department.  This helps to ensure high standards and a distinguished presence throughout the state.  Accreditation for the degree program online is expected early next year. For more information contact Leah Woodke at (701) 255-3285, x-339 or email <lwoodke@uttc.edu>.

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