MADISON —The Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has awarded $290,000 to tribal early childhood education and tribal Head Start programs to support American Indian language revitalization.
The Young Learners Tribal Language Revitalization grants were funded by Wisconsin’s Preschool Development Grant – Birth to 5 (PDG B-5) award. Grant recipients were required to submit an application and workplan which will guide their work to improve three key areas: the transition from early care to elementary school, academic outcomes in early grades, and reducing opportunity gaps.
Throughout Wisconsin and the United States, American Indian nations and tribal communities are seeing a decrease in numbers of first language and native speakers. Traditionally, oral storytelling has been a primary method of teaching and learning language and culture. The strategies and activities put forward by these programs support the linguistic and cultural needs of our students.
“The PDG provides Wisconsin an opportunity to improve our early childhood state system by providing access to high-quality, affordable, local options for all families” said DCF Secretary Emilie Amundson. “These grants are an example of the creative, local, and culturally responsive ways our early care and education offerings need to be designed.”
Grant funding is being be used to support startup and collaboration costs. These efforts include instructional materials, curriculum development, educator training, and professional development for early care and education providers. The grants strongly align to the goals of the state’s Birth to 5 Statewide Strategic Plan, developed as part of the PDG. Specifically, the Young Learners Tribal Language Revitalization grants are an example of how stronger federal-state-tribal partnerships can be leveraged to equitably serve the child care and early education needs of families.
“Developing strong language and literacy skills in our young learners is so important,” State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor said. “The opportunity to incorporate the cultural and linguistic values of our students, families, communities, and nations is fundamental to a meaningful learning foundation strengthening the literacy skills of our next generation.”
To learn more about the Young Learners Tribal Language Revitalization Grants, visit the American Indian Studies Program page on the DPI’s website. For more information about DCF’s efforts to improve the state’s early childhood system and upcoming opportunities to participate, visit DCF’s PDG webpage or follow @WisDCF on Twitter and Facebook. This release is also available via Adobe pdf file and on the DCF press webpage.