About 180 people from tribal early learning programs around the state gathered on Friday and Saturday at the 2010 Tribal Early Care & Education Conference at Hotel Morano in Tacoma.
The event opened with a prayer and song from Connie McCloud of the Puyallup Tribe, followed by welcoming remarks from DEL Director Bette Hyde (see photo at right).
Hyde described the many state programs and initiatives that tribal representatives have provided feedback on and helped create, including the draft Early Learning Plan, the pilot Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS) and the review of the Washington State Early Learning and Development Benchmarks.
“Our state efforts are better for the conversations with the tribes,” she said.
Keynote speaker Dr. Martin Brokenleg, of Reclaiming Youth International, had the audience both laughing and in tears with stories of children’s resiliency and uniqueness. His talk focused on four key areas that can help build strength of spirit in a child: a sense of belonging, generosity, belonging and mastery.
“Your students will forget what you say to them, but they won’t forget how you make them feel,” he said. Brokenleg encouraged providers to see the future possibilities all children have within themselves.
DEL sponsors this conference to build partnerships and provide learning opportunities for those who work for or are affiliated with a tribal early learning program. In break-out sessions, participants learned about creating a baby-friendly environment, fun kids’ activities, and adding song into their programs (see photo at left of presenter Lorraine Bayes) as well as other topics.