The Indigenous Early Learning Collaborative (IELC) is a national Institute that serves an intellectual home for Indigenous early learning and development Communities of Practice to engage, learn, and access material and intellectual resources to inform their locally designed community-based inquiry, programs, Co-Learning (and evaluation), and strategy for sustaining high-quality early learning opportunities for Native children and families. The Indigenous Early Learning Collaborative Institute relies on Community-Based Inquiry and knowledge generation as a foundational component toward achieving racial equity in Indigenous early learning and care systems.
Mission and Approach
The IELC Institute seeks to support and inform cycles of Community-Based Inquiry across Communities of Practice to address systemic barriers that impede Native/Indigenous communities from designing high-quality, culture- and language-rich, early childhood development programming with practitioners, families, and communities.
To achieve the IELC Institute’s mission, the Institute actively engages and supports local Communities of Practice in developing Community-Based Inquiry vision, purpose, and implementation. To sustain local and national efforts, the IELC Institute invites Indigenous communities of practice to co-design increased opportunities, reaching more Indigenous communities of practice.
The IELC Institute’s focus areas of work are aligned with the principles and values of the Community-Based Inquiry approach — prioritizing amplifying Indigenous early learning and development through strengthening systems of care and learning from entrance into partnership to collective engagement to inform national and international Indigenous early childhood development.
How we want to make an impact
Our impact story begins with strategically supporting and building stronger early learning and care systems from within Communities of Practice. Locally implemented inquiries lead to stronger cycles of inquiry, practice, and policy. Sharing and amplifying local, regional, and national Community-Based Inquiries collectively demonstrate the ways in which transformative work can happen.
Visit the multiple channels through which the IELC Institute shares our collective story — live webinars, invited conference plenary sessions, reports, briefs, featured news stories, social media, photo essays, and film. Sharing powerful inquiry stories, toward stronger advocacy with children, parents, and communities can make an impact!
View our impact story:
Advancing Community-Based Inquiry and Equitable Early Learning Opportunities
for Native Children & Families
Founding Indigenous Early Learning Collaborative Partners
During the initial launch of the Indigenous Early Learning Collaborative, in 2021, four Indigenous Communities of Practice joined our national collaborative:
Wiikwedong Early Childhood Development Collaborative focuses on early childhood workforce development, implementing an Ojibwe Learning Series, expanding professional networks, and supporting home visiting in their community by operationalizing their Indigenous concept of visiting with families.
Wicoie Nandagikendan Immersion Program focuses on aspects of space – both physical for their educational environment and creating space for healing and wellness within their program families, staff, board, and community partners. Community-Based Inquiry informs the ways in which this program leverages resources, partnerships, and community toward expanding access to language immersion opportunity for teachers, children and families of the Minneapolis area.
Daybreak Star Preschool focuses on developing a land-based curriculum for early learning within urban and Indigenous contexts, which included sustaining an outdoor classroom developed under their initial cycle of Community-Based Inquiry.
Keiki Steps, part of The Institute for Native Pacific Education & Culture, focuses on developing an Indigenous Early Learning Framework for Hawaiian culture to be implemented with the families throughout their programs. Restoration of practitioner connections to land and traditional knowledge systems is a critical process for enacting Hawaiian identity and implementing an Indigenous learning framework.
In 2023, the IELC Institute expands its members to new partners.
Watch here for announcements of new partners!
The Indigenous Early Learning Collaborative (IELC) is a national Institute that serves an intellectual home for Indigenous early learning and development Communities of Practice to engage, learn, and access material and intellectual resources to inform their locally designed community-based inquiry, programs, Co-Learning (and evaluation), and strategy for sustaining high-quality early learning opportunities for Native children and families.