The nationwide pre-K network, Educare, has opened its first early-childhood school that will serve Native American children on an Indian reservation in northeastern Nebraska.
The facility will serve nearly 200 infants through preschool students on the Winnebago Indian Reservation, and will combine research-based early-childhood instruction with native-language lessons and activities that teach and honor tribal culture and traditions.
“Educare Winnebago is a welcome addition to our community,” says John Blackhawk, the Winnebago Tribal Council chairman, in a statement. “These teachings will not only help our children be well-versed in their heritage, it also will provide them with the educational foundation they need to do well in school and beyond.”
Some research has found that high-quality pre-K programs can boost reading and math scores while also teaching children important classroom skills like how to raise their hands and pay attention. Nationwide, nearly 60 percent of American Indian 3- and 4-year-olds do not attend preschool, compared to 54 percent of all children. American Indian students graduate high school at rates below their non-native peers, and score lower on national standardized exams.
The Educare Learning Network is a private-public partnership and has twenty schools in 13 states and Washington. The schools, which serve low-income children, offer year-round pre-K and longer days, and spend up to $20,000 per child. One study found that children who attended Educare in Chicago and Omaha performed better than other low-income students on standardized reading tests, and in some cases, outperformed other public school students
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.