ISER’s Diane Hirshberg is working with partners at Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) on ways to strengthen culturally responsive early education.

Waiting area with painted trees on a blue wall, stuffed moose, polar bear, and walrus on the floorThe Improving Childcare Outcomes Research (ICOR) project is a Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Implementation Research and Evaluation Grant initiative, funded by the Administration for Children and Families Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. ICOR aims to create and evaluate professional development that strengthens the culturally responsive practice of educators providing early childcare (0-2) and Early Head Start services to low-income Alaska Native/American Indian families in Anchorage. As part of this effort, ICOR includes the development of standards, indicators, and evidence for culturally responsive practice in an early learning environment, adapted from the Alaska Cultural Standards for Educators, which are written for K-12 educators.

“This is important research that will have broad policy applicability across Alaska and other places with significant Native American populations,” Hirshberg said.

Results of the research, including analysis of parent and child care provider survey results, an assessment tool, and professional development toolkit for early childhood educators, will be disseminated locally, regionally, and nationally.