Connecting Educational Communities to Engage in Collective Inquiry: Creating Professional Learning Communities as Sites of Action Research

Written by, Nahrin Aziz-Parsons, M.Ed.

Over the past several years, educational reform strategies have postulated that not only do children need to be ready and able to learn in school, but equally important, schools must be ready for children (“Getting Ready: Findings from the National School Readiness Indicators Initiative,” 2005; “Kindergarten Readiness: A Child’s Checklist,” 2009). In this article, [Author] explains the ways in which Northwest Indian College, one of 37 tribal colleges and universities, used professional learning communities as a methodological process to engage educators serving Lummi children and families in collective inquiry that resulted in a smoother transition for children who moved from early learning to the K-3 educational system. Furthermore, the collective inquiry in which teachers engaged helped to connect educational systems across districts and communities, ensuring that schools are ready for children, by redefining “Safety Zones” (Lansing, 2014) and fostering place-based education, thus positively impacting the lives of young Native children.

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