Welcome to the home of Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation

Early Childhood Education Programs

Ben-no-tteh Wigwam

(House of the Child)
Early Education Childhood
Education Center


Mission Statement

The Prairie Band Potawatomi Early Childhood Education Center is committed to providing quality services, which assure a seamless system of care and education for children, families, staff and the community.

Philosophy

A child can best benefit from a comprehensive interdisciplinary program. The overall learning experiences of the child are considered with the entire family and community interlinked as partners in his/her progress. The child's language and culture are respected and reflected in the learning environment and interactions. Parents are recognized as the child's most important teachers and contributors to his/her growth and development.

About the Center

What began in 1982 as a grassroots effort by some Prairie Band Potawatomi tribal members has turned into one of the most successful Native American Child Care Education programs in the country. Ben-no-tteh Wigwam (House of the Child) has been recognized for its high quality programs in child care and Head Start. It was selected as one of seven Native American programs in the United States to receive the prestigious Brazelton Touchpoints grants awarded in 2002, and continues to receive a yearly training gift from Brazelton Touchpoints Center to ensure continued efforts and standard. In 2013 and 2014, managers were selected for the competitive Brazelton Touchpoints Center American Indian Early Childhood Community Leadership program. And, in 2015 the Center was honored to be directed by the National Head Start Association Administrator of the Year. 

What makes the center stand out is that it not only provides a needed service for the Potawatomi community but it does so by integrating Potawatomi culture. The teachers and staff practice the Potawatomi language daily and the Language Department visits the classrooms once a week for extra lessons, songs and stories. The Center also incorporates both Potawatomi and English signage in the classrooms. Additionally, the Center has been known to offer after-hours classes in traditional Potawatomi skills such as moccasin making. Lastly, Ben-no-tteh Wigwam gives a ribbon shirt or shawl to each child during the annual end-of-year powwow celebration. 

The center provides comprehensive services to children in the following areas: childcare for children six weeks to 12 years old; Early Head Start services for income-eligible families of expectant mothers or infants and toddlers (birth to age 3); Affordable Preschool services for children aged 3-5. Head Start services for income-eligible children 3 to 5 years old and their families; Part C disability services for children aged birth - 3, Part B disability services for children aged 3 - 5, and early intervention health screenings.

The surrounding community has also been actively involved with Ben-no-tteh Wigwam. Collaborative efforts with Royal Valley USD #337 and health providers like the Prairie Band Potawatomi Interagency Coordinating Council/Health Advisory Committee give the Center credibility and prestige and also help the local school and health organizations serve the Native American population. Kansas University also implements its Culturally Responsive EArly Literacy Instruction (CRELI) program through a partnership with Ben-no-tteh Wigwam. CRELI provides master's degree training to Native Americans, or those preparing to work in Native American communities, in the field of Speech and Language Pathology.

Through the continual utilization of Native American traditions combined with programs in education, the well-being of each child is realized. The long-term commitment that the PBPN is showing through the Early Childhood Education Center should lead to serving future generations for years to come and making for productive and healthy tribal people.

For more information, please call 785.966.2527or send inquiries to:

PBPN Early Childhood Education Center
15380 K Road
Mayetta, KS 66509



Nutrition is a key ingredient in the health of a child. To learn more about the Kansas WIC program please visit www.kansaswic.org or click here for a quick reference