Early Childhood Education

The Early  Childhood Education program offers services to help promote early literacy, family strengthening, school readiness, and quality education for children birth through Pre-K. There are many exciting events for children and families throughout the year! Children are required to have an Educational Release on file to participate. If you have any questions about Early Childhood Education programs and events contact Autumn Laraway, early childhood educational associate, at autumn.laraway@pokagonband-nsn.gov or (269) 462-4327.


The Early Childhood Education program offers workshops named Gwikwé'amen. The verb "gwikwé'amen" talks about us wrapping a child in a blanket as a symbol of love and devotion. This comes from our hearts and the desire to take care of each other. It is our job to look out for one another, especially our children.

Holly Fair & Art Extravaganza
Saturday, Dec. 7

Zagbëgon Field Trips + Gdenwémagnenanêk Mdagwéwin

Individuals wishing to attend Zagbëgon field trips and/or Gdenwémagnenanêk Mdagwéwin will need to complete a background check. For more information, please contact Elizabeth Rinehart at (269) 783-2469.

Pow Wow Sweat Gdenwémagnenanêk Mdagwéwin
Thursday, November 21

Tree Farm field trip
Thursday, December 12

Christmas Party Gdenwémagnenanêk Mdagwéwin
Thursday, December 19

Sledding field trip
Thursday, January 16

Winter Formal Gdenwémagnenanêk Mdagwéwin
Thursday, January 30

Chocolate Factory field trip
Thursday, February 20

Dental Gdenwémagnenanêk Mdagwéwin
Thursday, February 27

Library field trip
Thursday, March 19

Movie Night Gdenwémagnenanêk Mdagwéwin
Thursday, March 26

Children's Museum field trip
Thursday, April 16

Conscious Discipline Gdenwémagnenanêk Mdagwéwin
Thursday, April 30

Hesston Train Station field trip
Thursday, May 14

Alligator Farm field trip
Thursday, May 21

Shishibé Gdenwémagnenanêk Mdagwéwin
Thursday, May 21

Early Childhood Education Events

Spring Into Your Local Library (registration coming soon)

Baby Celebration (registration coming soon)

Honoring Our Parents Shishibé (registration coming soon)

Débénwéthêk Parent Group
In Potawatomi, Débénwéthêk means the ones who take care of others. The goal of Débénwéthêk Parent Group is to develop opportunities for Pokagon families to spend quality time with one another and create meaningful experiences together.

Débénwéthêk Parent Group is composed of parents and caregivers of children under 8 years of age and meets every third Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at Zagbëgon. Childcare is provided. For more information, please contact Margaret Long at margaret.long@pokagonband-nsn.gov or (269) 519-0997.

Neshnabé mbokén
First Wednesday of each month
4:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
Zagbëgon: An Early Learning & Development Academy

Neshnabé mbokén is a children's book club, which will have a focus on Native American books & authors. This program is open to the public and welcomes all ages to attend. For more information, please contact Erin Byrket-Burggraf at topash240512@gmail.com.

PALS (Play and Learn Social)
Join other parents and children ages 0–8 for an opportunity to engage with one another in play and learning activities every first and third Thursday of the month from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Location varies, but the group generally meets in the PHS Multi-Purpose Room. For more information, please contact Rachel Orvis at drorvis@gmail.com.

Practice the "Bozho Song" with your child(ren) at home! Just play the video below.

Bozho Song from Pokagon Band on Vimeo.

*These gatherings will be cancelled due to extreme weather in accordance with Dowagiac Schools, if they issue a delay or if they cancel school altogether.