Preschool & Elementary Education

Early Learning Program


  • Students 3 to 5 years of age (Must be 3 years of age by September 1st)
  • Enrollment open to public (with a native preference policy)
  • Maximum Students: 12
  • Prospective students should have command of basic words and phrases such as yes or no and basic skills such as bathroom training.

Students of the NTC Early Learning Program learn preschool fundamentals and skills to prepare them for entering Kindergarten and achieving educational progress in their formative years. On top of emphasizing an early introduction to academics, Christina Pinnow introduces students to a variety of school skills including art, movement, social skills, peer skills, and culturally themed activities. The class meets in a safe, positive, and encouraging environment in the Early Learning Program Classroom located in NTC’s multipurpose Subsistence Building in Ninilchik.

Preschool education gives children a beneficial foundation for entering grade school and graduates of the Early Learning Program tend to have a stronger command of verbal communication, reading, and mathematics when they enter Kindergarten. Classes run Tuesdays and Thursdays from October to April from 10:00 to 12:00 except certain holidays and seasonal vacations. Students entering Kindergarten the following school year also have an extended class option in spring. The extra hour of class time helps them transition to a longer school day and get a head start on Kindergarten material.


Johnson O’Malley Program at Ninilchik School


  • Native students attending Ninilchik school demonstrating a need for assistance to fund participation in school activities and school-sponsored extracurricular activities.
  • Students may be in any of Ninilchik School’s grade levels up to and including 12th grade.

The Ninilchik Traditional Council serves native students of Ninilchik School through the Johnson O’Malley program fund. The fund provides students and their families assistance with paying a variety of school program costs including preschool fees, sports and extracurricular activity fees, summer camp program fees, and costs associated other school-sponsored activities such as participating in the Close Up program in Washington, DC.

This invaluable program was created from the passage of the Johnson O’Malley Act by the US Congress in 1934 to help native students across the country engage in a broad spectrum of educational opportunities throughout their childhood and youth. Students who participate in early learning programs, educational camps, and extracurricular activities tend to get higher grades and demonstrate positive life skills throughout their adult lives.


Preschool Summer Camp Days


  • Current or former Early Learning Program students and family members.

During the summer from May to August, Early Learning Program teacher Christina Pinnow hosts cultural activity summer camp days for current and former students of the preschool program and their families. The kids learn about the world around them with a variety of hands on activities and projects. Each camp day has a particular theme or main activity that is centered on tribal culture. Whether it’s fishing, canning, crafts, or learning about native plants and animals, the children build social skills and motor skills doing traditional activities in a series of safe, modified, kid-friendly tasks. They also participate in some activities with Ninilchik Elders to build intergenerational bonds while sharing tribal culture. Former students of the program and their families are also invited, making the camp days fun opportunities to reunite with friends and give former students a chance to demonstrate positive role model characteristics to current preschool students.