The first Wolastoqey immersion and land-based school
Why do we need immersion?
The Wolastoqey language is the essence of the Wolastoqiyik (“the people of
the beautiful and bountiful river”), their worldview and their homeland. Wolastoqey territory extends from Western New Brunswick into Maine and Quebec.
Currently, there are no Wolastoqey immersion schools, and so the language is at risk of extinction. Almost all fluent Wolastoqey speakers are 65 years and older, so we only have a short window of time to involve our fluent speakers in the revitalization of our language.
Can immersion deprive my child from learning English?
"Parents must not believe that immersion in the language will deprive their children of opportunities to advance academically, due to a lack of English. Studies have shown that bilingualism does not hinder, but enhancers, a child’s development."
- Marianne B. Ignace PhD, Handbook for Aboriginal Language Program Planning.
Can you revitalize a language through immersion?
Early childhood land-based immersion has been proven successful in Mi`kmaq, Mohawk and Hawaiian nations and more. The process of revitalization requires resources, such as curriculum development, teacher training, land and shelter. With the help of your donation we can move forward in starting an early-years immersion school.
What is an outdoor school?
The Wolastoqiyik, just like every Indigenous nation, have been for centuries practicing what is called a land-based and experience-based learning. Today we know it as forest and nature school or an outdoor school!
Why does land-based education is important?
Mainstream education removed children from the land and therefore disconnected them from their culture and language. The idea of getting back to land-based education, however, is becoming more and more popular as is relearning the language, which is severely endangered.
Kehkimin immersion school wants to rebuild a healthy relationship between the children and mother earth through our traditional language, nature, and culture. In fact, outdoor learning focus on creativity, imagination, curiosity and on the healthy development for the children where they can move freely.
When will Kehkimin will be taking registration?
We are presently aiming to start our immersion school for fall 2022 in the Fredericton area for children 4 and 5 years old.
The primary mission of Kehkimin is to sustain and strengthen the Wolatoqey language revitalization movement through immersive language and land based education that is embedded in the life ways of Wolastoqiyik.
Kehkimin will create new generations of fluent Wolastoqey speakers that will help to re-connect to the language and life ways of the Wolastoqiyik, and will empower to carry the language and ways of life forward for future generations.