Funding for the Language Nest is now available through the Pathways to Language Vitality Program.
The FPCC Language Nest Program creates new language speakers through cultural immersion environments for young children and their parents. Language Nest grants allow communities to create language immersion spaces where young children can naturally learn their language as a mother tongue. Children are immersed in the language and parents are encouraged to participate while staff, volunteers and Elders carry out daily activities in the language with the children. Language Nests also create opportunities for young parents to revitalize a language by learning it themselves and incorporating it into their daily lives. FPCC offers funding and resources to support success. The grant is funded by First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation / the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
Anyone who is providing care for children from 0 to 5 years old in their First Nations language is eligible to apply! Language immersion must be offered for a minimum of 15 hours per week throughout the school year (September – March). You do not need to have an existing program such as a preschool or daycare to be eligible for a Language Nest grant.
The very first language nest program may have started with a group of Samoan and Cook Island mothers, who set up an immersion early childhood program in the 1970s. Since then, the language nest movement has spread across the world. Some early international programs that started in the 1980s include the Māori Te Kōhanga Reo program in New Zealand and the ’Aha Pūnana Leo program in Hawai’i. In fact, the term “language nest” is a direct translation of the Māori name Te Kōhanga Reo, which symbolizes the act of nurturing young children in the language like a mother bird does in her nest.
In Canada, the first language nest programs began in the Kahnawà:ke Mohawk community in the early 1980s and in Adams Lake, B.C., with a Secwepemctsin program in the late 1980s. These programs each began from a realization that the fluent speakers of the language were aging and that it was necessary to begin passing the language on to the children if the language were to survive.
Language Nest Tools and Resources
Page Image: SI,OLTENOT Bartleman, SENĆOŦEN Immersion Teacher, SENĆOŦEN LE,NOṈET SCUL,ÁUTEW̱ ȻEMLEW̱ 2018/19 LÁU,WELṈEW̱ Tribal School
Thea Harris is a Language Program’s Associate at First People’s Cultural Council taking care of the Reclaiming My Language Program and the Language Revitalization Planning Program. Thea is a member of Snuneymuxw First Nation and uses her background in Indigenous Business to support her work.