Language Nest Toolkit
The Language Nest Toolkit is a collection of resources for language nest programs in First Nations communities. The toolkit is a companion resource to the Language Nest Handbook for B.C. First Nations Communities. While the handbook provides an overview of the language nest model, along with strategies for overcoming common challenges, the Language Nest Toolkit contains a variety of practical resources to help with the day-to-day running of a language nest, as well as information and links to Indigenous language immersion programs worldwide.
This toolkit is intended as a starting point for finding resources and information; it is not a comprehensive list of every resource available. If you know of or have a language nest resource that you would like to see added to this toolkit, please contact email@example.com.
You can view and download the complete toolkit or explore the different sections and resources below.
Teaching Tools for Language Nests
This section includes a variety of activities, games, teaching tools and teaching methods to use in a language nest.
Resources for Administrators
The Resources for Administrators section includes tools such as licensing, schedule, job descriptions and other useful links and resources to utilize while pre-planning for a language nest program.
Program Planning for Language Nests
This section provides some useful tools to support the process of developing a language nest. Here you can find information on mission and vision statements and curriculum development.
A Guide to Language Policy and Planning for B.C. First Nations Communities is a general guide for language planning in B.C., but many of the strategies and tools included in the guide will be useful for planning language nest programs.
This Community Tool Box is a free, online resource for people working in communities. It was developed and is managed by the University of Kansas Center for Community Health and Development. While it is not specific to Indigenous or First Nations communities, it has some excellent information, resources and guidelines on planning and implementing community-based projects and initiatives. You may find Chapters 8 and 42 particularly useful when planning a language nest program.
Vision and Mission Statements for Language Nests
Find a great example of vision and mission statements for a language nest in the SENĆOŦEN LE,NOṈET SCUL,ÁUTW̱ (SENĆOŦEN Survival School) Parent Handbook. This handbook provides information for parents of children in the SENĆOŦEN language nest.
|We would like to add examples of vision and mission statements for language nests to help administrators, planners and community members develop their own statements. If you would like to share yours, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following websites have a variety of different curriculum resources that can be used as examples or adapted to your language nest program.
- Gift of Language and Culture: Nursery Unit Objectives
- Alaska Native Knowledge Network
- Dillingham City Schools Curriculum Guide
- Yup’ik Language and Culture Curriculum for High School, Level 1 Teacher’s Guide
- Sealaska Heritage Institute
- Aboriginal Curriculum Integration Project
- British Columbia Ministry of Education: Indigenous Education
- Alutiiq Language Program Preschool Curriculum
This section contains information on how to assess children’s language learning. It covers different assessment tools that are designed for Indigenous communities, as well as research on Indigenous learning assessment.
Language Nest Immersion Language Assessment
The Language Nest Immersion Assessment tool was adapted by FPCC from the Cherokee Preschool Immersion Language Assessment. Language nest staff can use this assessment to see how children in the language nest are progressing with their language learning, and it can also be used as an evaluation tool for the program.
NEȾOLṈEW̱’s Language Assessment Tool
This language learning assessment tool was developed from a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council–funded partnership project with the University of Victoria. This tool was developed for adults learning an Indigenous language, but it can be adapted to assess children’s language learning. The tool is available in both print and web versions. Click here to view the PDF.
The State of Aboriginal Learning in Canada: A Holistic Approach to Measuring Success
Canadian Council on Learning, 2009
The Canadian Council on Learning published this report as a way to outline the Holistic Lifelong Learning Measurement Framework. This framework was created to better highlight Indigenous learning in Canada. Three particularly relevant sections of the report include “Sources and Domains of Knowledge,” “The Lifelong Learning Journey,” and “Community Well-being Indicators.”
Native Language Assessment
Interior Salish: Enduring Languages of the Columbian Plateau, (n.d.)
This website contains many valuable resources that can be used to assess language learning. The website features a Language Assessment Handbook and checklists for speaking and listening, which are the focus of a language nest. Although the assessment may be more appropriate for older learners, it can be modified to suit the assessment of children.
Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL)
The “Digests” section of the CAL website offers access to a variety of research and short reports covering topics related to language learning, cultural orientation and linguistics.
Practical Ideas on Alternative Assessment for ESL Students
Jo-Ellen Tannenbaum, 1996
This article from the CAL Digests offers many ideas for alternative assessment methods. Although it is written for second language English speakers, its advice may be suitable for a language nest setting as well. In particular, it offers some great suggestions for non-verbal assessment strategies, in other words, how to assess learning when the child understands more than they are able to say.
The Language Acquisition section addresses the questions below and provides some additional readings.
- What is language acquisition?
- What do we know about language acquisition?
- How does bilingualism affect children?
Immersion and Early Childhood Language Programs Worldwide
This section provides links to a variety of language nests, early childhood immersion programs and other Indigenous language programs in Canada and around the world.
Te Kōhanga Reo
ʻAha Pūnana Leo
Chief Atahm School
The first language nest in B.C. began in the 1980s at what is now Chief Atahm School. The school is now a model for B.C. First Nations language immersion programming.
Salish School of Spokane
Nk̓ʷusm Salish Language Institute
This non-profit organization was founded in 2002 by four young Salish people hoping to revitalize their language.
Karonhianónhnha Tsi Ionterihwaienstáhkhwa
Kihew Waciston Cree Immersion School
Mnidoo Mnising Anishinabek Kinoomaage Gaming (MMAK)
Wicoie Nandagikendan Early Childhood Urban Immersion Program
Other Ojibwe Language Schools and Resources:
Tséhootsooí Diné Bi’ólta’ Navajo Immersion School
Ayaprun Elitnaurvik-Yup’ik Immersion School
Keres Children’s Learning Center (KCLC)
Weetumuw Katnuhtôhtâkamuq: The Weetumuw School
Thunder Valley Lakota Immersion Childcare
Find and read more about some of these programs on social media, click here to see the full list.
Resources for Parents
This section provides resources and information to support parent involvement in language nests and in their child’s language learning, and to help families learn and speak their language in the home.
Languages for Life: Nourishing Indigenous Languages in the Home
First Peoples’ Cultural Council, 2019
This practical handbook was developed to support Indigenous families who want to learn and speak their Indigenous languages together in the home. The handbook includes tips, strategies and resources for bringing Indigenous languages into the home on a daily basis. Resources include ideas for games and activities to make language learning fun, a template to create a family language plan and a worksheet to track your family language learning goals.
Kei Roto i te Whare: Māori Language in the Home
Te Puni Kökiri, 2008
This handbook is a useful guide for parents who want to speak their Indigenous language at home with their children. Learn about why it is important that Indigenous languages are spoken in the home, strategies for including more language into everyday activities and how to overcome common challenges.
This section includes an annotated bibliography of published articles and resources on language nests and other early-childhood immersion programs.
The Language Nest Handbook is an excellent resource for early childhood language immersion programs. It outlines the vision and goals of the language nest model, summarizes research on language acquisition in young children and provides practical solutions to common challenges in running a language nest program. The handbook was developed by FPCC with support from the Chief Atahm School in Adams Lake, B.C., and it incorporates knowledge and experience from language nest program administrators and experts from around B.C. and worldwide.
Chief Atahm School Curriculum Team, 2009
This guide was developed for FPCC as a way to support language nests across B.C. This detailed guide walks you through an incredible amount of information on how to plan and run language nest programs. This is a must read!
- Introduction and The Language Nest Concept
- Language Nest Program Planning and Administration
- Songs, Games and Movement
- Art and Expression
- Exploring the Natural World
- Food Activities
- Program Planning Forms
FPCC Resource Library
FPCC produces a number of resources for communities. Here you can find Word and PDF files of a variety of publications. Click here to find more resources.
Articles on Indigenous Early Immersion Programs
- Language Documentation, Revitalization and Reclamation: Supporting Young Learners and Their Communities
- Language Nests as an Emergent Global Phenomenon: Diverse Approaches to Program Development and Delivery
- ”They all talk Okanagan and I know what they are saying.” Language Nests in the Early Years: Insights, Challenges and Promising Practices
- Language Nest Programs in B.C.
- The Contribution of Indigenous Heritage Language Immersion Programs to Healthy Early Childhood Development
- Encouragement, Guidance, Insights, and Lessons Learned for Native Activists Developing Their Own Tribal Language Programs
- Is Early Immersion Effective for Aboriginal Language Acquisition? A Case Study from an Anishinaabemowin Kindergarten
- Indigenous Language Immersion Schools for Strong Indigenous Identities
- Native Language Immersion
- First Nations Languages and Improving Student Outcomes
- Indigenous Immersion Education: International Developments
- The Development of an Indigenous Knowledge Program in a New Zealand Māori-Language Immersion School
- Preschool Immersion Education for Indigenous Languages: A Survey of Resources
- Māori Language Revitalization: A Vision for the Future
- Māori Education: Revolution and Transformative Action
Reports & Handbooks
- Best Practices and Challenges in Mi’kmaq and Maliseet/Wolastoqi Language Immersion Programs
- Handbook for Aboriginal Language Program Planning in British Columbia
- The Aboriginal Language Program Planning Workbook
- Curriculum and Resources for First Nations Language Programs in B.C. First Nations Schools
- Teaching Indigenous Languages
- Nurturing Native Languages
- Strengthening Indigenous Languages
- Authentic First Peoples Resources: For Use in K–7 Classrooms
- In Our Own Words: Bringing Authentic First Peoples Content to the K–3 Classroom
- Aboriginal Head Start Association of British Columbia
- First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC)
- Dr. Jon Reyhner
- Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)
- The National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL)
- The Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers (CASLT)
- Bilingual Kids Rock
This list identifies some of the funding opportunities that are available for language nest programs in B.C. Please note that each funding organization has individual application deadlines, as many are not open year round.
First Peoples’ Cultural Council
See our Grant Funding page for information on all our funding opportunities.
British Columbia Ministry of Children and Family Development
The Ministry of Children and Family Development offers three funding programs to licensed child-care providers in B.C.
Community Foundations of Canada (CFC)
CFC was founded in 1992 to represent community foundations across Canada. Community foundations work to build community vitality by offering long-term resources, funding and leadership. CFC provides an extensive list of community foundations across Canada. Here you can find links to your community foundation and see what grants they offer.
Farm Credit Canada (FCC): AgriSpirit Fund
FCC works to create positive changes in communities across Canada. The AgriSpirit Fund was created to support rural communities by enhancing quality of life. This fund is available to First Nations in cities of less than 150,000 people. Funding is given for capital projects, such as building infrastructure, and has been used to support child-care facilities in previous years.
First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC)
FNESC works to improve education for all First Nations students in B.C. The committee was formed in 1992 and consists of approximately 100 First Nations community representatives. FNESC offers grants to First Nations communities and schools to support language and culture teachers in professional development, classroom instruction or resource development.
New Relationship Trust (NRT)
NRT works to support First Nations in B.C. through capacity building in the following areas: governance, education, language and culture, youth and Elders, and economic development. Depending on the initiative, funding is offered to individuals, communities and organizations. Each initiative has its own eligibility requirements.
Northern Health provides health support to northern communities in B.C. Grants are aimed at health promotion and disease/injury prevention. Many languages include health promotion in their programs through the inclusion of outdoor activities, physical activity and healthy meal/snack options. Northern Health has many grants that may be accessible to language nests looking to further promote health initiatives. Funds cannot be used to purchase food, but could be used in other ways. In particular, their Active Living grant aims to decrease sedentary lifestyles, which is often a goal of language nests that use activity in conjunction with language learning.