An immersion school utilizes a people’s first language to teach students in all subjects. Immersion schools have developed as an alternative to the public school system in the knowledge that the students will have a far richer education when learning in their native language and through a culturally relevant curriculum.
The language immersion school process is analogous to the natural process of learning a language. As babies, we hear and see people around us speaking a language and we soon begin to understand speech. As toddlers, we are usually able to understand simple directions and show our understanding by doing simple commands. Later in our development, we begin to utter a simple word or two, and slowly we build our speech ability and are able to utter simple sentences. Normally, about the age of three, we can use simple sentences.
At our immersion school, we work to recreate this natural learning process – but rather than in a home, our students are learning their Native language in a school setting. Much like home though, our children learn in a stress-free environment and speak when they are ready.
We are realizing our vision of creating fluent Native speakers.
Montessori is a child-centered educational approach that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaboration. In Montessori classrooms children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the teacher offer age-appropriate and thoughtful activities and lessons to guide the process.
The approach has been used over 100 years in diverse cultures all around the world. Its principles fit our Okanagan Salish culture and values, including respect for the interdependencies of all on the planet, respect for the gifts and needs of the individual, and freedom of movement and work choices.
For more information on Montessori education, visit the Association Montessori International USA at amiusa.org and the American Montessori Society at amshq.org.
Our language is the voice of our ancestors. It is powerful and will heal our people and our land. Our cultural renaissance has just begun.