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Published Resources

FPCC Resources

Language Nest Handbook
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 incorporates the knowledge and experience of language nest program administrators and experts from around B.C. and worldwide.

Publications Page
The First Peoples' Cultural Council (FPCC) produces a number of resources for communities. Here you can find Word and PDF files of these publications.


The FPCC has created a language toolkit, which is different than the Language Nest Toolkit in that it supports language programs in general. Here you can find an excellent list of resources and readings that may be useful as background information.

First Nations Language Nests: Your Guide to Operating a Successful Immersion Program for the Very Young

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
This section covers basic information about the language nest movement, immersion programs, and language acquisition.

Language Nest Program Planning and Administration
Goals, schedules, vocabulary, and TPR

Songs, Games and Movement
Creating songs, various games that can be modified to your language, and lesson plans

Art and Expression
Materials list, lesson plans, templates, and puppets

Exploring the Natural World

Sample lesson plans with explanation of time, objectives, materials, preparation, and procedure

Food Activities
Lesson plans and snack ideas


References, bibliography, and websites

Program Planning Forms

Blank forms that help plan programs, monthly plan, daily activity plan, attendance sheet, and stick men doing actions

Articles on Indigenous Early Immersion Programs

Language Documentation, Revitalization and Reclamation: Supporting Young Learners and Their Communities
Child Language Research and Revitalization Working Group, 2017.
This article explores the impact of language documentation on language revitalization and discusses the linguistic and extra-linguistic benefits of Language revitalization, especially as they impact young children. The paper discusses existing research and practice, and recommended next steps to support Indigenous communities' actions to maintain, restore and reclaim their languages, with a focus on young children.

Language Nests as an Emergent Global Phenomenon: Diverse Approaches to Program Development and Delivery
Natalie Chambers, 2015.

This article by Natalie Chambers highlights the diverse approaches involved in the development and delivery of Language Nest programs worldwide. These approaches are shared through a literature review of Language Nests and includes a discussion of the challenges that Language Nest programs encounter.  The intention of this article is to raise awareness to the these important acts of language renewal and to emphasize the need for increased information sharing at the global level.

"They all talk Okanagan and I know what they are saying." Language Nests in the Early Years: Insights, Challenges and Promising Practices

Natalie Chambers, 2014.
This doctoral dissertation by Natalie Chambers, language nest parent and advocate, explores the development of the Okanagan Indian Band's language nest program. It includes insights and perspectives from community Elders, language nest administrators, early childhood educators and parents on the successes and challenges of the language nest model. It is a valuable resource that highlights the challenges and opportunities for language nest programs in B.C.

Language Nest Programs in BC
Onowa McIvor, 2006.
McIvor, a woman of Swampy Cree and Scottish Canadian decent, wrote this in response to a study she conducted in 2004 as part of her Master's thesis. This study examined the experiences of the Adam's Lake Band and the Lil'wat Nation in running their language nest programs.  The goal was to discover the successes these schools had achieved and the obstacles they had faced. This information was collected in the hope of passing it on to other communities who wish to create their own language nest programs. This document is particularly useful because it also answers the questions, "what does a language nest program look like?" and "what does it take to start a program?" It also contains practical tips for running language nests.

The Contribution of Indigenous Heritage Language Immersion Programs to Healthy Early Childhood Development
Onowa McIvor, 2005.
Another great resource by Onowa McIvor, this paper outlines a study she did with two B.C. First Nations communities. The study examines starting and running Indigenous language programs for children. McIvor offers recommendations for communities, specifically she addresses the topics of licensing, training, and funding. She begins the article by arguing for language learning in early childhood due to the fact that this is a time of identity formation. She goes on to discuss language loss that has occurred and its effects. Overall, this paper is extremely informative and relates directly to language nests in B.C.

Encouragement, Guidance, Insights, and Lessons Learned for Native Activists Developing Their Own Tribal Language Programs
Darrell R. Kipp, 2000.
This in-depth resource provides an amazing overview of what it takes to set up an immersion program. Darrell Kipp discusses his journey of setting up a Blackfeet immersion program and provides the reader with strong-willed advice about how to begin and run a language immersion program. He states that the main goal is to teach the children to speak the language and his motto appears to be, just do it. He provides 4 rules, information about immersion programming, and advice on how to begin to teach. The personal narrative that is weaved into Kipp's advice gives this article a unique and powerful feel. If anyone is feeling insecure in their ability to begin or run a language nest this is a must read, as Kipp is quite motivational.

Language Immersion and School Success: What Can I Expect for my Child?
Lindsay Morcom, (n.d.).
This article begins by stating that the education system is not working for Aboriginal children, as this is apparent in dropout rate statistics. However, Morcom states that success is seen once First Nations gain control of their education and can implement immersion programs. The paper is aimed at assuring parents that immersion programs are beneficial to their children in order to ease their concerns. In particular the paper uses the Mnising Anishinabek Kinoomaage Gaming (MMAK), an Anishinabemowin Immersion program for children, as an example. The article highlights the benefits children have when they receive education that is culturally relevant to themselves and promotes pride in their cultures. In particular, it begins by discussing Culture-Based education (also discussed in Teaching Tools for Language Nests). Furthermore, Morcom states that children who receive immersion schooling often show great academic success both in the language and in English. This is an amazing read for anyone who wishes to explore the success immersion has with language learning, the benefits it has on children's self-esteem and academic success, and the need for community support.

Indigenous Language Immersion Schools for Strong Indigenous Identities
Jon Reyhner, 2010.
This article argues for the need to promote immersion programs in order to support the healing required due to colonialism and forced assimilation. The article uses examples of many language programs and argues that immersion provides the opportunity to create healthy identities for children. The paper begins by covering the right of Indigenous peoples to decolonize and establish their own education. It goes on to cover the effects of forced assimilation, in particular the ways in which schools were used as a tool for assimilation which has lead many to have negative emotions towards education. The article expresses the concept of Indigenous language education as a way for Indigenous peoples to re-gain control of their education.

Native Language Immersion

Jon Reyhner, 2003
Nurturing Native Languages
This paper covers the basic information about immersion programs in general. The article introduces the immersion programs and explains the Total Physical Response (TPR) method and the modified TPR Storytelling (TPR-S) method. It continues on to describe the Maori and Hawaiian immersion programs. Finally, the article outlines the use of the natural approach and cautions against delaying the incorporation of English instruction into a child's education. 

First Nations Languages and Improving Student Outcomes

Shirley Fontaine, Assembly of First Nations, 2012.
This paper seeks to determine if language immersion or Indigenous language instruction helps language and cognitive development. The paper begins with a background about Indigenous language loss and education. The article continues on with a literature review, which summarizes findings on the topic of positive outcomes of Indigenous language education. Finally, Fonatiane discusses policy implications and recommendations that have been put forth regarding Indigenous language education.

Indigenous Immersion Education: International Developments
Stephen May, 2013.
May discusses the history of immersion research and outlines current and past contexts of Indigenous language education including policy around access to education. The article highlights theoretical frameworks that apply to Indigenous language education and ends with an in-depth discussion of Navajo, Cherokee, Hawaiian, and Māori immersion programs.  

The Development of an Indigenous Knowledge Program in a New Zealand Maori-Language Immersion School
Barbara Harrison and Rahui Papa, 2005.
This article describes a traditional knowledge program that was added to a Maori-language immersion school. Since the immersion schools were first formed, an emphasis has been placed on incorporating the Waikato-Tainui tribe's knowledge and ways of knowing into the immersion program. This paper outlines the various aspects of implementing this knowledge program and includes a history of the community and creation of the school, information about the program, and how this program lead to the inclusion of kapa haka (preforming arts), speech competitions, and sports. The paper also includes a discussion about self-determination and human rights along with a reflection. It ends with a section on theories around language maintenance, underdevelopment, and the impact of colonization.

Preschool Immersion Education for Indigenous Languages: A Survey of Resources
Bill Johnston and Kimberly A. Johnson, 2002.
ISSN: 0710-1481
This article examines Indigenous preschool immersion programs worldwide. It discusses the Dakota language preschool program, Kohanga Reo and Punana Leo, Arapaho preschool in Wyoming, and other programs throughout North America. Finally, it considers the challenges of setting up preschool immersion programs. This survey of schools was done as a way to support the development of the Pezihutazizi school. The paper is aimed at helping other communities by providing information useful for the development of a language nest.

äori Language Revitalization: A Vision for the Future
Denise McClutchie Milta, 2007.
This paper outlines the key information about the Mäori Te Kohanga Reo (language nests). It begins by providing an overview of the history and explaining the Köhanga Reo. The article explains the beliefs which guide the immersion programs. Furthermore, it also highlights the challenges and successes of one of the programs.

Maori education: Revolution and transformative action
Graham Hingangara Smith, 2000.
This paper begins by outlining the different levels of Maori education as well as its history. It continues on to discuss in further detail some major understandings that are key to the Maori education movement, naming your own world, taking action, unlearning, and developing models of resistance for wider application. Finally, the paper ends by stating Maori principles and intervention elements that were shared across Maori education initiatives.

Reports and Handbooks

Best Practices and Challanges in Mi'kmaq and Maliseet/Wolastoqi Language Immersion Programs
The Atlantic Aboriginal Economic Development Intefrated Research Program, AAEDIRP, 2011.
This report offers valuable insight into the experiences of two Mi'kmaq immersion programs for children. The report begins with a literature review and provides general information about immersion programs. It continues on to offer insightful recommendations based on findings from both the literature review and the study of the two immersion programs. These recommendations are sub categorized into: leadership, planning priorities, resource development: human and material, research, issues beyond the school, and future directions for existing programs. The study explores the impacts of the immersion programs on identity, fluency, and academic success. Furthermore, leadership, assets and challenges in the beginning of immersion programs are explored. The report finishes with Appendix A: Program Description Wolastoqi Latuwewakon Immersion.  This appendix is an amazing resource for language nests and offers many great ideas regarding day-to-day activities that can be used in nests.

Handbook for Aboriginal Language Program Planning
Marianne B. Ignace, First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), 1998.
This handbook was written to support B.C. First Nations communities in creating language programs. The handbook begins by discussing the state of languages and why it is important to preserve and revitalize them. It continues on to outline what works, how to set goals, strategies that can be used, how to plan a language program, information to make sense of provincial policies, curriculum, training and certifying teachers, language authorities and speakers or Elders, and finding resources that can be used. This is an amazing resource to use and it is highly recommended that it be viewed!

The Aboriginal Language Program Planning Workbook
Barbara Kavanagh, FNESC, 1999.
This workbook is the companion for the above mentioned handbook. This workbook is great to use to get people talking and discussing the logistics of running a language program. It also comes equipped with useful activities.

Curriculum and Resources for First Nations Language Programs in BC First Nations Schools
FNSA and FNESC, 2009.
This document is a resource directory. It is intended to outline resources that could be useful for First Nations schools. The document includes linguistics resources, language specific resources, adaptable resources, language revitalization resources, language teaching journals, further education opportunities, funding sources, and information about relevant organizations.

Teaching Indigenous Languages

Edited by Jon Reyhner, Northern Arizona University, 1997.
This is a collection of many articles written by various researchers about teaching Indigenous languages. These papers were put together and presented at the fourth annual Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Symposium "Sharing Effective Language Renewal Practices." The papers fall under the subcategories of: tribal and school roles, teaching students, teacher education, curriculum and materials development, language attitudes and promotion, and summing up teaching.

Nurturing Native Languages
Edited by Jon Yerhner, Octavia V. Trujillo, Robert Luis Carrasco, and Louise Lockard, Northern Arizona University, 2003.
Similar to the Teaching Indigenous Languages collection of articles, this is a collection of papers written on "nurturing native languages." The subcategories found in this collection of articles are: language and culture immersion, using technology, and other issues. Of particular interest are the papers, "How To Teach When the Teacher Isn't Fluent" by Leanne Hinton and "Preparing Indigenous Language Advocates, Teachers, and Researchers in Western Canada" by Heather A. Blair, Donna Paskemin, and Barbara Landeroute, among other valuable papers.

Strengthening Indigenous Languages
Alaska Native Knowledge Network, Assembly of Alaska Native Educators Anchorage, 2001.
This guidebook offers suggestions to Elders, parents, aspiring language learners, communities and organizations, educators, schools, education agencies, linguists, media producers, and general recommendations in the hopes of providing support for strengthening heritage languages. In particular the guidelines are intended to support advisory committees who offer recommendations to communities. These guidelines are very useful and can be considered by all those involved in language nests. 

Authentic First Peoples Resources: For Use in K-7 Classrooms
First Nations Education Steering Committee and First Nations Schools Association, 2012.
This guide offers a large list of authentic First Peoples novels that can be used in the classroom.

In Our Own Words: Bringing Authentic First Peoples Content to the K-3 Classroom
First Nations Education Steering Committee and First Nations Schools Association, 2012.
This resource guide for teachers aims to provide available First Peoples materials and assessment tools. This guide targets non-Indigenous teachers who wish to learn more. The lesson plans, especially those for the kindergarten children, are quite interesting. Each lesson comes with assessment suggestions.

Awakening Our Languages: ILI Handbook Series
Indigenous Language Institute, 2004
There are ten handbooks in this series and each handbook covers relevant information about running an Indigenous language program.

First and Second Language Acquisition

See the Language Acquisition page for more resources.

Other Resources of Interest

Children Exposed to Multiple Languages May Be Better Natural Communicators
Jann Ingmire, 2015.
This article summarizes a recent study on how early language exposure influences communicative development in children. The researchers found that bilingual children acquire stronger social communication skills than monolingual children. They also suggest that exposure to multilingual environments benefits the development of effective communication skills in children.

Cognitive Benefits of Learning Languages
Duke TIP, 2007.
Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) conducted an interview with three experts in the field of foreign language learning. The article describes the positive benefits of learning languages and how these benefits also apply to learning Indigenous languages. Furthermore, the article discusses the differences in learning languages as a child versus as an older learner.

"Let's begin with the youngest!" Minority language revitalization through preschool

Leena Huss, 2008.
This article discusses the revitalization of Meänkieli by the Tornedalians in Sweden. The beginning of the article covers the historical background of the language and its loss. The article states that one of the main issues the revitalization movement faced was that it had yet to effectively reach the children. This is likely due to the lack of Meänkieli education provided in schools. The article covers the difficulties associated with revitalization and provides information about a program aimed at creating bilingual preschools. An interesting read for people interested in seeing how other groups deal with many of the barriers that are apparent in a language revitalization context.

Language Nests- Nurturing First Nation Languages

Out of the Jungle, 2006.
This blog post discusses language nests and outlines various resources available on the topic of language nests.


BC First Nations Head Start
Head Start programs and language nests differ in that Head Start programs are not necessarily immersion programs. Nonetheless, many language nests begin as a Head Start, so the resources on this website may be useful. Head Start programming covers 6 areas: culture and language, education, health promotion, nutrition, and parent and family involvement, and social support.

Aboriginal Head Start Association of British Columbia
This website offers information about Head Start programs. It outlines 12 Head Start programs in B.C. and provides resources that may also be useful to language nests.

First Nations Education Steering Committee
FNESC is made up of approximately 100 First Nations community representatives. FNESC supports First Nations education throughout B.C.

Dr. Jon Reyhner
Dr. Jon Reyhner is a professor at the Northern Arizona University. He is highly involved in American Indian and Alaska Native education and his website includes many valuable resources. Some of these resources are links to pages covering topics about education and Indigenous languages as well as articles he has published and edited.

Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition
CARLA is one of the US Department of Education's language resource centers.  CARLA publishes a wealth of articles and provides a large amount of information and resources for language teachers.

Success by 6
Success by 6 is a partnership of United Ways, Credit Unions of B.C., the B.C. government through the Ministry of Children and Family Development, and Aboriginal and community leaders. Success by 6 works to support families and children throughout B.C.

The National Network for Early Language Learning
NNELL aims to support early language learning and teaching. NNELL publishes many resources for both teachers and parents.

The Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers
CASLT works to support second language teachers. CASLT offers many resources that may be useful to language teachers.

Bilingual Kids Rock is a website that offers a wide knowledge base with useful tips and strategies for raising bilingual children. A variety of articles are available with information on the benefits of bilingualism, the challenges involved, and strategies to overcoming these challenges. Overall, this website provides a strong support system for parents who wish to raise their children as bilingual speakers.

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