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Sasiwaans Immersion School



Sasiwaans Graduation - Tuesday 03 June

The Sasiwaans Immersion School of the Anishinaabe Language Revitalization Department honors the 2014 Step Up Graduation class at the Saginaw Chippewa Housing Pavilion on Tuesday, June 3 (-More-)


Open Enrollment Annually

Sasiwaans

NEW: Applications will be accepted for new students for fall, from March1 to July 30 each year.

Current: Applications will be accepted for new students for fall, during June 1- July 31 each year.

For ages 18 Months to 60 months (5years old). You may obtain an enrollment form for the Sasiwaans Immersion School directly from the school, (989) 775-4470, from the ALRD Main Office, (989) 775-4026, or by downloading the application here.

Applications will not be accepted until open enrollment March 1- July 31 each year. Early application does not guarantee acceptance.

For more information contact the: ALRD office (989) 775-4026

Sasiwaans School (989) 775-4470


Information for the Parent

A strong identity builds self-esteem. The ALRD offers a place where Anishinabe is accepted as a comfortable place where our children can learn their language and cultural heritage. Please read the following excerpt from the Tribal Observer regarding the Immersion Program.

"The Early Childhood Center/Ogemaw School along with the Anishinabe Language Revitalization Department (ALRD) is offering full language immersion classrooms. This is a unique opportunity for our community to revitalize our nearly lost and beautiful language by nurturing and developing it in early learners with supportive determined parents. All classrooms will follow the same curriculum the only difference is immersion classrooms will present in Anishinabemowin and non-immersion classrooms will present in English.

The Early Childhood Center/Ogemaw School will be kicking off a new curriculum called the Creative Curriculum. It is an electronic system which will align information for teachers into age appropriate lessons, activities and assessment tools. It has many wonderful reporting capabilities so the parents will be well informed within a documented process. It is identified by the Michigan Department of Education School Readiness Program, and is used by Central Michigan University in the Child Development and Learning Laboratory."

(Excerpt taken from the Tribal Observer May 1, 2010, Volume 21, Issue 5, Page 20 by Bonnie Ekdahl, SCA Curriculum Consultant.)

Please call the Language Department at (989) 775-4026 if you have any further questions or concerns. Miigwech!


Advantages of Bilingualism

Iris Hahn-Santoro
Linguist

childhood

There are many situations in which parents have to decide whether they want to raise their children bilingual or not. Most commonly, the parents will wonder if there will be any disadvantages for their children and, if so, how serious they are and if they will affect a child's success with the (usually one) dominant surrounding language. In this article, I want not only to address these fears and why they are misplaced, but I also want to highlight the many, and often less-known, advantages of bilingualism. Since this will only be a short summary I will not go into a detailed discussion about the importance of revitalization work and the dangers of language loss.

Instead, I will give a short overview of the neurological implications of bilingualism; for this, it does not matter which language pair is used. This is so for all following statements: whether the child is growing up with English-French, English-Korean, English-Anishnabemowin, the effects on brain function and language development will always be the same.

The benefits of bilingualism have been popularized by a study done by Ellen Biyalstock, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. She examined Alzheimer's patients that all had the same degree of damage to their brain due to the illness. Those patients that spoke more than one language fluently, however, were able to fight off the symptoms for a considerable longer time than the patients that only spoke one language. The brain of someone who speaks two or more languages fluently is used to higher degree of multitasking, which makes it easier for healthy brain tissue to compensate for the damaged areas. This also means that bilingualism has a generally positive influence on dementia in old age.

Also, children that grow-up bilingual have a better metalinguistic awareness, meaning they have the ability to identify and describe characteristics and features of language better than their peers (grammar is learned more easily), are better in storytelling and show a better semantic development (they grasp the full meaning of words quicker than monolingual children). Furthermore, they are better in classification skills, can form concepts better, are more talented in analogical reasoning (analogical reasoning is the process of coming to a conclusion from one's own experience in a similar situation and forms one of the basic tools of thinking) and have better visual-spatial skills. The latter are all skills that not only put the bilingual children in a dominant position concerning language(s) but also give them a clear advantage in subjects like math, including algebra and geometry, and engineering.

Further, a child that grows up bilingual while the brain is still developing creates one language center in the brain for both languages. Later it will store any other language it will learn in this one language center without the brain having to create any additional neuron links. The brain of someone who grows up monolingual will have to create a new language center each and every time a new language is learned, making this process ever so much slower and harder than the learning of a new language is for a bilingual person. This is an advantage the child will never lose even if one day it only speaks one of the languages s/he has learned as a young child.

Even some of the disadvantages that are perceived by the parents are only minor compared to the benefits bilingualism will give to the children in the long run. Children that are raised bilingually right from birth tend to show a slight delay in when they start talking. This makes sense: after all, their brain must learn and memorize two names for everything. But this delay is only noticeable for a couple of months and given how highly individual the learning process of babies and toddlers is the bilingual child might still fall right in the middle of the developmental curve. The other difference that was found was that bilingual high school children sometimes have a smaller vocabulary in each language than their monolingual peers. Usually this happens because there is a language spoken at home (for example Spanish) and a language spoken in school (English) and the children learn the words for food in their home language but the words for math and geography in the school language. This is an issue that will remedy itself once the children get older and expand their language in different areas. It can also be counterbalanced easily by trying to use both languages in all settings of a child's daily life.

Parents do not have to be afraid that learning two languages will confuse their children. Studies have shown that even babies (before they are able to speak themselves) can differentiate between languages. Further, children are very sensitive to what language is used when and can even get upset when the mother that, for example, usually speaks German to them starts speaking English.

A good resource for further information about bilingualism and also a good place to turn to for any questions concerning bilingualism and/or language issues is the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) http://www.lsadc.org/