Navajo-Language Immersion Program Offered to Kindergarteners in Shiprock, New Mexico

Kindergartners at Eva B. Stokely Elementary School in Shiprock, New Mexico now have the opportunity to learn in Navajo only. While the Central Consolidated School District offers Navajo-language classes to students in each of its 17 schools, this is the first time students have had the option to engage in an entire language immersion program. Parents who elected to enroll their children are excited that they will have the opportunity to learn Navajo from an early age. They are also encouraged by findings showing that students in language immersion programs catch up with, and even outperform, students in subjects across the board in English-only programs.

The school district intends on expanding the program to first grade, then second grade and so on until the Navajo-language immersion program is an option at all of the elementary grade levels. Given the resurgence of interest in language revitalization nationally, it is likely that this program will draw attention from other school districts who are thinking of stepping up with their own language programs.

To read more about the program at Eva B. Stokely Elementary School read The Daily Times article here.

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2 Responses to Navajo-Language Immersion Program Offered to Kindergarteners in Shiprock, New Mexico

  1. Deborah Hunt says:

    Do you have the reference for research on academic performance of dual language learners? “They are also encouraged by findings showing that students in language immersion programs catch up with, and even outperform, students in subjects across the board in English-only programs.”

  2. Basla says:

    Thanks for your interest in this, Deborah. You may want to check out Cloud, Genesee, & Hamayan (2000) “Dual language instruction: A handbook for enriched education.” Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle Publishers. This book references a number of studies showing the beneficial outcomes of language immersion.

    The Center For Applied Linguistics also has information on their website that you may find useful. http://www.cal.org/resources/digest/0304fortune.html

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