Welcome to the Wicoie Nandagikendan Early Childhood Urban Immersion Project’s website. Wicoie Nandagikendan provides a 3-hour-a-day preschool language immersion experience. It builds on the integral connections between culture, literacy, and educational attainment. The project partners with existing programs to provide the classrooms with Ojibwe and Dakota speakers as well as curriculum in those languages.
Young childrens’ brains are wired to absorb language–easily and without effort. By the age of 3, most children surrounded by words produce sentences as readily as laughter or tears.
The Wicoie Nandagikendan Urban Immersion Preschools Program began in January 2006 with a grant from ANA. (For more information on the history our program, please go to the About page). Because the future of native languages is in the children, it is crucial to expose children to these languages at a young age. When the language (Dakota or Ojibwe) is not spoken in the home, due to generations of language loss, schools and day care facilities offer an alternative opportunity to expose children to their heritage languages in a supportive, non-threatening environment.
There are currently three preschools in operation through this program. Each class meets for about 3 hours each day, Monday through Friday. All of the classrooms are located in or near the Phillips neighborhood in Minneapolis and serve predominantly American Indian families.