Huu-ay-aht First Nations operates a “Paawats” program in Anacla, with plans to expand the program to the Alberni Valley. Paawats is the word for “nest” in the Huu-ay-aht language, so the program is literally a “language nest”. The Paawats program is unique in its delivery of the Nuu-chah-nulth language to the children; it is a multi-generational approach to cultural education and language learning and is family and community based. The program engages pre-school children, as well as their parents and community Elders. Of the twice weekly, three-hour sessions, one hour is led by an Elder speaking in the Huu-ay-aht dialect of the Nuu-chah-nulth language. Parents are also involved in the program. It is based on the principle that the best way to acquire a second language is the same way that children acquire a first language: immersion in a second language rich environment rather than the traditional teaching-learning situation.
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