FALMOUTH – The reclamation of the Wompanoag’s Wopanaak language recently received a boost from a federal grant.
The three-year, $890,000 grant from the Administration for Native Americans was awarded to Mukayuhsak Weekuw, a preschool language immersion school in North Falmouth which opened in September.
The grant, which began being dispersed in September, will provide just under $300,000 in funding to the school each year during the three-year period.
“That’s going to support language immersion education for 10-14 preschool, kindergarten and, eventually, first grade students,” said Jennifer Weston, the immersion school developer.
The funds will also be used to fund facilities costs and teacher training.
“By the end of the three-year period we’ll have three to four language teachers who are already receiving Wopanaak language training,” Weston said.
The teachers will also receive additional teacher credentials in the Montessori Method.
The school’s lessons are taught at the North Falmouth Montessori Academy.
Mukayuhsak Weekuw was one of about a dozen tribal language schools in the country to receive the grant funding through the Native Languages Esther Martinez Immersion grant.
The school currently teaches 12 children ages 2 to 6.
“We actually have mostly preschool students but we do have three kindergarten students in our school as well,” Weston said.
School officials hope to expand services and have been looking at other tribal communities who have opened private Montessori schools or private tribal language immersion schools.
“A lot of the advice that we have received from them is that we should take our time in terms of expanding,” Weston said. “So that we ensure that we have the teaching capacity and we have the time to prepare the curriculum materials adequately as well.”
Curriculum has been prepared for grades K through 3.
“But in terms of expanding beyond grade 3 we would have to do a great deal more additional curriculum design and writing,” Weston said.
By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter