Kids who learn Inuktitut get top grades, says researcher
Tumikuluit day care in Iqaluit teaches Inuktitut
Inuit children who attend the Tumikuluit Inuktitut day care in Iqaluit seem to get a head start in school.
An Iqaluit woman spoke with Inuktitut kindergarten and Grade 1 teachers and made the correlation.
Navarana Beveridge, a 2010 Jane Glasco Arctic Fellow who researches the Inuit language in early childhood education, presented her findings at the Circumpolar Conference on Education for Indigenous People in Iqaluit Thursday.
"They've actually gotten the top grades in every single subject, so this whole, having a foundation of the Inuit language and culture in the day care has actually helped them tremendously academically, which was an unexpected side effect, I guess, of the day care," said Beveridge.
A Sámi woman from Norway also presented her work about bringing traditional joik songs back into pre-schools.
"Joik is about communication, it's about learning, it's about describing, it's about being, it's about feelings, feelings that you might not show in other ways, but by the joik," said Laila Aleksandersen Nutti.
Nutti said joiking is an essential part of Sámi culture. For many years the practice was not allowed in schools or institutions.
Nutti said it’s still difficult for many Sámi to imagine joiking in day cares and preschools, though most seem to want to bring it back.
Also at the conference, a Saskatchewan official described how that province is developing ways of measuring aboriginal language skills among three to six-year-olds.
The conference wraps up Friday.