By Christina Rose
As the day begins at the Lakota Language Immersion School, a young boy passes an abalone bowl of sage to each child sitting on the floor in a circle. Children from kindergarten through third grade gather for the morning ceremony with prayers, songs, and a short discussion of things to know and remember.
Didier Dupont, school coordinator, described the importance of the process. He said, “We have a student whose father was shipped to Afghanistan. We remind everybody to remember her dad in their prayers. During the prayer, listen to the songs in your heart, help each other be good, listen... and the language is there.”
The children in the immersion school do everything that children do in school everywhere; they learn math, science, language arts, gym, music, art and more. The difference is that it is all done in the Lakota language. The academic standards are comparable to other schools, but the school has its own curriculum, designed by the Education Department of the Oglala Lakota College. “We are maintaining a compliance with most of the State standards, but as a private school we don't have to,” DuPont said.