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Timeline / Renewing Native Ways / 1984: Native Hawaiian language preschool acts like ‘family’

1984: Native Hawaiian language preschool acts like ‘family’

Native Hawaiians establish the first P?nana Leo (language nest) immersion preschool to help preserve their language. Immersion schools, following a practice of the Maori in New Zealand, replicate the family with grandparent-age teachers who speak with children entirely in the language during the school day. Parents, many of them learning their Native language for the first time, practice with their children at home.

I ka ‘?lelo n? ke ola, i ka ‘?lelo n? ka make is a proverb in the Hawaiian language. It says, “In language there is life, in language there is death.”

Land and Water, Native Rights

First grade students of ?nuenue Immersion School perform a hula for the elders on Grandparents Day, 2004.

Courtesy Keoni K. Inciong, State of Hawaii Department of Education