Indian children educated away from the larger community show learning difficulties which get worse with time, says a team of educators from the University of Victoria.
They should be moved from schools on reserves to the public school system. Reserve schools could then be used as adult education centres, they said in a report on a four-week summer project.
Headed by Dr. Charles Galloway of the faculty of education, the group worked in co-operation with the Tsartlip Indian band on the Saanich Peninsula to run a special summer school for pre-school and older children.
Run in the Tsartlip Indian school near Brentwood, the course taught basic classroom skills to a group of 50 students.
Working with Dr. Galloway were Mrs. Norma Mickelson, assistant professor of education at Uvic, and Mrs. Daphne Birchfield of Tacoma, experienced with the U.S. Head Start program for pre-school children.
The group was also assisted by six teen-age girls of the peninsula reserves acting as aides and in liaison with the Indian community.
To train the children effectively and motivate them to succeed in the classroom, the group concluded “community involvement and parent education… appear to be essential.”
The Indian community must be involved in any program for children or parents.
The educators spent the four weeks increasing the vocabulary of children and getting them to speak in sentences rather than in single words or gestures.
They gave them practice in reasoning, interested them in books and encouraged them to realize they might be successful in school.
The educators found the six aides to be essential in working as playground supervisors, classroom aides and in liaison with the community, and praised them for their assistance.