PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) - A Lakota language immersion childcare program on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation has received a $4,000 grant.

The Lakota Immersion Childcare is a full-immersion language initiative for infants and toddlers. It started in November with a small cohort of children under the age of 2.

The Rapid City Journal reports (http://bit.ly/WrbreU) that the Minnesota-based Honor the Earth Foundation awarded the $4,000 grant to the organization.

Peter Hill is the day care's director. He says exposing infants to the language is a critical step in building a successful K-12 school-based curriculum.

There are fewer than 6,000 Lakota speakers - less than 14 percent of the Lakota population in North and South Dakota, and the average age of a Lakota speaker is 60.

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