The Seven Oaks School Division is one step closer to creating new language immersion programs in Cree, Ojibway and Tagalog.

At a school board meeting on Monday night, trustees voted unanimously to survey parents and gauge interest in the proposed plan.

The immersion programs would first be offered to students in kindergarten through grade three.

Classes are designed for kids who do not speak the languages.

“This is an effort to regain the language, regain the understandings, regain or preserve the culture,” said Seven Oaks Superintendent Brian O’Leary.

O’Leary said many Cree and Ojibway speakers are elders, and their traditional knowledge could be lost without language programs for youth.

Seven Oaks resident Ernie Miranda thinks the programs are a good idea.

“They should teach that to the kids, the younger generation. It’s very important, the background, to learn the background,” said Miranda.

Miranda said there are many benefits to increasing bilingualism in the community.

“Sometimes they need in the hospital, interpretation for the old people,” said Miranda.

The division will begin surveying parents in the new year.

It will make a final decision on the programs at a board meeting in March.

The earliest classes could start is next fall.