In 2017 Welsh Government set out it's vision to increase the the number of people able to enjoy speaking and using Welsh to a million by 2050. This is certainly an ambitious challenge, but a challenge Early Years Wales believes is worthwhile and necessary if we are to secure the vitality of the language for future generations.
Welsh Government is very clear that it 'cannot insist that parents and carers use the Welsh language with their children, that children play together in Welsh or that someone uses Welsh socially' It can, however, 'work to provide the conditions to facilitate an increase in the use of Welsh'.
- In Wales, the Welsh language should be treated no less favourably than the English language
- Persons in Wales should be able to live their lives through the medium of the Welsh language if they choose to do so
Early Years Wales provides bespoke support to the early years sector in Wales to support the development and growth of the Welsh language.
On these pages you will find up to date and relevant information, a host of downloadable resources and useful links designed to support the development and implementation of the Welsh language in the early years.
Early Years Wales is funded by Welsh Government to provide high quality and relevant Welsh support to the early years workforce in Wales, ranging from training, providing guidance on embedding the language in daily practice to transition your setting to a truly bilingual or even Welsh medium setting.
No two settings are the same and neither is the support that is required. Support is provided through several methods;
- Video conferencing.
- Physical visits.
- Blogs and Vlogs.
For support with Welsh language learning through Camau please contact Siobhan Chambers.
For support with all other things Welsh, from the Active Offer to WESP (Welsh in Educations Strategic Plan) or transitioning practice from English to bilingual or even Welsh please contact Matt Anthony.
Welsh Government has passed a number of policies and strategies to increase the number of Welsh speakers and the opportunities for the language to been seen, heard and used in everyday life.
Following developments in language policy, service providers need to take reasonable steps to ensure that they have proportionate, appropriate and adequate staffing arrangements in place to provide a bilingual care service and ensure that;
- Welsh language services in social care are of the same standard and are as easily and promptly available as English medium services.
- Welsh language services in social care are as wide-ranging and thorough.
- Organisations shouldn't assume English as the default language when providing their services.
- Welsh speakers should not be required to ask for a service in Welsh.
The main language policies and strategies introduced by Welsh Government are;
Having fun with language!
The Cydweith Cymraeg project takes a collaborative approach to Welsh language learning in the early years and delivers exciting and engaging child-centered activities, bringing parents, practitioners, and children together to learn the language.
These sessions are themed and consist of games, stories and songs. They not only focus on developing Welsh language skills, but they are also heuristic and consist of serve and return interactions, which help promote healthy brain development.
The main objective is to have fun with the Welsh language!
"We were thrilled at how well our children sat and engaged with you as being a child led setting this is not something they are used to doing, the fact that they sat so well is testament to how you were with them. You honestly would never have known it was your first one!”
A massive thank you for coming along again and well done on managing so many children!” - St. Helen's Cygnets
“The children have loved the sessions, after the first one, we noticed them singing more songs in Welsh and using phrases around the classroom and in their play, particularly role play. After the last session (new cohort) the children have been more engaged with the books and soft toys creating their own stories and using Welsh words that they are familiar with.
We've loved having the sessions with you and are excited to continue developing this relationship.” - St Paul's Flying Start
“We had lots of fun and opportunities for bilingual language acquisition as we sang and danced along to songs in Welsh and English. We used maths skills to name colours bilingually as we mark made on lovely Early Years Wales mascot kite pictures too.
The children loved the calming sounds of the drum as Kaycie played nursery rhymes and used our imagination and role play skills to be speckled frogs. Thank you so much for coming Kaycie! What a bendigedig session we had! Diolch yn fawr.” - North Cornelly Community Playgroup
“Since increasing Welsh-medium early years childcare provision is essential to our aim of achieving a million speakers, we need to ensure a coordinated plan to develop this important workforce.”
- Welsh Government, Cymraeg 2050 A million Welsh speakers
Camau is the bespoke Work Welsh scheme for the early years, childcare and playwork sectors, developed by National Centre for Learning Welsh with practitioners for practitioners with the aim of increasing the number of Welsh language speakers within the sector and to develop Welsh language skills in order to give children a good start on their journey towards becoming fluent Welsh speakers. Camau uses a self-teaching model to ensure that Welsh language learning is always freely available to all practitioners, negating many of the traditional barriers to language learning.
Online self-teaching removes a whole host of barriers to accessing language learning.
Traditionally, Welsh courses such as 123 – hwyl a sbri were taught at a set time on a set day for up to 6 weeks, meaning that many practitioners simply couldn't fit learning Welsh into their day. This is no longer the case with practitioners able to access training courses and materials 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As a practitioner, leaving the setting to undertake an intensive Welsh course may not be feasible.
Camau courses allow you to dip in and out of learning opportunities to fit around your day, meaning quieter times of the day can be utilised or learning can take place at home. Camau courses allow learners primarily learn the language at their own pace, meaning they do not have to rush through a particular section they may have difficulty with.
Siobhan Chambers, Early Years Wales' Welsh Language Development Officer is on hand to guide learners through all aspects of Camau, from accessing the portal to providing support during and after the training. We will be able to keep up to date with learners progress through the courses in real time and provide bespoke support to ensure staff are confident to use what they have learnt and help the language thrive in the sector.
Learners can also reach out to the Early Years Wales Welsh Language Development team for guidance and support.
Cwlwm's Welsh Promise has been designed to support the early years, childcare and playwork sectors to plan for progress with their Welsh language offer.
Early Years Wales will work with you to assess the current use of Welsh in your setting and develop a bespoke action plan with you to support you hit your goals.
‘One of the most important areas we can develop as professionals is competence in accessing and sharing knowledge.’ - Connie Malamed
Our quarterly publication smalltalk is a great source for information and regularly includes wonderful articles sharing knowledge and ideas regarding the Welsh language