Welsh is taught in schools in Wales at Key Stages 2, 3 and 4.
Naturally, Welsh isn't taught in most schools across the rest of the United Kingdom, but if they have a connection to Wales through family or travel then some children might be keen to learn more about the language voluntarily! Furthermore, even though English is the main language taught in Scottish schools, the Scottish government, along with Education Scotland, set out in 2015 to launch a joint national Scots Language Policy so Scottish pupils may be more exposed to Gaelic through this.
Either way, if your child/ren or students are showing an interest in Welsh or Gaelic (forcibly or voluntarily!) then you must use these resources to help them along in the language!
What Is Covered In Welsh and Gaelic Language Studies?
Understandably ‘The National Curriculum for Wales’ focuses on an understanding of Wales and the Welsh Language. Gaelic is also available as an additional language in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Gaelic-medium education is a form of full Scottish curriculum where Gaelic is the primary language in the classroom for the first couple of years. After this initial immersion, little bits of English language teaching are introduced gradually until both languages are present in equal measures making the students 'bilingual'.
As such, not only are students taught language lessons in these two settings for their respective languages, in some cases, children are learning all of their other subjects in Welsh or Gaelic which really reinforces their knowledge of the language and how it is applied across a wide spectrum of fields.
Since the idea is to not lose these endangered languages and to raise children who are bilingual, or fluent, then pupils are taught everything from grammar to vocabulary and much more when learning about their country's traditional way of speaking.
Six Great Resources for Primary Level Welsh and Gaelic
Given the focus on the Welsh and Gaelic we have set out what we regard as the best resources for Primary School Welsh and Gaelic languages:
Part of the Wales Education and Learning section of the bbc.co.uk, this site, aimed at children aged approximately 3 to 6, invites children to join an animated character, Bowns, and take part in games which have been created to develop basic numeracy and literacy skills. Hand-and-eye coordination is also improved through the child’s handling of the mouse. Children can use most of the site by themselves, though they will need help from their parents or teachers to read the story provided. Games hone on an array of skills, including counting, filling in the blanks and singing.
Float through outer space and discover new stories, songs and games for Welsh learners aged 5 to 7. A talking animated language guide called Bliblob ‘morphs’ into the meaning of Welsh words encountered in stories and songs. Bliblob will also teach children new words and sentences in his own inimitable manner. Children can use the material as they like, reading stories, watching stories (with or without text included), and even writing stories with the help of a ‘story maker’, which helps them add text and pictures to create their own universe within the story. A section called ‘Sequence the story’ tests children on their comprehension of what they have read by asking them to place pictures representing the story in the correct order and to complete sentences. The site offers plenty of audio and visual help, with captions available for most of the video and audio material.
This handy site contains a wealth of resources for children aged 5 to 7, including animated stories, songs and poems. Children can choose to watch or simply read the stories, completing comprehension activities afterwards, including sequencing, changing the story and writing their own story.
The songs are performed by adorable animated creatures and children can tune into their creative side by changing the songs’ words or dressing the characters up in different outfits. Captions are also available for most of the video and audio content.
This site is aimed at Key Stage 2 students, and its main aim is to develop creative Welsh language writing skills.
This site contains useful information on the history of the Celts in Ireland and the story of Saint Patrick. Excellent video content is provided, as well as downloadable images, a gallery of artwork created by other children, and a glossary of commonly used terms. The site is available in Irish, Ulster-Scots and English. The site is aimed at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 students.
6. Turas Naomh Pádraig (Irish as a first language)
Also aimed at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 students, this site is almost identical to the one directly above, except that it is aimed at students studying Irish as a first language.
What Are The Benefits of Welsh and Gaelic Studies?
Of course, if you are a proud Scot or you have a long line of family from parts of the UK where Welsh or Gaelic were once spoken then you are probably keen for your child to learn about this heritage and to keep the nation's history alive. Without these youngsters learning the dialects or languages, they will surely die out one day.
What's more though, there are so many benefits to having another language, even if this is a language that is no longer adopted.
For instance, Latin studies are still very popular in many schools across Europe, and it is no wonder why. Having Latin language skills, although this is not a language that you can speak on your travels, will help you to learn a multitude of other Latin-based languages thus making your language skills skyrocket. Languages like these can open your brain up to computing languages like others may not be able to, so being linguistic most definitely has some perks.
Researchers also confirm that being bilingual or multilingual (ie having more than two languages) can make students better at multitasking and overall more academically advanced than other pupils, so learning Gaelic or another language is only going to improve rather than impede one's learning.
If you were concerned about your child having lessons in Gaelic when in Gaelic Medium Education, or GME, then you shouldn't be - it could open many professional and academic doors for your little one!
Last, but mot least, having another language can expose your child to a whole collection of texts and books that they might never have experienced or read otherwise. Not every book is translated into English, so it may be that they get a chance to read some very special pieces of history or personal accounts that will influence them and stick with them forever.
We hope that you have found these resources useful. If you have come across other resources which you would like to share and think are worth including on our list, please let us know via the comments section of this blog post.