The Welsh Government’s recent language strategy ‘Cymraeg 2050’, emphasizes the importance of the contribution of the Early Years and Play sectors in achieving the vision of a million Welsh speakers over the coming decades. If we also consider the Welsh Government’s 30 hour childcare offer, and the educational requirements of the Foundation Phase, we can see that the Early Years and Play sectors will need to be proactive in responding to these requirements.
At the beginning of the summer holiday, the ‘Cwlwm’ partnership (Mudiad Meithrin, NDNA Cymru, Pacey Cymru, Wales PPA and Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids’ Clubs) started working on a project we call EDI (Language Assessment Tool) which will identify the range of Welsh language skills of the Early Years and Play workforce across Wales. This ground-breaking project is funded by the National Centre for Teaching Welsh as part of the ‘Work Welsh’ scheme (www.learncymraeg.cymru). The aim is to use the findings of the EDI research project to develop courses and resources which meet the sector’s distinct requirements.
The vocabulary and phrases we use whilst playing in the sand pit and as we make mud pies are clearly different from the language needs of working in an office and this can make it difficult to develop these specific skills by following the traditional Welsh language courses.
The foundation to providing Welsh language experiences in the early years and in play activities is the Welsh language skills of the workforce – those admirable individuals who look after our children. To do this, we need to offer appropriate opportunities for them to develop the necessary Welsh language skills. Making this possible is the long-term aim of the EDI project.
Over the past months, as we began collecting this valuable information, we have had the privilege of talking to people from across Wales. Their enthusiasm, their willingness to help and to give their time to the project is inspiring. We thank them for their support, and look forward to our next conversations.
For more information about the EDI Project go to: http://www.cwlwm.org.uk/prosiect-edi-the-edi-project/
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