‘Cymraeg for Kids’ is a new Welsh Government scheme focusing on increasing the number of Welsh-speaking children. The scheme is jointly managed between Mudiad Meithrin and Welsh Government. The Government will take responsibility for marketing and promoting the scheme via a number of partners, including the NHS, whilst Mudiad Meithrin will be responsible for activities at a local level. The work of ‘Cymraeg for Kids’ will be further enhanced by the Mudiad’s work in securing childcare / early years provision through the medium of Welsh for babies and toddlers upwards to children of school age.
Mudiad Meithrin Chief Executive, Dr Gwenllian Lansdown Davies said:
“This scheme’s main objective is simply to increase the number of Welsh-speaking children by providing advice, information and support to parents, prospective parents and families on the benefits of both introducing the Welsh language as early as possible and choosing Welsh-medium education for their children. We know that education and childcare in Welsh is critical to increasing the number of Welsh speakers and the sooner the child hears Welsh, the better”.
Alun Davies AM, the Minister for the Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning added:
“I’m pleased that the Welsh Government and Mudiad Meithrin are working together on the new ‘Cymraeg for kids’ programme to encourage and support families to use Welsh with their children. As a parent, I know how important a role that parents play in the linguistic development and education of their children. This programme will make an important contribution to our aim of ensuring a million Welsh speakers by increasing the number of children who speak Welsh and receive Welsh-medium education.”
Details of the scheme in general
A network of officers will be employed to work with parents, prospective parents, families and partners in the locations listed below. ‘Cymraeg for Kids’ officers’ everyday work will focus on the following:
- Holding family sessions – the sessions will provide a range of specific, useful and appropriate activities aimed at prospective parents, new parents and their families in order to share information and provide support concerning the benefits of Welsh-medium education. The emphasis in the sessions will be on ‘preparing the child’ by sharing information about raising children and preparing them for childcare and education. In addition, ‘mindfulness’ techniques will be employed as an increasingly popular strategy in the field of education worldwide. Yoga aimed at children and babies will be one practical means of achieving this element of the work. This may occur in the cylch Ti a Fi (parent/carer and baby/toddler group) and elsewhere.
- Introducing ‘Cymraeg for the Family’ – the scheme will work in partnership with the National Centre for Learning Welsh in order to further develop the ‘Cymraeg for the Family’ programme and other supporting projects.
- Working in partnership at the grassroots – officers will work in partnership with a range of local and national partners including Yr Urdd, Merched y Wawr, Mentrau Iaith Cymru, the National Eisteddfod, Young Farmers’ Clubs, Y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, Mumsnet, NCT, Dechrau’n Deg / Flying Start in order to share information about ‘Cymraeg for Kids’ and to raise awareness about the benefits of childcare and education through the medium of Welsh.
- Strategic Planning – the scheme will support the aims of the Welsh in Education Strategic Plans at Local Authority level by contributing towards planning at both a local and strategic level. Similarly, information will be shared with prospective parents and new parents about the benefits of Welsh-medium childcare and education by strategic co-operation with midwives, health workers and the health profession as pregnancy folders, scan cards, parenting booklets will all contain ‘Cymraeg for Kids’ key messages.
Dinah Ellis, ‘Cymraeg for Kids’ National Manager added:
“Welsh is less likely to be used in families where only one parent / carer speaks the language. Encouraging the transfer of the Welsh language from parent to child is therefore key and this will be achieved through a range of fun, community-based activities which support the informal use of Welsh”.