Supporting the Gaelic language through family engagement at Newtonmore Gaelic Nursery during lockdown.

The past few months have been a massive learning curve for us all, especially whilst trying to continue to support children and parents in Gaelic Medium Education. The great majority of our parents do not speak Gaelic and we wanted to make sure that parents felt supported with the language and that the children could still hear Gaelic in context. We hoped that the children wouldn’t become frustrated at not knowing the Gaelic for some words or with parents for not understanding. We read our daily stories and rhymes in Gaelic both live and recorded. These recordings meant that parents and children could listen to the stories over and over again to hear spoken Gaelic. We then posted suggested activities that allowed the development of the language through them.  We also provided videos or pictures from the children and made sure to give comments in both Gaelic and English on our Google classroom to help support parents in using Gaelic vocabulary with their children.

To support our parents and children with Gaelic in Home Learning the EYP’s Miss Binnie and Mrs Gorman provided

  • Regular Google Hangouts/Meet where Gaelic was used in context
  • Home learning Packs 
  • Daily Recorded stories/videos – using Gaelic in greetings, stories and activities

  • Links to appropriate sites for parents tying in with activities and stories shared – as well as Gaelic4 parents, Gàidhlig nan òg and Bumps to Bairns
  • Weekly Parent check-in emails
  • Miss Binnie’s Cbeebies Gaelic message from the teachers. BBC ALBA
  • EYPs available for general questions/queries on language – Pronunciation of certain words/ key vocabulary/websites/resources in Gaelic through the use of ICT.

We used our weekly check-in e-mail to inform what we did. Many of our parents were also working from home and juggling the home learning of siblings. We listened and responded to the needs of our families who at times found the live stories daunting and instead we created more recorded stories, messages and songs so that parents and children could find a quiet space to listen and watch at a time of their choosing. Many watched and listened over again which supported language learning.

The parental support and honesty has been greatly appreciated at this time. We had no test run of how this would work for Early Years. Parents are doing an amazing job and I’m sure they now have many more Gaelic words and phrases themselves.

Parent comments include:

  • Thanks for all your efforts-it is appreciated
  • Thank you for all the content and interactions you have been putting out
  • My child enjoys the videos to watch at his own leisure
  • My child  loves hearing the pre recorded stories and videos
  • Thank you for all the stories and giving us challenges. Keep them coming

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