Croeso I Bawb
My blog, up until this point, has been an informational blog. I haven’t really spoken about my personal life, I mainly spend my time trying to inspire families to get out into nature or cook tasty and simple recipes in their kitchens. But I have decided to start a blog series which will follow my families progress through learning to speak in the language of Welsh.
I wanted to write this series as I know from experience how difficult and confusing it is to have a child attend a Welsh speaking school. I hope over time I can help make non-Welsh speaking families feel more comfortable about sending their child to a Welsh medium school. I am going to test and review different apps, websites and possibly TV programs, if I can find some that help with learning the language. I hope to show you the best ways to learn as we go along!
When we first moved to Wales two and a half years ago we didn’t realise people still spoke the Welsh language. Even when we came to look at houses the Estate agents misinformed us and told us that all the local schools were English speaking. We soon found out that there is only one English medium school in our area.
Once moved in it soon became apparent that a huge percentage of the Carmarthenshire population do in fact speak Welsh, and not just as a secondary language but fully speak it at home, in the shops, in schools etc. For the first year I was very nervous of this as I wasn’t prepared to learn a second language. I had a 2 year old boy and was pregnant at the time. We had to apply for his school shortly after moving here so we had a look around but thought we would be most comfortable with him in the English speaking school so we decided to send him there.
I didn’t even try to learn until my son started Clych Meithrin (It is like a playgroup to us English folk). I was nervous that he wouldn’t understand the teaching staff and that he would be left out of things. This was not the case at all. At just three years old he was teaching us the language. He didn’t speak a huge amount but I was so proud of what he could say.
The teachers in his Clych Meithrin would say things in both languages to help him understand. It also helps us adults understand too! I must admit that I found the Christmas concert quite difficult as the entire show was in Welsh. Whenever they mentioned Father Christmas I thought Sean Connery was coming on stage as Father Christmas is Welsh is Siôn Corn.
But the more I allow myself to enjoy the language and learn it the more I feel comfortable about my children learning it.
My son started the English primary school a term before he turned 4 years old. But unfortunately after just one term he was still very unsettled and it was really affecting his behaviour. I had a few issues with the school itself so I decided to remove him and find another school. I knew that this would be to a Welsh medium school, but to me, my sons happiness was far more important than the fact he would no longer be taught in English.
My partner and I are quite well educated so we know that if our children have any issues with the English language we can help them. I do have a huge amount of fear when it comes to home work. He doesn’t get any at the moment as he is only in reception but I do have my concerns that I wont be able to help him. But I have plenty of Welsh speaking friends around me and the school have said that they will help if we get stuck (His new school is lovely and our son is really happy there).
We are only half a term in to his first year in a Welsh medium school but I have already seen a huge amount of progress with his language skills.
My current issue at the moment is whether to stop teaching him in English at home. We went through the Welsh alphabet on an app this morning and my son would say B for bat but then the app would call the bat a ystlumod. So now I am questioning whether to just teach him using the Welsh alphabet and language and stop with teaching in English. If you have any wonderful advise please leave it in the comment section as your advise will help other readers as well as myself!
Also I do apologise if some of my Welsh spellings are wrong, I am using Google translate so blame them!
From today I will try and add to this series at least once a week. Each week I will discuss methods used to help us improve our language skills and review any apps that we have used.
I do hope many of you will find this helpful!
P.S We love Wales!!