AN exciting scheme introducing a framework for Welsh language immersion methodology within Cylchoedd Meithrin (Welsh-medium playgroups) and securing linguistic transition from the to Welsh-medium schools that started in North-east Wales is being expanded throughout Wales.
The Croesi’r Bont (bridging the linguistic gap) project was piloted in Denbighshire between September 2015 and July 2016 before being set up in Conwy, Flintshire and Wrexham over the last three years by Croesi’r Bont officers as part of Mudiad Meithrin’s staff team.
But from September the project will be developed into a national one.
There are 3 elements to the project:-
A pack of language resources which focuses on the Cylch’s daily routine along with language patterns within the play areas.
Chwarae’n Hapus song book and a CD of original songs composed especially for introducing daily routine language patterns.
Children’s language development assessment scheme – a simple joint system operated between the Cylch Meithrin Leader and Croesi’r Bont Officer which occurs 4 times a year.
Alaw Humphreys, the main author of the scheme and composer of the songs stated:
“Nursery class teachers within the accompanying schools are also given a copy of the scheme along with the CDs to raise awareness of the language patterns introduced at the Cylchoedd Meithrin and to learn the songs. This is a way of preparing for the effective social and linguistic transition between Cylch and school the following September.”
Praise for the project has been apparent in a large number of Estyn inspection reports as well as praise from schools regarding the children’s strengthened linguistic skills.
Carys Gwyn, Mudiad Meithrin’s North-east Wales manager, said:
“A few of the staff in our Cylchoedd Meithrin are learners themselves, the scheme was also a way of ensuring that staff at our Cylchoedd were introducing a standard and consistent language pattern to the children in their care. The scheme received excellent response by the Cylch staff, county advisory teachers, and nursery class teachers that were involved with the venture. We must support the children’s linguistic transition – once the journey has begun – there is no turning back!”
Helen Williams, Mudiad Meithrin’s Head of Training said:
“We are at the threshold of a very exciting period as we prepare to provide Croesi’r Bont nationally. The initial phase has shown us the positive effect of the project, and we look forward to ensuring that many more Cylchoedd can be part of this initiative. Croesi’r Bont is suitable for everyone and contributes to the vision of Welsh Government’s strategy, Cymraeg 2050, in many ways.”