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Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Scottish Government funding continues to support Gaelic-medium Early Years’ Groups

Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the principal public body in Scotland responsible for promoting Gaelic development, together with the Scottish Government have today (Monday 16 October) at the Royal National Mod in Fort William announced funding of £107,911 grant assistance from the Early Years funding scheme to 40 Gaelic Early Years’ Groups working on the promotion and development of Gaelic throughout Scotland. 

The Early Years’ scheme, which runs in conjunction with the Scottish Government’s Children, Young People, Families, Early Intervention (CYPFEI) and Adult Learning and Empowering Communities (ALEC) Funds is managed by Bòrd na Gàidhlig in partnership with Comann nam Pàrant (The National Parents’ Association).  The early years’ groups carry out a range of activities which support young people and families to play and develop educationally through the medium of Gaelic.  The success of these groups is a crucial factor in the increasing demand for Gaelic-medium education and provides support and encouragement at an early stage for families who want their children to benefit from bilingual education.

 Many groups are run by volunteers, showing once again the importance of the voluntary sector to Gaelic development, and are supported by Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s team of early years’ workers.  In addition to this financial support, the Bòrd works with groups on projects such as Bookbug training to enable them to run their own sessions locally through the medium of Gaelic, and has also recently launched a set of PlayTalkRead materials in Gaelic.  During the course of the year, the Bòrd offers other financial support as well as covering insurance costs for early years’ groups.

Mona Wilson, Director of Gaelic Education at Bòrd na Gàidhlig said “We recognise that more and more families are interested in Gaelic-medium education and the support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Scottish Government enables voluntary groups and others to deliver Gaelic-medium play and childcare sessions on a regular basis across Scotland.  We support and will continue to support groups from the Western Isles to Dumfries and Galloway, and from Islay to Aberdeenshire to deliver different activities under the scheme. ”

Magaidh Wentworth, Parental Officer, Comann nam Pàrant (Nàiseanta) said:  “Comann nam Pàrant are pleased to be able to access this fund  through CYPFEIF in order to help with core costs for the early years groups, where many families first engage  with Gaelic. We recognise the importance of strengthening the early learning and childcare sector if we are to achieve continuing growth in Gaelic-medium education. Children are able to develop their Gaelic language skills before entering statutory education when they are given the opportunity to attend a high quality immersion early learning setting. The groups also encourage and support parents, either Gaelic learners or fluent speakers,  to use Gaelic in their homes thus encouraging inter-generational transmission of Gaelic which must be our aim if we are to have a new generation of Gaelic speakers.”

Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Mark McDonald, said: “We want Scotland to be the best place to grow up and for all our children to get the best possible start in life.  This funding for Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Gaelic early years’ groups will ensure families who want their children to grow up speaking Gaelic get access to suitable early years and play activities.

“This funding complements a range of Scottish Government initiatives in place to support the early years’ sector, and is another step towards helping parents in educating their children in the language of their choice.”

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