Carmarthenshire has the highest number of Welsh speakers in any of the counties in Wales, and therefore in the world! About three quarters of the world population speaks two or more languages. So, what does being bilingual mean? It's the ability to live your everyday life using two languages. Being able to switch from one language to another fluently and confidently whenever you like.
Every child in Carmarthenshire can become bilingual by taking advantage of Welsh medium education in the County. Here's how...
You can start your child's journey to bilingualism from the outset...
Cymraeg for Kids groups
Groups to support and encourage parents and prospective parents to transfer the Welsh language to children.
Ti a Fi Groups
For parents and young children where your child can enjoy playing and making new friends in a Welsh atmosphere
There are Welsh and bilingual day nurseries for children which introduce Welsh to children from the start, through Welsh activities and by communicating in Welsh with babies and toddlers
Cylchoedd Meithrin Nursery Groups
Welsh medium playgroups, promoting education and development for children from two years old to school age; an opportunity for children to socialise and learn through play in Welsh
Meithrin Classes in the school
Some schools have nursery classes and these classes are usually in Welsh if the school is a Welsh medium school, and will often be in Welsh in dual stream schools also.
If you do not speak Welsh, don’t worry; the organisations welcome non-Welsh speaking parents who want to introduce their children to Welsh. Try to talk as much as you can in Welsh with your children. This will help them to speak naturally and confidently.
In Carmarthenshire, Welsh medium education is available to all children and young people, within reasonable travelling distance from their homes. In Welsh medium education, Welsh is used as the medium for teaching, but both Welsh and English are taught as a subject also. All children who receive Welsh medium education will be able to transfer to Welsh medium secondary education regardless of the language used at home.
Welsh medium education immerses children in the Welsh language from the start. The children speak Welsh in class and are encouraged to use Welsh when socialising and taking part in activities. Having experience of Welsh in all aspects of life improves the standard of their Welsh and ensures that they are fully bilingual.
A Language Charter is being implemented in primary schools in Carmarthenshire which helps to provide more opportunities for children to use Welsh socially. Experts recognize that a minority language like Welsh needs to be used in all aspects of life in order for an individual to be truly bilingual.
Who’d have thought?!
Young children don’t need to learn a language as adults do. They absorb languages if they are exposed to them enough.
There is Welsh medium secondary education available within a reasonable distance from all homes in Carmarthenshire. Any young person who has attained bilingual proficiency in primary school will be able to make a seamless transition into Welsh medium education at secondary school.
Just as in the primary phase, Welsh and English are taught as individual subjects in Welsh medium education. Welsh is also used as the medium of instruction for other subjects as well as the medium for extra- curricular activities. This way, the young person’s bilingualism is sustained and developed further throughout his/her education.
Young people who have followed Welsh medium education at primary will be expected to continue with this programme at secondary school so that they can continue to develop their linguistic skills until they leave secondary education. If you are unsure about the route that your child should take from primary into secondary education in terms of the teaching medium, your child’s primary school and the local secondary schools will be able to provide guidance.
As English is a dominant language in terms of the media, social media etc. young people’s Welsh language skills benefit from as much exposure outside of the classroom as possible. It is always a good idea to give them the opportunity to use some Welsh at home, in their extra-curricular activities or watching TV. The key for young people to be as confident in Welsh as in English is to continue to take up Welsh medium opportunities after primary school. If a young person is bilingual at the age of 16 or 18, he/she can adjust extremely well to further studies through either language in any subject.
There are opportunities to study bilingually or through the medium of Welsh at Coleg Sir Gâr which include further education courses, higher education courses, as well as in apprenticeships.
There is a Welsh medium and bilingual provision in the following fields: Sport, Public Services, Art and Design, Catering, Education, Construction, Health and Social Care and Agriculture.
Students can have bilingual work placements and they can improve their Welsh skills by following a customer services unit in the vocational courses which will be useful as they go into the world of work.
Universities in Wales, the UK and worldwide welcome students who have studied their subjects through the medium of Welsh.
Trinity Saint David is a leading provider of Welsh medium higher education. It is possible to study an increasing number of undergraduate and postgraduate programs in whole or in part through the medium of Welsh at the University Campus in Carmarthen including Teacher Training (primary education), Physical Education, Outdoor Education, Youth and Community Work, Early Years Care and education, Primary education Studies, Business and Religious Studies.
The University provides support for those students who are unsure about studying through the medium of Welsh by providing Language Improvement programs on the campus and through apps and distance learning programmes.
Young people can get a bursary to study modules in Welsh at higher education level. A partnership between Carmarthenshire College and University is offering continuity bursaries to encourage Carmarthenshire College students to continue their studies through the medium of Welsh at the University. Students can also apply for Coleg Cymraeg Scholarships to study through the medium of Welsh.
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