Stephen C, McPake J & McLeod W (2012) Playing and learning in another language: ensuring good quality early years education in a language revitalisation programme. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 20 (1), pp. 21-33. http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/1350293X.asp; https://doi.org/10.1080/1350293X.2012.650009
Offering Gaelic medium preschool provision poses particular challenges as most children only encounter Gaelic in the playroom and live in a context heavily dominated by English. Nevertheless, expanding provision for early years education in Gaelic is an important part of ambitious plans to revitalise the language. In this paper we explore the challenges experienced by adults and children as they strive to provide good quality preschool education through the medium of Gaelic. Drawing on evidence from a review of Gaelic medium preschool education, we consider the difficulties experienced in developing a Gaelic-only immersion playroom, the need for specific resources and the perceived training needs of practitioners. We look at the issues which arise from the largely English language home learning environment and the specific pedagogical challenges experienced when supporting language learning and access to the national curriculum. Our analysis will be relevant to others working in similar cultural-linguistic and political contexts across Europe.
Gaelic medium preschool provision; immersion experience; language learning and early years curriculum; pedagogy for language learning; practitioner professional development; Early childhood education Curricula; Scottish Gaelic language Study and teaching
European Early Childhood Education Research Journal: Volume 20, Issue 1