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Young children learning in Gaelic: Investigating children's learning experiences in Gaelic-medium pre-school. Research Briefing 6E. Stirling

Stephen, C. and Mcpake, Joanna and McLeod, Wilson (2011) Young children learning in Gaelic: Investigating children's learning experiences in Gaelic-medium pre-school. Research Briefing 6E. Stirling. [Report]

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Abstract

Gaelic-medium (GM) education is an important part of current efforts to re-vitalise the language in Scotland. Beginning Gaelic-medium education in preschool is seen as a crucial entry point, enhancing the numbers entering GM primary education and facilitating transition to the school learning environment. However, it is essential that GM preschool is of high quality. Government-funded provision is expected to offer children the same learning opportunities as their peers who attend English-medium settings. Meeting these expectations is challenging because most children enter Gaelic-medium preschool from English-speaking homes so that the nursery or playgroup is their only exposure to Gaelic. Our earlier study mapped the range and extent of Gaelic-medium early education and childcare provision but in the research reported here our focus was on what happens within settings, the children’s activities in the playroom and the ways in which practitioners help them to learn Gaelic, as well as ensuring that national expectations about curriculum and learning outcomes are met.