In this current situation, you are not expected to become ‘the teacher’. Learning at home for children and young people can be a combination of play, everyday tasks in your household and some focused learning activities.
The learning activities on Scotland Learns may be used along with that provided by your child’s school, created by yourself or other online activities. It is important for your child to continue to have a positive attitude to this different way of learning - to be curious, creative and confident.
During this time, it is important that children and young people maintain, as best they can, their fluency in Gaelic by thinking, listening and talking in Gaelic every day. It would be desirable, if they can, to do some reading and writing too. The extent of reading and writing is dependent on the stage children are at within Gaelic Medium Education.
How can I help my children with their learning?
As a parent/carer, if you speak Gaelic, please continue to use the language with your children. Staff at your children’s school will have been encouraging you to do this, for which they may have shared suggestions with you. Please ensure that your child attends online sessions provided by your school to support immersion and learning.
We recognise that not all parents/carers speak Gaelic. All parents continuing to show an interest in Gaelic and talking to their children about their learning and progress is important. Children should be encouraged to speak Gaelic with siblings they may have. You may be keeping in touch with grandparents, neighbours, friends and cousins by phone or over the internet. These opportunities may also be an option for your children to do so through the medium of Gaelic.
You may find it useful for your child to have access to an adult fluent speaker of Gaelic as a buddy or helper. This could be someone in your family, a volunteer (with suitable checks made), or an older learner at secondary school, college or university. Your school may be able to make suggestions of fluent speakers in the community who may assist.
Talking Gaelic in everyday situations
Talking in Gaelic to children in everyday situations is very helpful in developing fluency. For this, you do not need to set up any special activities. This can be done by you as a parent/carer, and also by a helper, buddy or friend by phone/internet.
It is useful to describe, or give a commentary in Gaelic, as you and your child do everyday tasks and routines, such as cooking, preparing snacks and meals, setting the table and having a meal. In commentaries, you are purposefully talking Gaelic so that children learn, hear and absorb Gaelic.
At an appropriate development stage, your child will start to say words, phrases and hold full conversations in the language. As you do commentaries, ask your children questions to help them be involved and stay engaged in listening, understanding and talking Gaelic. They may even sing a song that they have been learning at nursery or school. Older children should be encouraged to use and lead commentaries for their younger siblings.
Playing together as a family
Playing together as a family is important. Younger children love to sing, dance, be creative and explore outdoors. They like quiet times too, when they can have a cuddle and hear a story. Older children and young people often like to repair and build things from materials you have at home. Real-life experiences are important. Please do as many of these activities as you can through Gaelic, including by asking for the assistance of a fluent speaker.
How can I access activities delivered through Gaelic?
Bòrd na Gàidhlig have set-up a one-stop page on their website with live internet broadcasts designed to support learners in Gaelic Medium Education. The website has contributions from Gaelic groups who may already support your children. These include Comhairle nan Leabhraichean, Comunn na Gàidhlig and Fèisean nan Gàidheal. Activities encourage all members of the family to be involved, whilst recognising the age of your children.
Scotland Learns suggests activities that you, and/or a buddy/helper may do with your children through the medium of Gaelic. Parents/carers and families are encouraged to work together so that they are creating an audience with whom to speak Gaelic.
Additionally, there are activities that children may do independently. Activities focus on using Gaelic language skills, as well as learning for numeracy and mathematics, literacy through English (from P3/4), health and wellbeing, and additional themed learning activities. For some activities, children’s interests will determine how long the activity takes.
Scotland Learns has a range of learning activities through the medium of Gaelic. These are also available in English to support parents/carers who may not speak Gaelic. English versions of activities may be useful in assisting children with any new vocabulary they may come across. If possible, they should firstly be encouraged to use a dictionary as good practice.
Other useful Scotland Learns resources
Other sources of support
- Comann nam Pàrant both local group and national
- Gaelic4Parents - online live support for learning
- BBC Scotland Live and Recorded Learning links:
- Stòrlann’s new online support
- E-Sgoil’s online interactive sessions for learners as part of the national e-learning offer
- Fèisean nan Gàidheal supports children and young people with Gaelic language learning, as well as with developing skills and creativity in arts and culture. They organise a free internet café for teenagers. For tickets, please visit Eventbrite: Cafe Bheirteis (Gàidhlig)
- giglets.com is an online library, which has over 100 texts available in Gaelic. The range of texts are from early to third level, with supporting audio, resources and accessibility features. To find out more, or to arrange a free training session, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Scottish Government Advice on Gaelic Medium Education for schools and local authorities returning after COVID-19.
- Education Scotland’s Advice on Gaelic Education
- The Scottish Voice - Scottish Computer Voices - Free Scottish and Gaelic computer voices, for Windows and Macintosh computers.
- Parentzone – advice for parents on a range of areas, including Gaelic Medium Education.