A brand new program of Welsh language Lessons for early-years groups is launching across Newport.
Kidslingo has been running French and Spanish classes for young children across South Wales for eight years, aiming to maximize their early-years learning potential and boost their development.
They are now turning their attention to supporting the Welsh Government target of reaching one million Welsh speakers by 2050 by offering young children the best possible start to learning the language. The Cymraeg 2050 report states the aim of giving children under the age of five sufficient contact with the Welsh language to be able to start moving towards fluency.
Research shows that the more mental stimulation a child gets between the age of two to four, the more developed the parts of their brains dedicated to language and cognition will be in the decades ahead – something Kidslingo hopes to tap into on its mission to boost the number of Welsh speakers in future generations.
The classes have run across Newport during a successful trial period in the early years settings and primary school Clubs, with staff also brushing up on their Welsh through training courses and contributing to the overarching goal of getting more people speaking the language in Wales.
The franchise owner of Kidslingo in Cardiff and Newport, Natasha Baker, said: “As huge advocates for introducing children to languages in their most receptive years of learning, it was a no-brainer for us to expand our classes to encompass Welsh in response to the Welsh Government’s initiative to boost the language.
“We always talk about little ones being ‘sponges’, but when it comes to language development this is an incredibly accurate description. Also, as young children have fewer inhibitions, they pick up languages far Quicker than older children or adults.
“As we try to turn back the tide on the Welsh language’s decline, we are confident that an approach which gives early years groups the access they need to start learning will boost the number of Welsh speakers in years to come and have a positive knock on effect on their family and teachers, too. ”
Kidslingo is based at Caerphilly coworking hub Welsh ICE, where Natasha has been supported to build her business through the 5 to 9 Club, a funded initiative which offers business development sessions to local entrepreneurs after normal working hours.
The Community Manager of Welsh ICE, Llinos Neale, said: “Natasha and Kidslingo are valued members of our community and we’re so proud to see this business making a real contribution to the important issue of preserving our national language.
“The team’s passion for early years language learning really shines through and they’ve done a fantastic job of encouraging parents to kickstart the process, unlock their potential, and genuinely impact their long-term prospects and development. It’s Fantastic to see Kidslingo evolving as a company and we’re pleased to play a small part in its journey. Ardderchog! ”
CEO of Kidslingo, Anna Neville, said: “We are very excited to add an additional language to the Kidslingo portfolio and extremely proud to offer Welsh to the children of Cardiff and Newport.
“We very much hope that this is just the starting point for launching our fun and interactive Welsh classes in many other areas of Wales.”