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Schools explore nature through the Welsh language

18 Jun 2024 3 minute read
Teachers taking part in teamwork activity

Teachers have been given support to encourage Welsh speaking young people to learn and use the language to talk about our natural environment.

Flintshire County Council’s Welsh Advisory Team and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) have joined forces to encourage teachers to incorporate the great Welsh outdoors into their teaching practice.

Teachers from 20 English-medium primary schools attended a face-to-face course in Talacre, delivered by NRW’s Health, Education and Natural Resources Team and Flintshire’s Welsh Advisory Team, to gain ideas and confidence to teach in and about the natural environment through the medium of Welsh.

The teachers took part in simple, fun activities that encouraged teamwork and communication in Welsh at DangerPoint and surrounding Eni UK land on 11 and 13 June.

“Highly effective”

The event built on two years of successful training, where teachers said using Welsh in the outdoors was a highly effective and fun way of increasing learners’ Welsh language ability.

A new element was added to the course for this year, which saw previous attendees invited back to extend their Welsh vocabulary and be shown new activities that encourage learners to progress from talking to reading and writing about the natural environment in Welsh.

Laura Randall, Welsh Advisory Teachers, Flintshire School Improvement Team said: “The outdoors provides an abundance of learning opportunities for our children to use their language skills while having fun in the fresh air.

“Flintshire has a strong commitment to the Welsh language. We are supporting learners to improve their Welsh language skills and give them the confidence to use Welsh in their daily lives.”

“Perfect location”

Ffion Hughes, NRW Specialist Advisor: Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills said: “The natural environment is the perfect location to promote learning, understanding and communication through Welsh.

“It provides relaxed, fun and exciting surroundings to explore, offering a different learning environment to the classroom which gives children new experiences to support language and literacy achievement.

“There is a real opportunity to incorporate language learning within the outdoor setting as schools implement the Curriculum for Wales. Many jobs of the future will focus on sustainability, where plant and animal identification and survey skills are important.

“It is essential that our Welsh speaking young people have the language to talk about our natural environment, and we are committed to providing opportunities for learners to gain those Welsh language environmental skills.

“Learning in the natural environment is advocated by Welsh Government as a key pedagogical approach to delivering the curriculum. It also offers children the opportunity to connect with nature, receive significant health and well-being benefits and lay down pro-environmental behaviours that help to mitigate the climate and nature emergencies.”

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