Primary school teachers and parents can now harness music and drama to help children learn Welsh and Spanish by using a new, free to use website.
The website includes more than 30 activities, such as simple drama games and songs in three languages.
Everything needed to lead children through the activities is provided, including full instructions, demonstration videos, downloadable sheet music, lyrics, audio files and suggestions for extension and reflection.
Teachers can use the resources to fill a lesson, a range of lessons or as single, short activities.
British Council Wales led and managed the project and Rebecca Gould, its head of arts, said: “Cerdd Iaith is a powerful new resource for primary school teachers that aims to tackle the decline in modern foreign language learning in schools.
“The activities will inspire and stimulate children to learn actively and begin speaking new languages confidently.
“The site is packed full of engaging, original content. It’s easy to use and we hope teachers will take some time to explore the site.
“I think that they will find it is an ideal resource to help with the challenging job of teaching children at home.
“I’d also recommend the site to parents who are looking for fun educational activities to explore with their children.”
The resource has been designed for use with primary school pupils age 7-11.
It will be especially useful for Year 6 pupils who are preparing for the transition to secondary school and the introduction of modern foreign languages, but can also be used with younger learners.
The site was developed in partnership with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and linguists from the Institute of Education at University of Wales Trinity Saint David and ERW, one of Wales’ regional education consortia.
The songs were created especially for the site by poet Mererid Hopwood and composers Gareth Glyn and Tim Riley.
The website can be found at https://www.listeningtolanguage.com/
Cerdd Iaith began in 2016 as a creative learning project, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation's Teacher Development Fund, which set out to explore innovative approaches to music and language learning in primary schools.
The project leaders, including musicians, linguists and drama practitioners alongside the British Council Wales team, have been working with teachers from South and West Wales for the past three years. They deliver training both in and out of schools as part of teachers’ continuing professional development. This training consists of ‘on your feet’ creative learning activities and can also include practitioners coming into schools to demonstrate the activities directly.
The team have refined and deepened their approach, and British Council Wales are now launching this free online resource to complement and extend the teacher training programme.
Cerdd Iaith has been designed to support teachers to build on learners’ knowledge of Welsh and English to introduce a third language to the classroom, as required by the Curriculum for Wales within the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience and will inspire and stimulate children to learn actively and begin speaking new languages. The resource has been designed to complement the training programme offered by the British Council, but can also be used independently.
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 65 million people directly and 731 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.