Laughing children play with Doti and Dewin cuddly toys at a Mudiad Meithrin playgroup.

Picture: Mudiad Meithrin.

Swansea University has successfully secured funding for a PhD to research a topic relating to the Early Years and the New Curriculum following a joint bid with Cardiff Metropolitan University and Mudiad Meithrin, a charity specialising in childcare and early years in Wales.

The title of the project is: “Budding citizens of a bilingual Wales in a multilingual world? Exploring the role of Early Years Education in the framework of the New Curriculum for Wales” and the doctorate will focus on the relationship between the Welsh language and the new curriculum that will operate in schools and non-maintained settings from September 2022.

Dr Geraldine Lublin, supervisory team leader, said:

"The arrival of the New Curriculum is very exciting and we hope that this project will contribute to realising the ambition of the objectives set there. I look forward to supporting the successful candidate along with the rest of the team, Dr Alex Lovell from Swansea University's Department of Welsh, Dr Mirain Rhys from Cardiff Metropolitan University's Department of Psychology and Dr Gwenllian Lansdown Davies from Mudiad Meithrin."

The New Curriculum brings together language learning and teaching in one Area of Learning and Experience and encourages providers to 'enable learners to become multilingual, be able to use Welsh, English and at least one international language and develop an openness to and curiosity about all languages and cultures of the world '. Given the aim of creating a million Welsh speakers by 2050, the crucial role of Early Years Education in providing a solid foundation in the 3 to 16 learning continuum is undeniable. It is anticipated that the results of the project will improve our understanding of how young learners from diverse social and ethnic backgrounds can be encouraged to learn an additional language or languages on the basis of their Welsh-English bilingualism.

Dr Gwenllian Lansdown Davies, Chief Executive of Mudiad Meithrin, said:

"There is little research in the field of Welsh-medium early years so it is great that we will have the opportunity to learn from the findings of doctoral research. It is timely because there is a period of great change with the new curriculum for Wales on the horizon. Our Cylchoedd Meithrin are already preparing for this change and investigating the influence of that on our youngest learners will be an important contribution to learning and policy development."

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