Great Scots! Our tots are stars

2nd November 2012 at 00:00
Nursery that embraces the language is the subject of a short film, as Henry Hepburn reports

The successful introduction of the Scots language at a West Dunbartonshire nursery has been highlighted in a short film.

Staff and parents at Brucehill Early Education and Childcare Centre in Dumbarton have been impressed by the enthusiasm with which children embraced Scots.

The project began this spring, when parents met Scots language consultant Matthew Fitt; staff wanted to ensure they were not caught off guard when children started using new words.

"We raised awareness with both parents and children that words they are often told off for using are part of their own distinct language and culture, and that there is a place for Scots language in their lives," said Lynn McCafferty, who was head of the centre but recently left Brucehill.

Children explored Scots through role play. They went outdoors and pretended to be pirates, exploring the tale of Sam the Skull and using their "lugs" and "ees" to escape perilous scenarios.

They acted out a retelling of Tam O'Shanter - Tam drinks nothing stronger than a glass of milk - in costume and with glee, as skeletons jumped out of the shadows and cackling witches stirred their cauldron.

The children learned different versions of Wee Willie Winkie to help them differentiate between Scots and English, and recognise Scots "as a separate second language and not a dialect to be shunned and hidden".

They took home learning bags, which included games and a recipe and messages list for tattie soup, with explanations of what could be learned from each activity.

The project was captured in a DVD, which was premiered in a red carpet event at Loch Lomond Shores in Balloch and has been highlighted in Education Scotland's online publication Early Years Matters.

Brucehill staff are extending the project, in the belief that it could help smooth children's move up to primary school.

Early Years Matters: bit.lyVI304F.

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