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Language toolkit for primary schools officially launched

24 May 2023

A woman standing in a red dress presenting a Powerpoint presentation to a room of people
Nazaret Pérez-Nieto, Academic Director for Routes into Languages Cymru, talking at the launch

A primary language toolkit aimed at primary school learners has been officially launched at Cardiff University.

Around 40 people attended the launch which took place on 22 April 2023 at the Centre for Student Life.

Routes into Languages Cymru has been developing the toolkit over the last two years in preparation for the new Curriculum for Wales which was rolled out in September 2022. The changes to the curriculum mean that international languages will be delivered from Progression Step 2 in the primary sector. The toolkit therefore aims to help primary school teachers with introducing languages into the classroom. It is currently available in French, Spanish and German in both English and Welsh.

Discussing the toolkit, Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles MS, said: “I am pleased to support the official launch of the Routes into Languages Cymru Primary Toolkit today. The toolkit will help support our primary teachers - specialist and non-specialist - to deliver international languages as part of the Curriculum for Wales.

“Introducing international languages at primary school is one of the exciting elements of our new curriculum. It will expand the teaching of international languages exponentially and generate a real momentum and love of languages from primary through to secondary school. The bilingual Toolkit is currently available for French, German and Spanish, supports our vision of celebrating language and culture set out in the Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience. Embracing a bilingual Wales in an international context.

“The toolkit will provide exciting opportunities to develop language rich environments and provision across Wales and help develop the learners of the future – our language superheroes!”

The toolkit was commissioned by the previous Routes Cymru Academic lead, Dr Liz-Wren Owens, as means of supporting specialist and non-specialist primary teachers to teach international languages. The toolkits have been designed by Primary Toolkit Developers, Jo Morgan and Susanne Arenhovel, and Project Coordinator for Routes Cymru, Meleri Jenkins.

Two women smiling at camera.
Susanne Arenhovel and Meleri Jenkins

They consist of six Contexts of Learning. The first context of learning is ‘Byd Rhyfeddol Ieithoedd’ / ‘The Wonderful World of Languages’. This is a general context of learning for the French, Spanish and German toolkits where pupils are given the opportunity to look at their own identity and see which languages are part of it as well as explore various aspects of bilingualism and multilingualism.

The other five Contexts of Learning are cultural-based and cover topics such as meeting and greeting, art, sports and wellbeing, food and let’s celebrate a festival. An emphasis is therefore given not only to learning the language itself but also the culture within which that language sits and how they link with other Areas of Learning and Experience that are part of the new Curriculum for Wales.

On launching the toolkit, Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University said: “It gives me great pleasure to say that Cardiff University has promoted and supported this important initiative from the start. Given my own background in languages, initiatives that promote the visibility, uptake, and profile of languages in schools in Wales have my wholehearted support and this initiative is an outstanding example of that.

"The enrichment provided from learning a language cannot be under-estimated and the Primary Toolkit is an exciting innovation for Routes into Languages Cymru. I hope that primary school students will enjoy what the toolkit brings, and who knows where this taste for languages might lead. My heartfelt thanks and congratulations to all involved.”

The launch was also attended by members of the Cultural Institutes and other organisations that support language learning in Wales and representatives from the Institut Français, the Consejería de Educación, Confucius Institute Cardiff University, British Council Wales/Cerdd Iaith, the Open University Wales and Taith gave presentations on the day. Routes Cymru Student Language Ambassadors from Cardiff and Swansea Universities also supported the day’s activities.

Since its soft launch in July 2022, the toolkit has reached over 580 schools in Wales and has received over 1,100 registrations to date. The toolkits can be requested on the Routes Cymru website.

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