In April 2019 our lead researcher, Dr Joann Wilkinson, spoke at an event organised by Mudiad Meithrin; a voluntary organisation which provides Welsh-medium early years care and education. Here is her blog about the event.
Mudiad Meithrin, which translates as ‘nursery organisation’, aims to give every young child in Wales the opportunity to benefit from early years care and education experiences through the medium of Welsh.
Although Mudiad Meithrin has a small number of its own nurseries, it has a key role in providing support and guidance to the 500 Cylchoedd Meithrin (Welsh-medium playgroups) located throughout Wales. These groups are often set up by parents looking for reliable, good quality childcare for children from two years of age. The Welsh-medium playgroups are assisted by Supporting Officers, who are located in each county and offer guidance and practical advice to staff, volunteers and parents at each setting.
What is particularly interesting about the Cylchoedd Meithrin is that although the children who attend learn through the medium of Welsh, the majority of their parents/carers are non-Welsh speaking. Furthermore, many of the children are learning other languages at home such as Arabic, Somali or Urdu.
The event I attended was Mudiad Meithrin’s annual conference and took place at Gregynog, a beautiful historic house in rural Montgomeryshire.The speakers addressed a range of important themes within early years education including mental health and intergenerational play – as well as, through my own talk, the recruitment of men in early years.
Mudiad Meithrin hopes to create opportunities within and beyond its own organisation, to challenge gender stereotypes and support more gender-diverse early years environments. We look forward to reading more about their work in the future!