In any education system, parents have a crucial role to play and where Gaelic is concerned this role takes on an added dimension; it was as a result of the efforts of parents that GME began in 1985.
Parental support is vital at all stages of Gaelic medium education.
Many local authority Community Education departments offer Gaelic courses for parents and a number of on-line courses are now available. There are also a growing number of opportunities for Gaelic family holidays.
Parents who can speak Gaelic to their children are a most precious resource. It is desirable that children should hear the language at every available opportunity and the more often this happens, particularly in their pre-school years, the quicker they will develop their language skills. Parents should expose their children to Gaelic in the home as frequently as possible and Gaelic speaking members of the family and community should be encouraged to speak to them in Gaelic at all times.
How important is the role of parents in the language development of their children?
The parent’s role is of the utmost importance. Parents should endeavour to pass a positive attitude to Gaelic on to the family. Even in families where a decision has been made to speak only Gaelic parents can devise strategies to improve their children’s vocabulary. One way of doing this is by asking questions in such a way that children will be encouraged to tell a story or give an account of a particular incident. Another way is to play games in which conversation is important and remember one of the best ways of enriching a children’s vocabulary is by reading to them.