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Dwylo’n dweud/Speaking Hands

Following the annual Clust i wrando/Lend me Your Ears … conference (2017) held in Neuadd Powis, Bangor University, in June last year and on the basis of delegates’ suggestions, a scheme was established to offer British Sign Language (BSL) to all Welsh medium nursery schools in Wales (Mudiad Meithrin). This is the first scheme of its kind in Welsh.

With the financial support of the University’s Widening Access Centre, a series of short films has been produced (for use nationally within Mudiad Meithrin nursery schools), introducing one word and one sign weekly to the 18,000 of prospective viewers under 4 years of age.

Delyth Murphy, Head of the Widening Access Centre said: ‘It’s a great pleasure to be part of this innovative and exciting project. We strongly believe in taking on board all comments made by those attending different activities in the University and, as a result of feedback following the popular Lend Me Your Ears conference, emphasising the importance of teaching sign language to young children, these video clips are the result of a successful partnership with Mudiad Meithrin and Grŵp Llandrillo Menai.’

Individuals were filmed signing words in line with the weekly activities of Mudiad Meithrin and members of the public (young and old!) have the opportunity of learning the sign that corresponds to words such as ‘Wales’, ‘family’, ‘animal’, ‘sun’, ‘mud’, ‘rain’, ‘friends’ and ‘play’ etc.

This is a long-term investment. The aim is to produce a new series of words and signs for 2018-19 and 2019-20 and that BSL is seen as an official ‘modern’ language in the near future.

The current Government estimates that there are approximately 3,272 deaf children in Wales (2017). However, the tragedy is that 85% of these deaf children attend schools in Wales where there is no special educational provision for them.

The demand for supporting the deaf in Wales is increasing and the future of sign language is in the hands of these ‘little ones’.

Publication date: 1 February 2018