Almost 300 Gaelic-speaking children from around Scotland were in the capital this week for the eighth annual Gaelic Schools Week, organised by Comann nam Pàrant with support from Comunn na Gàidhlig. This year’s event has activities at the Royal Botanic gardens, National Galleries, National Museum, Edinburgh Castle and Our Dynamic Earth. Pupils from as far afield as Lewis, Harris, Dunoon, Mallaig, Skye, Forfar, Tain and Inverness as well as schools from the Central Belt enjoyed the opportunity to use Gaelic outwith the classroom in a wide range of different situations.
Magaidh Wentworth, of Comann nam Pàrant, explained:
“Educational visits are so important for children’s development and perception of the language and this event provides an opportunity to learn through enjoying a number of more unusual activities through the medium of Gaelic. It also provides an opportunity to raise the profile of the language in the capital city.”
Mary MacMillan, Head of Education and Learning at Bòrd na Gàidhlig which is funding the project, added:
“The Gaelic week in Edinburgh offers an excellent opportunity for children to use their Gaelic language in a wide range of activities and subject. They also have the opportunity to meet other Gaelic speakers from across of the country. This highlights to them from an early age that Gaelic is spoken across Scotland in urban and rural areas.”
The Gaelic Schools Week has run at RBGE since 2002 where tropical botanist, Mark Newman, who speaks Gaelic, gives scientific and linguistic support.
Cath Evans, Education Officer at the gardens, who is also involved with the week, said:
“This year our topic is Scottish Trees. The children will interact with native trees and plants, learn how to identify them and appreciate the diversity in our Scottish woodlands. Walking around the garden, we learn about the parts of trees and what they do. We also look at the traditional and modern uses of trees and use props and play games to help us learn. We hope that children go away excited about plants and with an understanding of the work that Botanic Gardens do.”