Kenna Morrison, Early Years Worker, East Dunbartonshire
“I am lucky enough to work in a smaller nursery so I get to spend lots of quality time with each individual child and get to know them all very well, building a close bond with them. They make me laugh every day with all the stories they tell me.”
1. Why have you chosen to work in a career in Gaelic early years?
Came from Gaelic education & enjoyed learning it so wanted to help others learn it and enjoy it like I did.
2. Have you always worked in social services?
No, when I left school I went straight into an office apprenticeship and worked there for two years before going to college for Early Years.
3. Tell us more about your job?
Gaelic full immersion nursery. Mixture between free play and adult led activities to incorporate more specific Gaelic language. Happy and nurturing environment with a lot of child involvement in their own learning. The children decide for themselves what they want our nursery topics to be and we spend a term learning about it.
4. What inspires you in your job?
Hearing from the parents that the children have been using Gaelic in the house, especially if they have little or no Gaelic at home and that they are excited to come into Sgoil-Àraich showing that they enjoy what they are learning.
5. What are the best bits about your job?
Interacting with the children and building relationships with them and the families. I am lucky enough to work in a smaller nursery so I get to spend lots of quality time with each individual child and get to know them all very well, building a close bond with them. They make me laugh every day with all the stories they tell me.
Seeing the children’s confidence and language develop and hearing them use Gaelic with each other in their free play and at snack and lunch times.
6. How do you support the children in learning Gàidhlig?
Songs and actions, circle games. Facal Focus – focusing learning and activities on a word / words for 2 weeks. To support the children, we actively support the parents. Daily and routine words are sent home to parents so that they can use and encourage the children to use at home. Gaidhlig Bookbug packs being sent home.
7. In what way is you job rewarding?
Getting positive feedback from the parents. Hearing from them and seeing in the morning that the children want to and are excited to come into Sgoil-Àraich and want to stay longer when it is home time. Hearing the children use Gaelic in their own play and conversations without adult initiation. When they use words and phrases they have picked up from listening to adults speak to each other in Gaelic.
8. What skills & qualities are needed to do your job?
You need to enjoy working with children and be very patient. Flexible and easy going as things don’t always go to plan in the nursery so you have to be able to adapt to meet their wants and needs. Enjoy getting messy and having fun and don’t take yourself too seriously.
9. Has the job opened new opportunities for you?
Took part in Fàs Program funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig to develop Gaelic for Early Years Practitioners in Gaelic Medium Education. I got the opportunity to spend a week in both Eriskay and South Uist to fully emerge in Gaelic culture and experience it in the local communities. We also got weekly Gaelic classes and regular college days where we spent the full day engaging in language lessons and songs/activities/sharing ideas to take back and use in our own Sgoil-Araichs. Really motivating program and would encourage anyone to take part in it if they get the opportunity. I also have the role of Maths Champion in the nursery, encouraging and promoting maths and numeracy.
10. What would you say to someone who was thinking of working in the Gaelic Early years sector?
Don’t be put off because you don’t think your Gaelic is good enough or you haven’t spoken it in a while. I was out of Gaelic for almost 10 years and my biggest worry was my Gaelic being very basic and not being good enough. But I have received nothing but encouragement and support to advance my language skills and am capable of fully supporting the children with their learning.
Read more #DèanDiofarTràth-bhliadhnaichean case studies here.