What do we need to think about?
There are two different issues to consider, and it is easy to mix them up
- how well is a child learning Gaelic?
- how is a child’s general language development going?
It is helpful to look at both of these. Progress in Gaelic is about learning a particular language. Language development is about the brain areas that underlie using any language.
We have to think slightly differently depending on whether Gaelic is a child’s “first” language, or whether they are learning Gaelic as a new language. For example, a child may have come to a Gaelic Medium setting, but has English as a “first” language
Gaelic as a first language
Another language as first language
A child may be doing well with language development, but needing help to learn Gaelic specifically. You can tell this if they are doing OK in their “first” language. Or they may be finding Gaelic difficult because of concerns about language development more generally – in which case they will have concerns also in their “first” language.
You can track how well a child is learning Gaelic using …[to be added]
To check on more general language development, use the Developmental Overviews, but make sure you are doing this with the child’s strongest language. For Early Years Practitioners, you can ask parents to help with this.