Hannah and Craig Wickham from Blackwood had limited exposure to the Welsh language during their school years, and decided early on that they wanted a Welsh-medium education for their daughter, Mali.

Cymraeg for Kids has been an essential first step on Mali’s journey to becoming bilingual.

“I decided to attend baby massage as I was actively looking for Welsh-medium classes to take Mali to. My husband, Craig and I don’t speak Welsh as we had limited exposure to it at school, but we had already discussed Mali’s education before she was born and decided we would like her to go to a Welsh-medium school and become a fluent Welsh speaker, as we both felt this was the route that would give her the best chance of becoming bilingual. 

“As I don’t speak Welsh, I wanted to go somewhere she could hear the language being spoken, and I could pick up phrases to use with Mali as well. We do baby massage every night before bed and practice the songs and things like parts of the body in Welsh. 

“What I enjoyed most about the sessions is that they are run through the medium of Welsh, so Mali is exposed to the language, but Kate (the Cymraeg for Kids officer) would translate everything, so as a non-Welsh speaker I felt comfortable and included. The baby massage was a way of bonding with Mali and learning the language at the same time. 

"Currently we don’t have much opportunity to use the language outside of these sessions so it’s great to have chance to practice where we feel comfortable. Kate also provided leaflets so I could also go home and teach my husband phrases and key words to use with Mali." 

“Both Craig and I think that being able to speak Welsh is an important skill for Mali, as well as being part of our Welsh heritage and culture. We also hope that this will make learning further languages easier, and open up more doors for her in her future career aspirations.”

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