Katrina Lucas: Using Scots in the Early Years
Former Scots Language Coordinator, Katrina Lucas, on practical ways to introduce Scots to an early years audience.
I'm Katrina Lucas, I'm a primary teacher at Comely Park Primary in Falkirk, and I've recently arrived back in school, having had two years on secondment with Education Scotland, as a Scots Language Coordinator. Scots is one of the three indigenous languages of Scotland. The other two, of course, being English and Gaelic. And there are a huge number of native Scots speakers in Scotland who don't necessarily realize they're speaking Scots, because it's not being validated. Part of my role was to look at what people are speaking, and tell them: "Yes, there is a value to what you're doing". And in nursery, more importantly than anywhere else. Because we're trying to encourage good vocabulary work, good communication skills, and that level of personal identity and engagement with their community, and that's what comes through with Scots. You can encourage children to develop their vocabulary, in both Scots and English, by sharing a Scots book - they're good for a cuddle. Whether it's a bosie, or a cuddle, or a hug. Picture books are wonderful, translations are great; if you've got a favourite story in English, look and see if we've got a Scots equivalent. The Gruffalo has been translated into a variety of different Scots regional dialects, and so there's bound to be something that'll suit you. There are all these gruffaloes roaming around Scotland at the moment, each one with their own distinct variety of Scots. Scots and song is also really, really important in helping develop phonological awareness, the idea of rhythm and rhyme, as well as the fun element, and it's important in terms of Scottish culture. I'm not saying forget about English by any means, but what I am saying is give Scots some respect and have a look at it, in terms of: "How can I enrich my child's vocabulary and how can I engage them with talking about language and engaging with literacy?”