London Mayor Boris Johnson and The One Show presenter Alex Jones welcomed Cyw, the friendly face of Welsh language broadcaster S4C’s nursery service, to the city on Tuesday 7 September.
The Mayor’s meeting with the loveable character took place at the Stock Exchange shortly before Cyw (the Welsh word for chick, pronounced like the letter ‘q’) and other iconic characters from the service made a brief visit to the capital’s Welsh-language school, Ysgol Gymraeg Llundain (London Welsh School). There they met The One Show’s Alex and London’s Welsh-speaking schoolchildren.
Alex, a former children’s presenter on the Welsh-language Channel, was at the school to celebrate the extension of Cyw to the weekends.
Since its launch in June 2008, Cyw has been recognised as playing an integral role in the education of pre-school and young children in Wales – and in schools such as Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Llundain – as found in the findings of major research published in 2009.
This research has coincided with an encouraging and consistent increase in the numbers of primary school children able to speak Welsh.
Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Llundain headmistress Menna George explains, “Living in the centre of London there is not much Welsh to be heard or read. Cyw is a valuable resource for our pupils – its fun nature and interactivity online and on television encourages the children to learn without knowing that they are learning. In our school we use Cyw as an alternative resource into the education of our pupils.”
Research has shown that a large majority of teachers see Cyw’s programmes and the website as an invaluable resource in the classroom. It also found that the service had managed to increase viewership and attract substantial off-screen interest online.
“There is a Welsh identity to the programmes which are produced. There is definitely originality, and things which are relevant. Cyw spreads the message that it’s a living language,” said one parent.
Siân Eirian, S4C’s Head of Children Services, says, “Cyw has a tremendous following among pre-school children and their parents, and this is a great way for our younger viewers outside Wales to get the chance to meet Cyw face-to-face ahead of the extended provision in October.
“S4C is recognised as a leading broadcaster in children’s programming, which is due to the quality of programming produced by the Welsh programme producers.”