A Barrhead playgroup with a bilingual twist is proving popular with parents and children alike.

Thig a Chluich – or ‘Come and Play,’ as it is in English – has provided Gaelic education to families across East Renfrewshire for two years.

The fun includes playgroup and bookbug sessions, making sure that those who go along are provided with the opportunity to practise the language, as well as enjoying the company of others who are keen to learn Gaelic.

Previously run in Clarkston, the sessions now take place at The Foundry, in Barrhead, and can see up to 20 families going along each fortnight.

Emma Holmes, parental advisor for Comann nam Pàrant, which runs the sessions, told the Barrhead News: “What we do can be a huge support to families.

“It is fascinating that, even though we have one or two families who have native speakers, the overwhelming majority of those who come along don’t have any Gaelic at all.

“The grandfather in one family had been a Gaelic speaker but it had not been passed on, so the family now want to get it back.

“Exposure before the age of seven is vital for kids and what we are doing with children so young will really help them.

“We know that bilingualism isn’t a big deal at all for kids under the age of three – it just becomes normal for them, as they are so malleable.”

Comann nam Pàrant is an organisation that supports access to Gaelic education for parents and children across the country.

It is a publicly-funded body which provides similar services to local groups who may otherwise have no formal access to Gaelic for children.

As well as what goes on at the Thig a Chluich sessions, staff work closely with the nearest Gaelic nursery – Lyoncross, in the Pollok area of Glasgow – to integrate learning.

Ms Holmes added: “A lot of the parents at Lyoncross do not speak Gaelic, so we work with the nursery to support them as well as their children.

“If there is a particular book or reading task that month, we try to cover it at the sessions and take some of the pressure off of the parents.

“Quite often, they can be nervous when they first come along about not being able to speak anything at all but that fades pretty quickly.

“We have songs and rhymes that we do every week, they are staples, and we go through them so that, by the time the parents leave, they will at least be able to speak a few words or phrases.”