A new project has been launched which aims to teach sign language to young children through the medium of Welsh.

The scheme, which is being run by Mudiad Meithrin and funded by Bangor University, is the first to teach British Sign Language (BSL) through the medium of Welsh rather than English.

The project will introduce one word per week in Welsh and BSL which will be shown to as many as 12,500 children under the age of four.

Mudiad Meithrin is a voluntary organisation and is the main provider of Welsh-medium early years care and education in the voluntary sector. Their aim is to give every young child in Wales the opportunity to benefit from early years care and education experiences through the medium of Welsh.

The innovative programme, with support from Bangor University’s Widening Access Centre, also aims to make signing in Welsh a “modern” language on the Welsh Joint Education Committee’s GCSE, AS and A2 syllabus.

However, there are concerns over the number of qualified deaf-signing teachers and that 85% of the 3,272 deaf children in mainstream schools do not have special educational provisions available to them.

Delyth Murphy, director of the university’s Widening Access Centre, said it was a “privilege” to be involved in the “unique ground-breaking project”.