‘Fun With Drums’ was the latest session in a packed programme between Ardstraw Playgroup and their friends from Little Flower Playgroup, Sion Mills. The two pre-schools have been working together on the Shared Education project ‘Sharing From The Start’.
Supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, Sharing From The Start enables pre-schools to take part in Shared Education projects improving educational outcomes and cross-community cohesion, inclusion and diversity. A number of neighbouring pre-school partnerships have been developed throughout Northern Ireland and the Southern Border Counties.
Sandra Harper from Little Flower Playgroup said “For our work together we’ve been to Barrontop Fun Farm, had music sessions in Strabane Library, a fun with drums session and in the coming weeks we’ll be visiting Tropical World in Letterkenny. The big benefit we notice from taking part in Sharing From The Start is the social aspect, not only in the children making new friends but getting out and about, doing new things and having new experiences.”
Heather Nicholl from Ardstraw Playgroup added “It’s so great to see the children interact and engage with each other. It’s all about learning new skills, building confidence and encouraging creativity all whilst having fun. We’re keen to have parental involvement and we’re fortunate that our parents have been so supportive and engaged in a number of our sessions.”
Administered by Early Years, working in collaboration with the National Childhood Network and the Fermanagh Trust, ‘Sharing From The Start’ aims to engage almost 10,000 pre-school children in shared activities on ongoing and sustained basis by 2022. Together these three organisations have a strong track record and over twenty years experience of working for the benefit of children and community relations development.
Audrey Rainey (Early Years), Programme Manager of Sharing From The Start commented “Well done to Sandra, Heather and everyone at the Ardstraw and Little Flower Playgroups. It’s wonderful to see them taking part in such a wide range of fun and educational activities. There’s clearly great enthusiasm for shared education and we wish them every success for the rest of their work together this year.”