Ardstraw Playgroup and Little Flower Playgroup, Sion Mills recently showcased their work as part of Shared Education week.
The Sharing From The Start initiative which involves over 2400 children is supported by the European Union’s Peace IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. It involves early years settings throughout Northern Ireland and the Southern Border counties forming cross-community partnerships, and the children taking part in joint curricular classes, improving educational outcomes and promoting good relations.
Last year the two playgroups focused on a number of curriculum activities including music. This term they will be visiting each other’s settings working together on sessions around physical development well as having a number of trips including the library visits.
Their collaborative working featured on the BBC for their Shared Education week coverage during which Sandra Harper leader at Little Flower playgroup said “Without this programme our children wouldn’t have these opportunities. It’s great for building friendships, learning new things and experiencing different experiences.”
Heather Nicholl from Ardstraw Playgroup added “We’re really excited to be working together again this year with our friends from Little Flower. It’s so great to see the children interact, having fun and learning with each other. We’ve been so encouraged as well by the support of our parents.”
The €4.2 million Sharing From The Start project is administered by Early Years working in collaboration with the National Childhood Network and the Fermanagh Trust. Together these three organisations have a strong track record of working for the benefit of children and good 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. This is what the project is all about, creating opportunities for the children, parents and teachers to learn and work together. There’s clearly great enthusiasm for shared education and we wish them every success.”
Match-funding for Sharing From The Start has been provided by the Department of Education in Northern Ireland and the Department of Education and Skills Ireland. For more information CLICK HERE