Woodland Adventure Playgroup, Augher, Clogher Valley Playgroup and Tru Beginnings Community Playgroup, Emyvale, Co Monaghan are working together on their second year of the €4.2 million ‘Sharing From The Start’ project.
Representatives from Early Years, Fermanagh Trust, National Childhood Network, Woodland Adventure Playgroup, Clogher Valley Playgroup and Tru Beginnings Playgroup at the SEUPB project management committee
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.
During a recent presentation to a meeting of the SEUPB project management committee the cross border partnership had the chance to showcase their work. Sinead Donaghey, leader at Clogher Valley Playgroup said “Our key educational focus last year was physical development including gymnastics which was led by a parent volunteer. Our focus this term is music and drama and we plan to extend the children’s experiences within the arts whilst encouraging local individuals with different musical talents to become involved within sessions. Another positive and unexpected outcome is that it has helped children in their progression to primary school.”
Dympna McKenna, leader at Tru Beginning playgroup said “Through this project, we are really encouraged by the support of our parents. It has also strengthened our professional practice. We have learnt a lot from each other and have developed our skills and knowledge, values and attitudes. Participating in this project has supported us to connect and integrate with the local community more, we are actively supporting children citizenship and we will continue to grow and build on this going forward.”
Roisin McGovern leader of Woodland Adventure Playgroup added “Having three different settings who follow a variety of different guidelines gives us all the opportunity to learn from each other. This is something that we have never been gifted to do until now. I feel this is a brilliant programme as it gives all children the opportunity to engage with each other and this helps to promote their confidence, communication and social skills. I would like to hope that this will be continuing for many years to come and that we can continue to work together through Shared Education for a more peaceful community.”
Sharing From The Start 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. Siobhan Fitzpatrick, CEO of Early Years said “It was terrific that these local playgroups had the opportunity to present to representatives from the European Commission and officials from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to share their valuable work and the benefits the project is making within their communities.” 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