Cosy Cats and Acorn Montessori came together earlier this year to begin their work on ‘Sharing From The Start’ The pre-school leaders and their staff team planned a series of activities to enhance their work and provide the children with new opportunities.
‘Sharing From The Start’ is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. Funding 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.
Cosy Cats and Acorn Montessori’s story of Shared Education is based on community connections. When they had their first two sessions they observed how the children enjoyed playing with the trains. They planned a trip to local library and museum. It came to their attention that one of the parents worked as a train driver. With all this information they decided they had to have a shared session in Sligo train station and go on a train journey. The children learnt so much about transport and history and literacy in these sessions and built on their partnership with parents. The partnership also held a joint sports day – the ‘Sharing From The Start Olympics’ – to encourage discussion about the different countries taking part.
Administered by Early Years, working in collaboration with the Fermanagh Trust and National Childhood Network, the project aims to engage almost 10,000 pre-school children in shared activities on an 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.
Audrey Rainey (Early Years), Programme Manager of ‘Sharing From The Start’ commented “Well done to Cosy Cats and Acorn Montessori on all their hard work. It’s great to see them embracing shared education and to have such involvement from parents and the wider community. Wonderful for us to see the children taking part in these fun curriculum based opportunities together.”