Children from Bligh’s Lane Nursery School in Derry, Stepping Stones Playgroup in St Johnston and Cockhill Community Pre-School in Buncrana were getting into the festive spirit by performing Christmas carols at Rathmor Shopping Centre and Brickfield Court Nursing Home. The three pre-schools are working together on the shared education project ‘Sharing From The Start’.
Children from the cross-border partnership worked hard throughout December rehearsing all the old favourites like Jingle Bells and Away in a Manger. They thoroughly enjoyed belting out the songs to the Brickfield residents and the local shoppers at Rathmor. To finish up their day the children gave Christmas cards and presents to the nursing home residents.
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.
Marie Murphy from Stepping Stones added “Our three pre-schools working together has been great for the children to make new friends and to have new experiences like this Christmas event. Our parents have been also brilliant with their help and support during the shared sessions.” Rosie Devlin from Cockhill Community Pre-School said “For the rest of our work together we will be focussing sessions around music, library visits and more community events like this. Sharing not only works in terms of the children’s learning but it’s great for our staff development as well.”
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. Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department of Education in Northern Ireland and the Department of Education and Skills Ireland.
Margaret O’Doherty from Bligh’s Lane Nursery said “It’s wonderful that through our shared education work together we have been able to reach out to the community at Christmas. We’re so proud of the children who were so confident performing to the different audiences. The most important aspect of the children’s learning today was that they experienced the joy of giving to others whether that be something physical like chocolates or cards or whether it be the giving of your time or entertainment in the form of songs.”
For more information on Sharing From The Start click here