This year’s Early Years International Professional Practice Conference celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. The conference, which was held at the University of Ulster’s Magee Campus featured professionals and key experts with many working within the early years sector, local and national government and community groups in attendance.
The ‘Sharing From The Start’ project was featured at the conference and it’s links to Articles of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. The project involves early years settings throughout Northern Ireland and the Southern Border counties forming cross-community and / or cross-border partnerships, and the children taking part in joint curricular classes, improving educational outcomes and promoting good relations. This is being achieved through the implementation of purposeful, direct and sustained curriculum based contact between children of predominately different religious backgrounds and different ethnic or socio-economic backgrounds.
Senior Early Year’s specialists involved in Sharing From The Start delivered workshops at the conference around the themes of promoting good relations and building inclusive environments. They gave examples and case studies of various pre-school partnerships involved and how they highlight similarities while celebrating individuality, all of which is contributing to breaking down barriers.
Practitioners involved in Sharing From The Start shared their own experiences of how being involved in shared education is improving community relations and how it is beneficial for all, not only the children having the opportunity to learn together but also staff and parents.