Jolly Pirates Preschool and Tonagh Nursery – Lisburn

Lisburn preschools Jolly Pirates and Tonagh Nursery have been working together as part of the Sharing From The Start programme. The two partnered together as part of the Shared Education initiative which aims to bring about positive attitudinal and behavioral change amongst children, parents, staff and the wider community. Earlier this year they took part in a number of shared sessions.



The ‘Sharing From The Start’ initiative 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.


Jolly Pirates and Tonagh Nursery’s children took part in action songs and rhymes, listened to stories from their local librarian, shared snacks together, played together and came together at the end of the session to discuss their day and say good bye. The more they progressed through shared sessions, the more interactive the children became with each other.



They were pleased with the parent turn out at our December event where they held a joint Christmas party. The children enjoyed an interactive performance from Aldo the Magician and had a party snack together. The parents then joined in for a story and play, Christmas sing along and dummy tree, where the children had the opportunity to give up their dummies by hanging them on the dummy tree for Santa’s baby reindeer.


When the children discussed going to visit their partner nursery again they would be excited and ask how many days? A lot of children and parents looked at the photos of the sessions on display in each classroom.  They used a book called ‘The Smeds and The Smoos’ to extend the links within their settings, as the characters are blue and red, like their jumpers. The children really enjoyed the story and the links that it had to the blue and red jumpers.  They also dressed puppets in jumpers from each other’s settings for circle time discussions.



The leaders of Jolly Pirates and Tonagh commented that has been a great opportunity to get to develop friendships and work alongside other preschool settings sharing good practice.


Parents comments included-

‘_______ enjoyed this so much as she made a lot of new friends. Which I think is the important part of it’

‘_______loves getting to play together with Jolly Pirates’

‘It’s very good mixing with other children. ______ loves playing with _____ and _____.’

‘Great idea mixing with other children. _____ loves making new friends.’


Their  educational outcomes were-

  1. Develop attention and listening skills during story time.
  2. Develop GMS during action songs and rhymes.
  3. Develop friendships with peers.
  4. Develop GMS during outdoor play.