Loughinisland and Crossgar pupils wear “Odd Socks” in support of World Down Syndrome Day


Loughinisland Playgroup and Crossgar Pre-school have been working together on the Shared Education project ‘Sharing From The Start’. Staff and children have been visiting each other’s settings as well as taking part in a series of activities to enhance their learning and provide the children with new opportunities.



The partnership recently held an ‘Odd Socks Day’ to raise awareness of Down Syndrome and raise money for local support group ‘Down Right Incredible – Saintfield’. This was all around their work on diversity and inclusion. Throughout the day the children had the opportunity to learn some sign language.

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.



To celebrate St Patrick’s Day the two pre-schools held an event learning about different cultures and music. Parents and grandparents even had the chance to take part. The children have had music & physical sessions such as Jump Jiggle & Jive, have been on visits to Tobar Mhuire Forest, Crossgar and will be visiting places such as Delamont Country Park & Castle Ward where they will be  learning about plant life, minibeasts, wildlife and shore life.

Eileen Owens, leader at Loughinisland Playgroup commented “Through Sharing From The Start we have been able to have these exciting opportunities for the children where they have learned so much and had lots of fun along the way.” Judy McSherry leader at Crossgar Pre-school added “It’s great for the children to make so many new friends and by working together we are able to do so much more and learn from each other. We are so encouraged as well by the support of parents and the wider community.”



Administered by Early Years, working in collaboration with the Fermanagh Trust and National Childhood Network, the Sharing From The Start project aims to engage almost 10,000 pre-school children in shared activities on an ongoing and sustained basis by 2021. Together these three organisations have a strong track record and over twenty years experience of working for the benefit of children and community relations.

For more information on Sharing From The Start CLICK HERE