The Omagh partnership this year developed two key curricular areas, the Arts and Physical development, delivered through the topic of ‘People Who Help Us’. Their sessions were delivered through a series of ‘play dates’. Children enjoyed getting to know one another and feeling confident in their new surroundings.
They had a variety of play and craft activities which supported the children’s development as well as development as well as promoting the development of friendships and co- operative relationships with the children and staff from our partner setting.
The children have really enjoyed travelling on the bus to the host setting. This was an experience which some children had never had before. Leaders commented that they have also been able to give the children new experiences to use and work with resources that they do not have in their own settings. The staff offered to share these resources in the future. Not only have they been able to share good practice, but share good resources also!
The children have grown in confidence as they have experienced regular visits to a new setting, with new peers and adults. This has helped them as they prepare for their transition into Year 1. The parents were able to get involved with ‘school life’ by volunteering for the sessions. They really enjoyed seeing their children interact with others and loved visiting the other settings. The children whose parents volunteered had the opportunity for a lovely ‘shared experience’ with their parents. They took pleasure in showing their parent what to do and how to follow the routines of each setting.
Nursery leaders have experienced an array of benefits from involvement in this programme including funding, networking with colleagues, fostering children’s horizons, providing opportunities for parental involvement and creating new friendships within the local community.
Funding and support has enabled them to engage with partner settings as frequently as they’d wish with no concerns over transport costs. It also enabled them to purchase additional resources to facilitate each session and explore some luxury items for the children to engage with together during our shared sessions. Not only have the children developed new friendships so has parents/carers and the staff in each setting.
Principal of Omagh Integrated Gavin Gallagher commented “As an Integrated Primary School & Nursery, the promotion of equality, good relations and respect for cultural diversity are all key components of our ethos and practice. With that in mind, the opportunity to engage in Shared Education is a very welcome one for our school as a whole, for our staff professionally and socially and of course for our pupils. The added element of parental involvement this year has been a successful one and this strengthens links and creates greater respect and understanding. As a school, we are grateful for the guidance offered to our staff in planning for Shared Education. The programme has proven to be a manageable one in terms of preparation, paperwork etc and because of this, staff have been able to focus more upon the key elements of integration, sharing practice, delivery of curriculum and building relationships. We look forward to continuing to engage in Shared Education into the future.”