Playtime Eskra, McClintock Pre-school and Denamona Pre-school have been visiting An Cregán as part of their work together on the Shared Education project ‘Sharing From The Start’.
Children from the partnership have been enjoying outdoor play at An Cregán’s purpose built Wild Woods outdoor classroom. The play facility features a tree house, campfire area and pond dipping platforms all set in natural woodland. This type of play provides exercise, encounters with wild animals and a connection with the environment in a way that cannot be achieved in the classroom.
Supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, Sharing From The Start 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.
Administered by Early Years, working in collaboration with the Fermanagh Trust and National Childhood Network, the project aims to engage almost 10,000 pre-school children in shared activities on an ongoing and sustained basis by 2022. Together these three organisations have a strong track record and over twenty years experience of working for the benefit of children and community relations.
Mairead McCaughey from Playtime Eskra said “It’s so important for the children to have fun and free play like this. It’s a great way for them to learn about the outdoors and they always look forward to it every week”. Belinda Moffitt from McClintock Pre-school added “Coming here is really building their confidence and it’s lovely to see friendships and bonds forming. We’re fortunate to have help from parents as well.”
Audrey Rainey (Early Years), Programme Manager of Sharing From The Start commented “We’re so delighted to see so many children having fun and availing of this fantastic educational facility. Well done to all the staff and children at Playtime, McClintock and Denamona.” Nicola McCormick from Denamona Pre-school added “We wouldn’t have been able to have a programme like this on our own. It’s just one of the many benefits of the three of us working together”.