Pre-school settings on both sides of the border are looking forward to working together again on Shared Education activities thanks to the €4.2million project Sharing From The Start.
The Sharing From The Start initiative is supported 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.
In it’s first year of the project there were 1800 children involved from 67 pre-schools across the region. By partnering with a neighbouring pre-school, staff, parents and children were able to avail of many opportunities including tutoring, trips, performances and various curriculum based activities. Starting this term there will be over 2400 children involved with a number of new pre-schools joining the programme. All of them are now busy planning their shared sessions and looking forward to starting their work together.
Sharing From The Start is administered by Early Years working in collaboration with the National Childhood Network and the Fermanagh Trust. Together these three organisations have a strong track record of working for the benefit of children and good relations development. Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department of Education in Northern Ireland and the Department of Education and Skills in the Republic of Ireland.
Audrey Rainey Programme Manager of Sharing From The Start commented “Feedback from those pre-schools involved in the project so far has been very positive and encouraging. Staff and pupils enjoyed working together and they’ve experienced the benefits that come from enjoying good relations with friends from different communities. We’re particularly pleased that so many more children will be joining Sharing From The Start and availing of the opportunities in this second year of the project. This work will contribute significantly to the Shared Education agenda and making sharing a reality for all pre-school children.”