Earlier this academic year Loughinisland Playgroup and Crossgar Preschool had a number of shared sessions as part of their work together on ‘Sharing From The Start’. Staff and children visited 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.
Educational outcomes were focussing on PSE, Communication & Listening Skills, World Around Us, Physical Wellbeing improving (Mental Health & Wellbeing) – Parents were encouraged to join in and for some parents it was a chance to meet up with old friends they hadn’t seen in a long time.
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.
Visiting each other’s settings the children got to make new friends and use different resources. They enjoyed both indoors and outdoors, story time and music time. As part of Children’s Mental Health Week they had a session focussing of physical wellbeing and mental health and wellbeing – Story, songs, snacks and lots and lots of physical activities which the children really enjoyed.
Loughinisland Preschool visited Crossgar Preschool for a Christmas Singalong. A great party morning with a special visit from Santa – singing Christmas Songs and playing instruments. The children sang so enthusiastically in front of their very proud parents/grandparents/carers and all received a present from Santa.
For World around Us Day the two preschools came to together to learn about different kinds of animals that we would not see in the zoo or in our environment. A very enjoyable day and lots of learning, meeting different species, watching the animals movement and discussing their habitats, colours, food etc.
Parents were commenting on how the children could not wait for these “Wee days”… “It’s just great to have something like this, so lucky”.. “my goodness, weren’t they brave with the snake” etc… “Thanks girls for all your hard work and efforts into making this so enjoyable for the kids”… “looks like they all have had a fab day”… “they will sleep tonight”
Some feedback from the children included “I loved Crossgar being here yesterday, are coming back another day?”…”Are we going to Crossgar again some day?”…”I loved playing with the Crossgar boys and girls.”…”When are we going to see them again?”
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.