Woodland Adventure Playgroup, Augher, Clogher Valley Playgroup and Tru Beginnings Community Playgroup, Emyvale, Co Monaghan have been working together on the ‘Sharing From The Start’ project. The cross border partnership has had a number of shared education sessions this term.
‘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.
Together these three pre-schools focused on a variety of activities such as Construction, Physical, Arts & Crafts, Table Top and water and sand as well as visiting farm animals. Recently they welcomed some international education specialists as part of the Early Year’s conference.
Leaders from the settings commented that this experience has led them to become more confident within their own ability to provide a quality curriculum to all the children in their care. Additionally, working within a partnership has helped gather new ideas and strategies from other professionals. As the sessions continued, it became evident that the children were becoming more comfortable and confident with their peers and indeed the leaders which led to relationships forming.
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.
Audrey Rainey (Early Years), Programme Manager said “One of the benefits of the Sharing From The Start project is the professional development of staff and with a cross border partnership like this we can really see that taking place. Our international visitors were so impressed by the work of the leaders and the opportunities provided for the children. We wish the playgroups well for the rest for the rest of their work ahead.”