Newtownabbey pre-school providers are ‘Sharing from the Start’

(left to right)  Fiadh Turley, Ruben Neeson, Joanne Barr from Ashgrove Nursery School, Mayor of Newtownabbey Alderman John Smyth, Frankie Magill, Liz Morgan from St Marys On the Hill Playgroup and Amber McWatters
(left to right) Fiadh Turley, Ruben Neeson, Joanne Barr from Ashgrove Nursery School, Mayor of Newtownabbey Alderman John Smyth, Frankie Magill, Liz Morgan from St Marys On the Hill Playgroup and Amber McWatters

Two Newtownabbey pre-school providers, Ashgrove Nursery School and St Mary’s on the Hill Playgroup have partnered together as part of a Shared Education Project Initiative which aims to bring about positive attitudinal and behavioural change amongst children, parents, staff and the wider community.

The ‘Sharing From The Start’ initiative is supported by 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.

Children and teachers from both pre-school settings will come together over the incoming academic year to enjoy a range of activities together.

Experiences will include a focus on promoting children’s Health and Well-Being, particularly though the use of the Arts area of the curriculum, culminating with a joint picnic in Lillian Bland Park in Glengormley at the end of the academic year.

Joanne Barr, Principal at Ashgrove Nursery School, said: “When I was made aware of the possibilities of a joint project such as this, I just knew it was something special and that Ashgrove Nursery School had to be involved.

“The funding we receive from ‘Sharing from the Start’ gives these children an opportunity to meet with other children from within their own community and to join together through play- based experiences, which is a universal means to building good relations with others.

“This is only the beginning of this initiative, and I am looking forward to watching it grow from strength to strength in the coming years.”

Liz Morgan, Leader at St Marys on the Hill Pre-School Playgroup said: “I am so delighted to take part in this fantastic project. ‘Sharing from the Start’ is a great way to develop stronger community links with our partner group in a natural way.

“I feel our shared sessions will highlight the fact our children will engage and interact naturally, in a familiar setting. It will help our children to develop confidence and social skills, having the opportunity to collaborate on a number of exciting planned programmes. We are at the beginning of our journey together. It’s so amazing to start seeing connections being developed and friendships forming already.”

Ashgrove Nursery School will be holding an Open Evening on Wednesday, December 11, from 6pm-7pm for parents whose child/children due to begin Nursery School in September 2020 and an Open Afternoon on Monday, December 16, from 3.30pm–4.30pm for those parents who wish to visit the school with their child.

St. Mary’s on the Hill Pre-school Playgroup will be holding their Open Day on Friday, December 6, from 10-11am for parents whose child/children due to begin their Pre-school year in September 2020.