Cross Border Collaboration


Sharing from the Start

The latest Newsletter from Sharing from the Start

  SftS Vol 7                               

"As we move into the fourth year of the Sharing from the Start programme, we take this opportunity to reflect on the continued success of the project and the lasting positive impact on educational and shared outcomes for children participating in the project. We look forward to hearing this in more detail at the Launch of the Shared Education Impact Evaluation findings Conference being hosted by SJC Consultancy and NCB, which will showcase a number of Sharing from the Start partnerships.  To date, over 7,000 preschool children from 106 different preschool settings, have been benefitting from participation in purposeful, direct and sustained curriculum based shared education classes and over 150 preschool practitioners have built their capacity to confidently facilitate. 

Although the last number of months have been challenging, it is clear from the continued commitment and dedication shown by the preschool settings, that Shared Education remains an integral part of their development planning and vision for their setting. With ongoing restrictions in place which do not currently support peer face to face contact, partner settings have been working closely with the Senior Early Years Specialist team to develop innovative and creative methods for facilitating virtual engagement across communities. As we move into 2021 we remain focussed on continuing to deliver high quality outcomes for children, developing respect for diversity and promoting good relations within the community."

- Pauline Walmsley, CEO Early Years




The ‘Sharing from the Start’ project is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). It involves early years settings throughout Northern Ireland and the Southern Border counties forming cross-community and/ or cross-border partnerships, and the children taking part in joint curricular classes, improving educational outcomes and promoting good relations.

Sharing from the Start will be 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 and over twenty years experience of working for the benefit of children and community relations development.

The main activities of the project, which will run from September 2017 – June 2021 include:

    • Developing neighbouring shared education pre-school partnerships;
    • Training of pre-school staff on a shared basis;
    • Supporting pre-school partnerships to develop and implement a policy to sustain shared education in their settings beyond the end of the project, to sustain inclusion, equality and diversity;
    • Involving parents in workshops and activities;
    • The project will give priority to children from marginalised and divided communities, ethnic minority communities and vulnerable socio-economic backgrounds.
    • Engaging  9,914 pre-school children in shared education activities on an ongoing and sustained basis over the duration of the project.

Shared Education will reduce community divisions in NI and RoI where children predominantly have little interactions with other children from differing backgrounds. Research shows that children develop prejudices from an early age, which further highlights the need for Shared Education to improve community relations. Research and experience show there is demand for Shared Education among pre-schools, schools and young people.

Sharing from the Start will place a strong emphasis on developing and deepening reconciliation between divided communities, increase tolerance and respect, promote increased community cohesion and contact and enhance cross-border cooperation. Our aim is to use the provision of direct, sustained, curriculum based contact between children and teachers from different backgrounds to promote good relations and enhance children’s skills and attitudes to contribute to a cohesive society. For more information please click on


Rural Respecting Difference Programme

A cross border collaboration between The Rural Development Council,  Early Years Organisation and National Childhood Network


 Here is the latest Newsletter from RRDP