Transition time is here again! Transition to big school can bring a range of emotions for young children and families.  Some may feel excited, others scared or worried. Moving on is a big change for children and one that needs careful management and support 

Following a very successful first roll out of the transition postcards last year we would like to invite all service providers to engage with us again in supporting children transition to big school. Thank you to all of you who took part last year, we had some wonderful examples of the voice of the child supported by early childhood settings.

It is very important to NCN that children have their voice heard as they take this step to school. Transitioning to school is such an important time in children’s lives. Like you, we would like the children’s new teachers to know about what is important to children.

In working across the country to deliver the Healthy Ireland Smart Start programme, NCN has seen lots of fantastic examples of settings supporting children and families transition to big school. We know that you work hard to enable smooth transitions to take place.

 As part of supporting transitions again and helping children to have their voice heard during this essential phase of their lives we are sending all services a postcard template for children moving on to big school. The postcard shows teachers what is important to children.  In supporting schools listen to the voice of children NCN are supporting the idea of ‘ready schools’.  “Ready schools are schools that are prepared for children who are already strong, competent and confident learners “(NCCA, 2018). 

 We envisage that each child will have their own postcard to take to school either for the school’s open day or on their very first day there. Children can draw or paint the most important things they want their new teacher and school to know about them.

We have included some examples from children from the Ballyhaise Pre-School in Cavan who continue to support us in our work.

If you would like to be involved, please download the card, enable children have the materials to draw or paint and support them by writing what they have said underneath their pictures.  Children can then take their postcards with them and let their new teacher know what is important to them.

In doing this we feel that this will enable the children to communicate very important things about themselves to their new teacher and school and enable new relationships to build.

Please let us know what the children have said.   Don’t forget to ask the children if they would like to be involved first and ensure you have children and families permission to send us their work.

Thank you for getting involved!

 Transitions 1 x    Transitions 2 x

Transitions Blank Template          Transitions Template Irish




Sharing from the Start

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




babies with books         child picking flowers             man person cute young


The Growing Child Programme is designed to support and educate parents on how their children will learn and develop in the early years. It is delivered to you in your own home each month by a Family Visitor. You will find your Family Visitor is well informed, very supportive and respectful. The monthly home visit provides you with the opportunity to:

- Understand about your child's stage of development
- Learn how to encourage this development
- Talk about your child's achievements
- Discuss any concerns you may have

By participating in Lifestart's Growing Child Programme, you receive:

- Monthly home visits
- Growing Child information which is just right for your child;s stage of development
- Health and Safty Information
- News about events and services in your community

Lifestart is available in Sligo/Leitrim, Donegal and newly available in Monaghan

For more information take a look at this video about the Lifestart Growing Child Programme


Click on the images to download the leaflets

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Ideas for Play with babies & young childen