Rural Respecting Difference Programme
The Rural Development Council in partnership with Early Years - the organisation for young children and the National Childhood Network are jointly implementing the Rural Respecting Difference Programme.
The programme has been funded under the PEACE IV Programme and is specfically aimed at rural preschool, daycare and afterschools settings across Northern Ireland and the 6 border counties of Ireland, that are not benefiting from any other Shared Education Programme or the Sharing from the Start Programme.
The Rural Respecting Difference programme offers children opportunities to discuss and acknowledge the similarities and differences between themselves and others.
It also recognises that they need to be able to express more effectively feelings associated with similarities and differences, including those of feeling left out. The Rural Respecting Difference Programme combines a series of cartoon messages with a curriculum. Together they aim to promote positive attitudes to physical, social and cultural differences amongst young children, practitioners and parents. The messages also address bullying behaviours.
The cartoons are set in a play park and feature characters children could easily identify with. The messages in the cartoons are reinforced in early years settings through the use of resources and interactive activities that prompt children to talk about their feelings and attitudes towards the issues explored in the cartoons.
It was based on the Media Initiative for Children (MIFC))TM Respecting Difference Programme developed by Early Years – the organisation for young children and Pii, the Peace Initiatives Institute in the USA. See example video below introducing the character of Lucy.