Lifford Hosts Respecting Difference Training

A set of specially created persona puppets were used to train early years and pre-school practitioners from Donegal and the Strabane District Council area this week in The Old Courthouse, Lifford.

Lifford  Hosts Respecting Difference Training

The Media Initiative Respecting Difference training, under the Rural Respecting Difference Programme, aims to support young children with concepts of bullying, racial discrimination and cultural difference. The teachers and preschool practitioners took part in a two day training programme, where they learned how to implement the programme within their settings.

The training is based on cartoons that are set in a play park and feature characters children can easily identify with. Teachers, classroom assistants and after school leaders were trained to use puppets, a class room curriculum and a range of other developmentally appropriate resources that will help prompt children to talk about their feelings and attitudes towards difference.

All participants received a comprehensive resource pack, including the six puppets, a Service Design Manual, jigsaws, games, posters and stickers to help with the delivery of the Programme in the classroom.

Early Years Specialists will be visiting the rural schools and afterschools over the next few months to provide ongoing support to practitioners to implement the programme. They will support teachers and implement parent information sessions where parents will have an opportunity to experience the programme at first hand. Schools and after schools will also have the opportunity to participate in good relations seminars and get support for developing a Good Relations Action Plan.

Speaking about the Programme Early Years Chief Executive, Siobhan Fitzpatrick CBE noted ‘this initiative helps children to understand and respect others who may be different from themselves. It teaches young children valuable lifelong lessons on respecting difference and through this evidence based initiative we can build a better understanding among children of physical, racial and cultural differences. The programme complements and adds value to the existing curriculums used in schools in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The Rural Respecting Difference Programme was launched in February and is based on the Media Initiative for Children (MIFC) Respecting Difference Programme developed by Early Years – the organisation for young children and Pii, the Peace Initiatives Institute in the USA. The programme is part financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the EU’s PEACE III Programme for Peace and Reconciliation and is being delivered jointly by the Northern Ireland Rural Development Council (RDC), Early Years, and the Border Counties Childhood Network (BCCN).

There is a number of training events organised between May and November and if you would like to find out more information, please contact Seana Quinn, Programme Officer on 028 8676 6980 or squinn@rdc.org.uk.

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