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European Week of Regions and Cities Open Days 8-11 October 2007 Linking Early Childhood Services from Northern Ireland in Europe and Beyond. Siobhan Fitzpatrick.

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Presentation on theme: "European Week of Regions and Cities Open Days 8-11 October 2007 Linking Early Childhood Services from Northern Ireland in Europe and Beyond. Siobhan Fitzpatrick."— Presentation transcript:

1 European Week of Regions and Cities Open Days 8-11 October 2007 Linking Early Childhood Services from Northern Ireland in Europe and Beyond. Siobhan Fitzpatrick CEO NIPPA - the Early Years Organisation (N.I.) Ingrid Jones Director Balkans Region

2 Overview of Presentation About NIPPA Overview of the International Project supported by Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation Measure 4.1. Two examples from the programme Strategic Partnership in Eastern Europe and International Network on Peace Building through Early Years services Perspective from the Balkans Lessons Learned and Future Plans

3 NIPPA - the Early Years Organisation the organisation for young children in Ireland Established in shaped and developed against the background of the Troubles 1200 member groups-cross community play groups, day care, parent and toddler, after school, and nursery schools.

4 Employing 5,000 part time and full time staff 1990s growing focus on anti sectarianism and influence from Europe and Internationally - USA, Italy, New Zealand recognised by European Union as Intermediary Funding Body for the Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation I distributed £40 million across the early childhood sector with a focus on investing in young children and their parents as a way of growing a new society 2001 Key note address at World Forum in Athens to share this work to an international audience.

5 Project supported by Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation Measure 4.1 Objectives To provide opportunities for the early years community in Northern Ireland to share best practice at a European and International Level. To early childhood professionals and policy makers from Albania, Belarus, Moldova, Poland, Serbia and Ukraine to the NIPPA modal of early childhood development. To create an international Network of early childhood experts with a focus on peace building through early childhood interventions.

6 Strategic Partnership in Eastern Europe To develop capacity and implement a model of early childhood services in Albania, Belarus, Moldova, Poland, Ukraine and Serbia based on the NIPPA model but tailored to meet the needs of each particular context. 22 weeks training delivered to 140 staff on community development, child development and child centred practice, inclusion and respecting difference. 4 week study visit by staff and representatives from Ministries of Education to Northern Ireland to observe the NIPPA model in practice. Translation of NIPPA materials into Polish, Russian and Albanian. Twinning of village play groups in Northern Ireland to provide resources and equipment for rural play groups in Belarus and Albania. Joint learning initiatives on issues such as working with Traveller and Roma families and Respecting Difference

7 International Network on Early Childhood in Conflict and Post Conflict Societies Working Forum Belfast countries sharing practice and experience on issues facing young children and families in conflict and post conflict societies (Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Chad, Colombia, Israel, Palestine, South Africa, Nepal, Northern Ireland, U.S.A. New Guinea, Rwanda).

8 Strategic programme of work on sharing lessons and solutions to peace building through services for young children and families Key out put a recently published book From Conflict to Peace Building the Power of Early Childhood Services Extension of the network to include representatives from Burundi, Sri Lanka, Iraq and Afghanistan. Strategy focusing on advocacy, research and training

9 Balkans Perspective Benefits of Partnership with NIPPA Enhancement of the NGO staff in 4 countries and early childhood service providers skills to meet the developmental needs of preschool children. Provision of resources and methods to increase the activities that are provided for the children to increase their intellectual abilities, fine motor skills and confidence. Increase in mothers and other caregivers understanding of the importance of play and fun to childrens learning and education. The applicability of using local easily available resources as mediums of learning and creativity.

10 Balkans Perspective Creation of child-centred spaces where children can explore their ideas and have free choice in learning activities. Raising the standards of preschool teaching; Encouraging the participation of parents in their childrens education. Provision of preschool education in remote rural areas, where service provision is limited. Raising the government and communities awareness of the importance of preschool education to childrens learning.

11 Lessons Learned As a region Northern Ireland has much to share in Europe and beyond Sharing and learning is a two way street Importance of the process- relationship building, partnership, ability to provide first hand experience of the NIPPA model in practice, flexibility in implementation, importance of documentation and evaluation, committing for the long term. Significance of European programme funding such as Measure 4.1 in giving visibility, credibility to our work both inside and outside Northern Ireland and providing leverage to other sources of funding. Importance of work with young children and families and research evidence from this work as part of a wider strategy of peace building and conflict resolution

12 Future Plans Continued and enhanced programme of work across Eastern and Central Europe with a specific focus on community capacity building and inclusion. Continued expansion and development of International Network on Peace building a programme of work with a focus on research, training and advocacy. Dissemination of the book From Conflict to Peace Building -35,000 copies to be distributed this Autumn in USA, followed by individual country launches. Major programme of longitudinal research in Northern Ireland on the impact of the NIPPA approach to tackling sectarianism, racism and bullying in young children, their teachers and parents. International Conference on Early Childhood and Peace building 2009/2010

13 A final thought No child is born hating another child because of the colour of their skin, or her background or her religion. People must learn to hate and if they can learn to hate they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite Nelson Mandela


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