MEET Newsletter from Early Years

Newry Northern Ireland March 2018
4th partners meeting in Northern Ireland (March 2018)

From Tuesday 13 March to Thursday 15 March the fourth transnational meeting of the MEET Project partners took place in Newry, Northern Ireland hosted by Early Years – the organization for young children. Early Years is involved in an Erasmus+ KA2 MEET (Metacognitive Educational Training) Project with 3 International partners from Italy, Spain and Cyprus

The MEET project aims to empower children’s learning development and to provide an innovative approach to learning, supporting teachers and families to enable young children of all abilities from 3 – 5 years to consolidate their understanding of early mathematical concepts. Within the framework of Early Childhood Education and Care, MEET project’s most important output is an Online Tool using a metacognitive approach towards enhancing logical and mathematics skills through playing. The meeting in Newry concentrated on the evaluation of the pilot of the MEET Tool piloted in Northern Ireland by Carryduff Playgroup and the Newry Centre.

The delegation were welcomed to Newry Early Years Children and Family Centre by Siobhan Fitzpatrick, CEO and Pauline Walmsley, Deputy CEO of Early Years. The participants were also given a tour of the centre both indoors and outdoors and a detailed presentation of the services offered on site by the Centre Manager, Anne Rice.

There was a particular emphasis on the Supported Daycare and Community Pathway programmes offered through the centre which was presented by the Team Leader Sinead Wadforth.

The visitors had the opportunity to visit Windsor Hill Primary School which has strong links with Newry Early Years Centre.
The Principal Mrs Isobel McKane gave a tour of the classrooms, explained the education system in Northern Ireland and how her school maximises the potential of each of the pupils.

Another of the Supported Pathways links with the local community in Newry is through the Clanrye Group based at Slieve Gullion Forest Park. Mr Jordi Boxberger is in charge of the Clanrye Group which aims to train and motivate adults and young people with disabilities or disadvantaged backgrounds to gain qualifications and confidence to progress onto employment or onto further education. They create partnerships with schools and companies within the Newry area including the Newry Early Years Centre where a number of the students are placed.

The delegation also visited the Sticky Fingers Imaginarium with the Newry Centre’s Supported Pathway Daycare programme

Grainne Powell Director of Sticky Fingers and Mr Jim Russell Artist explained the history of the organization to the visitors explaining that since 2002 they have worked directly with over 100,000 children, creating magical arts events across Ireland, visiting schools, playgroups and special needs settings to create new ways of engaging with young children.

Sticky Fingers work with partners across 24 international countries to bring the very best in children’s theatre, music and dance to Northern Ireland as part of their international family festival held in October each year. They have decorated the country side, motor ways and the streets of Newry, with their very special public art and have created a whole world of enchantment and mystery at Slieve Gullion with their famous Giant’s Lair story park.

The MEET Project delegation left Northern Ireland very impressed with the early years services delivered here and by the knowledgeable and interesting people they met. The visit served to strengthen the partnership and valuable learning was gained to take forward the project to its conclusion.