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Celebration Event Marks Success of 3 year pre school programme

Published on:  03 Dec 2013

A celebration event was held today in Cavan Crystal Hotel, Cavan to mark the success of the Media Initiative for Children Respecting Difference Programme 2011-2013 in Cavan and Monaghan, funded by the International Fund for Ireland.

Developed and run by Early Years – the Organisation for Young Children – the three year ‘Media Initiative for Children Respecting Difference’ programme engaged with some 30 pre-school setting s and reached out to more than 1250 young children in Cavan and Monaghan.  The highly successful preschool programme had previously been rolled out in Northern Ireland and in four of the southern border counties, Louth, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal, funded by the IFI, Atlantic Philanthropies and the Department of Education.


The programme delivered bespoke mutual understanding and diversity training and resource packs for teachers, parents and pre-school managers and offered continuous delivery support from an Early Years specialist.  The programme also featured high impact TV cartoons which complemented the classroom-based activities.  The cartoons ran for 3 weeks at a time, 3 times a year on Channel 4, UTV and RTE.  The themes of the cartoons highlighted physical differences, cultural differences and ethnic differences.

Siobhan Fitzpatrick, Chief Executive of Early Years – the Organisation for Young Children said:   “We are indebted to the International Fund for Ireland for the financial support they have provided to allow us to roll out the Media Initiative Respecting Difference Programme in Cavan and Monaghan over the past three years. Working with our partners in the Border Counties Childhood Network and the Cavan and Monaghan County Child Care Committees we have been able to support 30 early childhood groups implement the programme and support young children, teachers and parents develop a respecting difference culture”. 

Speaking at the event, Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman, International Fund for Ireland said that the Fund was very pleased to provide additional funding to enable this project to be rolled out in Cavan and Monaghan.  “This innovative programme is the first to address sectarian issues in pre-school age children, at that critical time when their attitudes are being developed.  It was highly desirable therefore to roll out this programme to all of the border counties, as the need for this intervention is Cavan and Monaghan is as strong as in the other southern border counties.  The feedback from this programme has been overwhelmingly positive from children, teachers and parents alike.  The success of the ‘Media Initiative for Children Respecting Difference’ programme has shown that no one is too young to hear, understand and respond to the simple message of inclusion and respect”.

Dr Johnston also expressed a collective thanks to the international donors who have supported the work of the International Fund for Ireland for more than twenty-five years: namely, the United States of America, the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.


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