Triangle schools celebrate shared education project

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PRIMARY schools across the Triangle area gathered at Ballysally Primary School to celebrate the first academic year of a creative shared education programme.

Through the two-year Creative Change Project, funded by the International Fund for Ireland and delivered by the University of Ulster, ten local schools paired up to explore how storytelling and arts-based learning can enhance cross-community relations between schools and within neighbourhoods.

In the past year, the project’s creative specialists have worked with teachers, parents, carers and classroom assistants to provide skills and resources that support focused storytelling, drama, art and music activities.

These are designed to promote ease with difference and help enhance children’s personal and academic development and create new friendships between partnering schools.

The Creative Change Project has established five partnerships between primary schools in the Triangle area of Coleraine, Portrush and Portstewart.

They are: Mill Strand Integrated Primary and Harpur’s Hill Primary; Millburn Primary and St Malachy’s Primary; St Patrick’s Primary and Carnalridge Primary; St John’s Primary and Killowen Primary; and St Colum’s Primary and Ballysally Primary.

To date 280 children and almost 400 parents have been involved in the project along with 11 teachers, 13 classroom assistants, 10 principals and 74 PGCE students.

Billy Gamble, Board Member of the International Fund for Ireland said: “The Creative Change Project is about bringing schools and communities together. The creative arts and storytelling have an important role within the classroom and can give teachers, classroom assistants and parents confidence to discuss big questions and guide children towards positive understandings of our society.”

Dr Derick Wilson, Creative Change Project Manager added: “It offers parents an opportunity to take part in storytelling and music workshops held within schools and at the University of Ulster.”

The Creative Change Project will run until December next year.