This article reports on the development and systematic evaluation of an innovative early years programme aimed at encouraging young children to respect differences within a deeply-divided society that is emerging out of a prolonged period of violent conflict. The programme, the Media Initiative for Children – Northern Ireland, has been the product of a partnership between an US-based organisation (the Peace Initiatives Institute) and NIPPA – The Early Years Organisation and has been supported by academic research and the efforts of a range of voluntary and statutory organisations. It has attempted to encourage young children to value diversity and be more inclusive of those who are different to themselves through the use of short cartoons designed for and broadcast on television as well as specially-prepared curricular materials for use in pre-school settings. To date the programme has been delivered through 200 settings to approximately 3,500 pre-school children across Northern Ireland. This article describes how the programme was developed and implemented as well as the rigorous approach taken to evaluating its effects on young children’s attitudes and awareness. Key lessons from this are identified and discussed in relation to future work in this area.
|Number of pages||16|
|Journal||International Journal of Early Years Education|
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - 1 Oct 2006|