Sunday, 18 February 2018
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January 2017

School gate chat for January 2017...

Having Your Say

The NI Executive have launched two public consultations seeking views which could have a profound impact on children’s and families’ lives in Northern Ireland. The Children and Young People’s Strategy from the Department of Education sets out how the Executive plans to work collaboratively with children’s authorities and children’s service providers to improve the lives of children and young people here. Education Minister, Peter Weir, said: “The strategy, when finalised, will provide direction to government departments and children’s authorities to deliver improved services for children and young people in areas including health, family and education.” The consultation period ends on February 27 and you can find dates of events, the consultation document and questionnaire through the Department of Education website at

Health Minister Michelle O’Neill has also announced an eight-week consultation on regulations to restrict smoking in private vehicles when children are present. The draft regulations propose that it will be an offence to; smoke in a private vehicle with someone under 18 present, and to fail to prevent smoking in a private vehicle with someone under 18 present. Minister O’Neill said: “Children are more susceptible than adults to harm caused by others’ cigarette smoke as they have smaller lungs and less developed immune systems. It is inconceivable that we continue to allow children to be exposed to such harm while travelling within the confined space of a car.” Northern Ireland is the only area of the UK and Ireland where a total ban is not already in place. The consultation document is available on the DoH website at until March 3.

Fun For Under Fives

The Playful Museums Festival is arriving at a museum near you this February! The Festival will run from February 1 to 28, 2017 and events will include free, drop-in and bookable activities for children under five years and their families. Eighteen museums across Northern Ireland will be taking part in exciting and imaginative ways. A mix of storytelling, arts, music, multi-sensory, movement and play will create enjoyable experiences for the very smallest of visitors. Programmes are designed to encourage learning and development from an early age and most importantly of all – it’s fun!
Playful Museums are excited to welcome early years children with their families and carers to local museums and the full programme of events will be available from January 2017. So come along and join in! Playful Museums is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and delivered by the Northern Ireland Museums Council. For further details visit; email, call Tel: 028 9055 0215 or follow the Facebook page for all the up-to-date news @playfulmuseums-nimc

Watching The Birdie

Nature charity RSPB NI is encouraging local families to take part in the world’s biggest wildlife survey this month. The Big Garden Birdwatch is a chance for everyone to help nature by donating just one hour to count the birds and other wildlife in their gardens. The data gathered from this survey provides a vital health check of the wildlife that makes its home here. In 2016 Starlings swooped into top spot after being seen in almost 70 per cent of gardens and green spaces but which feathered friend will be flying high after the 2017 count? Register to take part at and spend one hour counting the birds you see at any time during January 28, 29 or 30. You can also use the handy online bird counting tool on the website to identify and record the birds as you see them directly on your laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Children can also get involved by counting the birds which visit their school grounds until February 17. Teachers can get involved in Big Schools’ Birdwatch at

97 & 100 The predicted age of life expectancy at birth by 2066 for a boy and girl, respectively.

68% The number of dads who describe themselves as bad or terrible dancers.

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