We Are An Active School
We are delighted here in School Mháthair Dé to have been awarded our Active Schools Flag after a very busy school year of lots of activities and hard work during the 2018-29 school year. The Active School Flag (ASF) is awarded to schools that strive to achieve a physically educated and physically active school community. The process aims to get more schools, more active, more often. We will continue during this new school year to maintain our high standards and continue to focus on being active.
PE School Plan
All classes in our school are taught five of the six strands of the PE curriculum each year. The six strands are: Aquatics, Athletics, Games, Dance, Gymnastics and Outdoor and Adventure.
Since undertaking the Active School Flag, the school has created a standardised PE timetable for the school year so that all classes are taught the same strand at the same time. The standardised PE timetable ensures a balanced amount of teaching time to these strands throughout the school year.
The plan highlights the PSSI lesson plans to guide teachers in their planning of PE. The PSSI lessons have been made easily accessible for all teachers to use.
The school plan also ensures that PE is discussed with parents at PT meetings and feedback is included in the annual school report.
Class PE Timetables
Physical Education is allocated 1 hour per week of overall teaching time. In November, the Active Schools Committee checked that every class has 60 minutes PE time in their timetable. They confirmed that all classes were
timetabled for 60 minutes a week, with basketball on Fridays extra. All classes opted for two 30 minutes slots. Discretionary time is also used towards PE.
This year the school chose to prioritise dance as the PE strand for further development.
We are exploring many different types of dancing. Look at 2nd class doing such a great job at a German Clap Dance.
In January, the Active School Committee carried out the PE equipment audit. PE equipment was counted and a record of all PE equipment in the school was taken. This record will be kept near where the PE equipment is stored.
The audit allowed us to see what equipment we already have in the school and what equipment we needed to get. As a result of the audit we invested in some new equipment for the school. This included new balls, skipping ropes and tennis rackets.
Once the equipment was counted and recorded, the committee sorted and labelled the area where it is stored.
Active Break Everyday Challenge
From November 19th to December 14th, every class in Scoil Mhatair Dé took part in the Active Break Challenge. This meant that every class was committed to taking an Active Break Every Day over the four weeks. The benefits of this for the pupils are improved concentration in class, improve fitness and improved long term health benefits. Classes tried out different activity breaks including running breaks, dance breaks and exercise breaks. Many classes used Go Noodle for dance breaks, some classes went for walks around the school, running or crated an exercise box where a child had to choose an exercise at random for the class to complete. See some of the children completing their exercise break below.
We have two breaks throughout the school day where the children encouraged to go outside and play. Our yard is zoned according to class level so everyone has lots of room to move and run about.
Recently, with the support of the Parents Association, we have got some yard markings painted which encourage the children to take part in educational active games.
At big lunch, children are encouraged to take out some equipment to play with at lunch times. Hula hoops and footballs are very popular to play with at lunch times.
Do Your Talking As You Are Walking
To ensure that children stay active during break times, children are encouraged to ‘Do your Talking as You are Walking’. This way the children can chat and stay active at the same time. We have posted signs of this up on the Active School Noticeboard and some classroom doors that lead out to the yard. The Active School Committee keep an eye out to ensure this is being enforced.
It’s not easy for adults or children to sit for long periods of time without getting restless and losing focus. Here in Scoil Mhathair De we incorporate lots of movement breaks in throughout the day to ensure we get a break from our seats and are kept focused. These breaks could be an action song, 10@10, an activity from ‘GoNoodle’ or a dance from ‘Just Dance’.
Run Around Europe Challenge
As our 4 week running challenge, we competed the Run Around Europe Challenge. We completed this from the 18th March until the 12th of April. Every pupil in the school was involved. The children used the court or the junior yard to complete their laps as often as possible. As the weeks went on, the children noticed the improvements they were making in their running. Each week, the Active School Committee went around to the classes and collected the results to record on the map on the Active School Noticeboard. As a school, we ran 24, 568 km in the four weeks. Well done to everyone for taking part.
Physical Activity Throughout The Year
We also like to mark special occasions throughout the year with physical activities.
For Halloween, we set up some ‘Spooky Stations’ where the children took part in lots of activities which all had a spooky theme.
There were lots of Halloween Dance Breaks done in the lead up to Halloween including Monster Mash and the Skeleton Dance.
There was also a Halloween Parade in the halla where every class got to show off their amazing costumes.
There were lots of Active Festive Activities to complete in the lead up to Christmas.
These included festive Dance breaks including the Penguin Dance, Santa Shark, Jingle Bells Reindeer Pokey and the 12 days of Fitmas.
Some classes participated in the Christmas Fundamental Movement stations. Some of the activities included the Snowball Roll, Reindeer Leaping and Ice Dancing.
Seachtain Na Gaeilge
For Seachtain na Gaeilge, Miss Hickey and her 5th class taught the each class some Irish dancing. Every class got the opportunity to show off their dancing skills in front of the school.
Europa Soccer League
Both 4th classes took part in a Europa Soccer League. They were divided into different countries and played each other over a number of weeks. Well done to team Poland who won the league!
Creating An Active Schools Committee
In October, all students from 4th – 6th class were given the opportunity to apply for the Active School Committee. The students were asked to answer four questions:
- Why would you like to be on the Active school committee?
- What has been your most enjoyable PE lesson and why?
- What is your least favourite sport/activity and why?
- List 3 ideas you have that would make children in our school more active.
We had an enormous response with over 80 applications and lots of great ideas to get our school more active.
The Active Schools Committee
Our Active School Committee is made up of boys and girls from 4th, 5th and 6th Class. The committee will meet regularly to create new initiatives and discuss the best ways of making our school more active.
The main aims of the Active School Committee are
1. Make sure that everybody in SMD takes part in some activity during or after school.
2. Help children be more active. It is recommended that children have at least 60 minutes of activity every day.
3. Make sure we have fun while getting more active.
What Does The Active Schools Committee Do?
The committee has a number of roles including
- Attend Active School Meetings
- Come up with ideas for different active activities that classes can do throughout the year.
- Make announcements in each classroom
- Check the PE equipment and keep it tidy.
- Take on the role of playground leaders
- Plan, organise and run ASW
Active Schools Flag Slogan
All classes from 2nd – 6th were invited in enter into the Active Slogan competition in April. There were lots of fantastic entries and it was very difficult for the Active School Committee to decide on a winner.
Eventually, after lots of deliberations and a secret vote, Halima in 6th class won the competition with her entry.
“Let’s Go Outside to Play, To Get Active Right Away”
Well done Halima.
Active Schools Notice Board
Our Active School Notice Board in located in the halla. This is used to post notices up to inform the classes of the Active Activities that are going on in the school. We have a suggestions folder on our notice board to post new ideas they may have.
We are taking part in Super Troopers healthy homework programme. It is aimed at helping children become more active and learn about healthy lifestyles. Each child has been given an information booklet full of fun exercises and a wall chart to record their progress. Families are encourages to join in as many activities as possible and the emphasis is on FUN and ENJOYMENT. Click here to find out more: http://supertroopers.ie/childrens-area/. A big thank you to our Active Schools Committee, who organised, distributed and explained the booklets to each class.
Well done to our buys in 5th and 6th class who took part in a local Soccer Tournament on the 9th October. They had a fantastic day out with both teams showing great skills and effort.
Mary Immaculate College
Our 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th classes were invited to Mary Immaculate College to participate in PE lessons. These lessons focused on the games strand. All who took part really enjoyed the four weeks. Thanks to Mary I for the invitation.
Classes from 2nd – 6th do basketball with our coach Michelle every Friday. It is great fun.
After school Activities
There are a number of active after school activities that children in Scoil Mhathair De can attend. These include:
- Gaelic Football
- Irish Dancing
Geoff Hunt Nature Walk
5th class went to Westfields with Geoff Hunt where they took part in bird watching.
Liam McCarthy Cup Visit to SMD
We welcomed the Liam McCarthy Cup to Scoil Mhathair De in December. It was great to celebrate the huge achievement of the Limerick hurling team.
Over the last number of weeks, teachers and children have been collecting the Aldi rugby challenge stickers. We have filled our first poster and it has been sent away to be in with a chance to win €50,000 worth of sports equipment for our school. Thanks to everybody for bringing in the stickers.
Sporting achievements are regularly celebrated in our school. Children are encouraged to share their achievements on the WOW board on the Active School Noticeboard in the halla for everyone to see.
What Club Are You in?
In February, the Active Schools committee conducted a ‘What Club Are You In?’ survey.
They went around to 4th, 5th and 6th classes and asked what clubs they were part of. The children in these classes were part of a wide variety of clubs and completed lots of different activities.
The results can be seen on the Active School Noticeboard in the halla along with the names of some of clubs that the children are part of.
Active Schools Walkway
In Scoil Mháthair Dé we have an Active Schools Walkway. Now that the weather is improving the children are really enjoying the fresh air. It is a great activity to do as a brain break!
We have a number of children from both 5th and 6th class that volunteer there own break time to play games with the younger classes. These children are called playground leaders! The help coordinate games in the junior yard in order to get the children really active during lunch time. Look at them in action!
Active Schools Week
Active Schools Week (2019) took place from the 7th to the 10th of May. During this week the children and teachers in SMD had great fun taking part in many activities to get them up and active. The children even got active homework!
Wake Up, Shake Up!
Every morning during Actives Schools Week, the whole school met in the Halla for Wake Up, Shake Up! We began each morning with some stretches and exercises, led by the Active School Committee. Following this, everyone took part in a whole school GoNoodle dance. The children got to vote for their favourite dance for Friday. We were having so much fun that we even did and extra Wake Up, Shake Up dance on the last day.
Drop Everything and Dance
Who doesn't love to dance? During Active Schools Week music was played over the intercom at a random time each day. When we heard the music, everyone stopped what they were doing and danced for as long as the music played. It was so exciting as we never knew when it might play or what song it would be. We even got to dance to Baby Shark.
At 10 o'clock each day, each class did 10@10 in their own classrooms. These 10 minute exercise videos are available on the RTE Junior website. They are so much fun, why don't you give it a go?
Break Time Active Challenges
During break times a number of active challenges were set up on the Senior Yard. These challenges were:
- How long can you hula hoop?
- How many skips can you do?
- How many keepy uppys can you do?
It was so great to see so many children getting involved. Everyone did great!
The winners of the skipping challenge were Jack (SLC) and Basma (6th) with over 70 skips each.
The winners of the hula hoop challenge were Rhamad (5th) and Manzor (5th) who were hula hooping so long that the bell rang and they had to stop to go back to class.
The winner of the keepy uppy challenge was Jamie (6th) with 68 kicks.
Well done everyone!
Check them out in action below.
Additional Active Activities
From 2 - 2:30 each day during ASW an additional timetable of activities was set up. Thank you so much to the Infant teachers who gave up their time to help organise these activities for the older pupils. These activities included Gaelic football, badminton, cooperative games and parachute games.
Getting Active while learning
Senior Infants were getting active while practising their reading. This sight word bowling game was so much fun!
They were also learning about dinosaurs! What better way to do this than a dinosaur hunt. Is is Science? Is it Maths? Is it English? Who knows? One thing the children did know though was that it was such a fun way to learn.
Maths is a great way yo get active, especially in the younger classes! You can run to collect things to make sets, or even become a human clock!