How the process came alive.
The active school flag is a Department of Education and skills initiative. It recognises schools who achieve and improve the physical activity of children and the school community. Here in St Brigid’s, we were awarded our First active school flag in 2017. In September 2021 we decided to launch our Active school campaign once again, now working towards our 2nd flag. We are continuing to improve our physical activity, while promoting an atmosphere of energy and fun for the whole school.
You can find out more about the active school flag initiative by visiting their website http://www.activeschoolflag.ie
To start with, we held an active school slogan competition. The winning slogan was “Be active its cool, 6o minutes is the rule!” Well done Aaron for coming up with such a brilliant slogan. Our slogan can been seen throughout the school in the form of art work, which emphasises that children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day
Our Active School Committee
Step one of the process involved setting up an active school committee consisting of teachers and pupils who are known as active school Playground leaders. The committee meets on a regular basis to come up with ideas to make our school more physically active. The committee also provide an essential link between the teachers, other students and the whole school community. They are in charge of equipment and carry out an audit every year. They also organise games / activities at lunch time to ensure all children are active and to teach new skills to the Junior classes.
As children require at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, we strive to promote the importance of staying active and eating healthily. As well as our timetabled PE lessons, which cover each strands, Athletics, Gymnastics, Games , Dance, Outdoor and Adventure activities and Aquatics, we also engage in a range of additional activities such as WOW ( walk on Wednesday), visiting coaches, active lines, activity based school tours, exercise stations, a skipping workshop and short 2-3 minute breaks during the school day. Such breaks include, The Active Break Challenge, Run around Ireland, Run around Europe, Skipping the Heights, Active school walkway activities, lollipop stick activities and running, as well as short movement breaks throughout the day such as dance, Go Noodle, Bizzy Breaks, DJ Raphi etc. We also take part in an Athletics Programme, Fit 4 Life, which is very enjoyable for the children. Music can often be heard playing on our yard, where the children love to dance. Our playground leaders encourage this and get to show off their moves too!Our playground leaders also set up games and teach new skills to the children at lunch times. We also organise a fun filled energetic activity at the end of each month known as Feel Good Friday. Bike Green – offer a six week block of cycling lessons every two years. The PAWS programme is taught in Junior – 2nd class, while the children in 3rd to 6th class attend swimming lessons for a six week block each year.. Our sports day is held every June. Everyone participates in all activities such as races, football, obstacle courses and much more. It’s not just children who get competitive!
Our school provide, an opportunity for every child to become physically active. We have a good variety of P.E equipment, outdoor exercise stations, handball wall, playground markings, an astro turf pitch, basketball court and soft playground for junior classes. We have a new Active School Walkway around the school grounds, which is used for orienteering, active breaks from the classroom and P.E. We also give physical activity for homework. These activities are devised by the teachers. We use resources & homework ideas from the Irish Heart Foundation and Bizzy Breaks. Beyond the classroom by the PDST is also encouraged to promote physical activity at home. We often team up with our green school committee for events such as Spring Cleaning/ litter picking on our local roads, walking for water and our gardening programme. Overall our aim is to reduce sedentary time for children and to have lots of fun.
A new active school committee is selected each year to further develop the progress made from the previous year. A survey is also carried out by parents and children, which gives us great feedback on what they would like to see happening in our school. Prior to active school week the committee carries out a survey called “What club are you in ?”. From this we find out about physical activity opportunities in the locality and subsequently invite clubs to hold taster sessions in our school. We have established strong links with local clubs such as Meath Hill GAA, Kingscourt Handball, Ardee Rugby Club and Carrickmacross Kickboxing club. Our local sports Partnership and Sports inclusion Disability Officer also inform us of events and activities. Inclusion is very important for us and we like to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of all pupils.
Active School Week
Our active school week is held every spring providing fun and inclusive physical activity opportunities for all members of the school community. It raises awareness of the physical activity opportunities available in the locality and gives opportunity to work collaboratively with students, parents and members of the community. Students are introduced to new sports, taster sessions, use of local amenities, activity based homework and lots of energetic fun. No uniforms- everyone wears a tracksuit for the week. Our active school noticeboard informs everyone of upcoming events. Active school week is the highlight of the school year. The children and teachers look forward to it so much. We always have lots of fun and everyone brings superb energy to each activity!
The following is a list of clubs and websites which help us to become a more active school:
Cumann na mBunscoil
Ladies Tug of war Ireland
Health Service Executive
Ardee Rugby club
Carrickmacrooss Kickboxing Club
Skip n’ Rope
Drumming – cardio workout