What is the Active School Flag?
“The Active School Flag (ASF) is a Department of Education and Skills initiative supported by Healthy Ireland that 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”. (Active School Flag)
While we feel a lot of physical activity goes on in our school, our challenge will be to encourage the whole school community to enjoy physical activity. The ASF requires schools to review and self-evaluate their current provision under three areas; Physical Education, Physical Activity and Partnerships. If we can say yes to all of the criteria in these areas we will be awarded a flag and we will have got the whole school more active. This is our aim for this school year to become more active.
Why get active?
Did you know that four out of five children in the Republic of Ireland are still not getting enough exercise, posing serious risks to their health and well-being? Being active helps release chemicals in your brain (endorphins), which have a positive effect on your mood, not to mention the benefits to your heart, lungs, muscles and bones. Getting out and being active is also a great way to manage stress.
10 Health Benefits: Physical activity helps a child to…
- Improve agility, balance and co-ordination.
- Feel more energised
- Reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.
- Burn and generate more energy.
- Improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
- Maintain healthy weight.
- Improve concentration.
- Improve self-esteem and helps them feel good about themselves.
- Develop friendships.
Our Active School Committee
To carry out our Active School application, we needed the help of our students. To facilitate this we set up an ‘Active Schools Committee’. Our Active School Committee consists of two members of staff Niall and Kelly and we have two members from each class from 3rd to 6th class represented on our committee who meet regularly throughout the year. They will be working with Niall and Kelly carrying out surveys, sharing ideas and performing duties.
So What Has Changed This Year??
Here are the changes we have made to make our school more active so far:
· We launched Active School Flag in the school; all teachers explained what ASF is to their classes.
· We sent a note home to inform parents and guardians about ASF.
· We have introduced Active homework. We are using Super Troopers. Each night as part of the homework, each student has an active activity.
· We have set up an Active School Committee.
· We have an Active School Flag Notice board in the school where we display our active events and active news.
· We also have a Well Done Wall where we display our student’s achievements.
· We have got rid of our treat day on a Friday and replaced it with an active reward-extra play time in the yard.
These and more changes will be detailed below under the four banners of the Active School Flag: Physical Activity, Physical Education, Partnership and Active School Week!
“Well Done” Wall
On our Active Flag Notice board you will find our Well Done Wall where we display our student’s achievements.
We have introduced Active homework. We are using Super Troopers. Each night as part of the homework, each student has an active activity.
For the month of December we tried to dance more in the classroom. Each class learned a dance, the same dance. We used a video from Just Dance “Crazy Christmas”.
Active Line – Up
We introduced Active Line Ups after Christmas at break and lunch time. Each class picks an Active Agent for the week. At the end of break and lunch time when classes are lined up the active agents stand out in front of their line and demonstrate the active line activity. The class then copies the activity.
4th Class will be taking part in an 8 week cycle safety programme. They will be out on the bikes in the yard learning to cycle safety.
Active School Flag Workshops
Kelly and Niall our ASF Coordinators attended some Active Flag workshops recently and brought us back some great resources we can use in the school to help us get more active.
Active Flag Slogan
The children came up with all sorts of catchy slogans to remind us to stay active. These can be seen on our active school notice board. The active schools coordinators decided that the below slogan was a really fun slogan and it is now our active school slogan. Run, jump, skip or dance. Give yourself an Active Chance!
In the coming week we will take part in the Run around Europe Challenge. This is a project set up by Sports Ireland to get children more active. Each class will run the equivalent distance to a city in Europe.
We will update you here on our progress.
To energise the school day this month will be including ideas such as DEAR and DEAD (Drop Everything And Run / Drop Everything And Dance), rainy day lunch activities (GoNoodle, Cosmic Yoga and Just Dance) and plenty of extra-curricular physical activities to boost the energy levels of our students.
Each day, every class will take in 10@10. This is a mass physical exercise break where schools across the country do various exercises for 10 minutes at 10 o’clock.
Fundamental Movement Skills
Each month we will be practicing a Fundamental Movement Skill. The Fundamental Skill for this fortnight is; Walking
Game of the Week
Each week we will introduce a different playground game. Teachers will teach the game as part of their PE lesson. ASF committee members will also come around to the classes and explain the game. Pupils are encouraged to play this game with their friends during their break times. The Active Flag notice board will also have diagrams and instructions about how to play the Game of the Week.
As part of Seachtain na Gaeilge we had three Active events. We had Irish dance classes for some of the classes where a dance teacher came in. An Irish scavenger hunt was set up in the school garden where the infant classes had to search for Irish pictures. We also had an Irish parade out in the yard where we walked around and then we had a celií.
The Active Committee wanted to buy equipment for yard time so they decided that we should have a fundraiser. We decided that if everyone brought in €1 and made an Easter Bonnet we could buy some playground equipment. On the day of the Easter holidays everyone arrived into school with their homemade bonnets. We had a huge parade in the hall. Each class had a turn to walk around the hall and show off their bonnet.
We ordered an outdoor speaker for the yard and it arrived this month. We are so excited to try it out.
After the Easter Bonnet parade we were able to order some equipment for the yard as we had raised enough money to buy some playground equipment.
Check out some of it below.
We love running to different countries in Europe. Each day you can see classes on the yard or the field doing their laps in the attempt to reach their destination.
Meet Energy! He is our NKETNS Active Mascot. He sits in the junior yard watching all the boys and girls to see if they are being active. He even wears active gear.
Physical Activity at Break Times
We have made big changes to make break times more active. We now have;
- Active Line Ups at each break
- Free-Dance Fridays with the outdoor speaker during break times
- ‘Do your Talking as you are Walking’ rule
- We invested in yard equipment. The ASF committee are responsible for organising distribution and collection of equipement
- We have zoned the yard in to different activity zones on both the junior and senior yard using the new equipment.
- Active Breaks on wet days using Go Noodle, Just Dance, Cosmic Yoga or 10@10
- Playground Leaders are out in the junior yard leading activities
- Playground game of the week is displayed on the Active Board each week and playground leaders teach the game on the junior yard.
- The teachers on yard duty each day promote ‘Do your talking as you’re walking’ during break-times.
Physical Activity Throughout the School Day
- We promote 60 minutes physical activity for optimal health each day.
- Classes use active transitions between subjects.
- Active Homework on the days classes have PE
- All classes taking part in Run Around Europe.
We offer different after school activities. Activities include:
- Gaelic Football
We launched our playground activities for break times the Monday of our Active Week. Some of the Active Committee members conducted a survey before the Easter holidays to find out what activities the classes would like to have on yard. After the the Easter Bonnet parade equipment was ordered with the money raised from the parade based on the ideas from the survey. 4th class and 6th class tried out the new equipment when it arrived and the Active coordinators zoned the yards. We have 6 playground leaders in the junior yard at each break to lead activities. We did up a timetable for the junior yard for Monday to Wednesday. Each class has a slot to use the activities for a break. Thursday the playground leaders play the playground game of the week and the FMS activities. Friday is Free- Dance Friday.
NKETNS will be taking part in National Walk to School Week 2018, which takes place from Monday May 14th to Friday, May 18th.
National Walk to School Week is a country-wide initiative which will result in thousands of children, their parents and teachers walking to and from school, to celebrate the environmental, health, social and financial benefits of active travel on the school journey. We will also be taking part in National WOW Day on May 16th. We will be arranging a walking bus to school that morning. We will be sending a note home soon once we have a meeting point organised.
There are 6 strands in the P.E. curriculum:
- Outdoor and Adventure
5 out of the 6 strands are covered each year. Senior Infants begin Aquatics in the swimming pool.
If you wish to take a look at the curriculum, it can be found on the NCCA website.
Physical Education is allocated 1 hour per week of overall teaching time. The school teaches PE as 2 x 30 minute classes as opposed to in a 1 hour block, thus allowing pupils to be active on two separate occasions during the week.
Aquatics 2017 has started with a splash as 1st classes and senior infants have completed a block of swimming lessons in Clondalkin swimming pool. We’ve really enjoyed it and hopefully we can put our new skills to good use! Good luck to junior infants who have just started their swimming lessons.
In October we had SARI- Sports against Racism visit our school and give a workshop to 5th and 6th Class. The sessions comprised of football training games and exercises which focused on awareness of what it means to discriminate both on and off the pitch.
In November we had a Circus Workshop for classes. The workshop incorporates plate spinning, juggling, balance tasks and tightrope walking. It was great to help us work on our hand eye co-ordination and equilibrium.
Parents and the Community
- We invited in different clubs from the local area to provide taster sessions during Active Week.
- We currently have a GAA coach helping out with Gaelic football and handball after school.
- Parents and Guardians are informed of Active School events and activities through notes, text messages and the school website.
- We had parents in helping out with Old School Playground games during Active week.
Active School Week 2018
We had a great week for our very first Active Schools Week in April. We had a timetable full of different fun events. We also launched our playground activities for yard time. We had so much fun!
To promote ASW in our school and to get everyone excited about Active Week the Active Committee designed posters for ASW18 and put them up around the school.
The Active Committe put up a visual timetable to let everyone know what was on for the week. The children loved checking out the board every morning to see what was on for the day.
To kick start our first Active Week the Active Coordinators chorographed a dance to “Avicii’s- Levels” to teach to the whole school. We decided to have a Wake Up and Shake Up in the yard using the new outdoor speaker. The Active Committe and the coordinators taught the dance to school. Each morning they stood in front of the school and did the dance steps and the school followed. We also did the “Macarena”. Parents were invited in to join in with Wake Up and Shake Up on Thursday and Friday morning.
The whole school took part in jersey jog. Everyone wore a jersey and we did laps in the yards. It was great to see all the different types of jerseys running around.
Climb the Heights Skipping Challenge
The Active Committee set up a skipping area in the yard for classes to take turns using to try see how many skips they could do and what Mountain they could climb.
The four infant classes had an athletics taster with two athletics coaches from Celbridge Athletic Club who had kindly volunteered to do a taster session.
Tug of War
The back field was the site for the tug of war tournament for 3rd class to 6th class.
6th class designed an obstacle in the hall for the infant classes. The infant classes loved it and 6th class were great coaches helping them through the course.
Walk to Castletown
4th Class walked to Castletown to examine an ecosystem – a woodland area for their Ecorangers project. Their teacher used an app on her phone called “map my walk” to measure the distance they walked. It took 33 minutes to walk down and 38 minutes back. The class walked 6km in total.
We were very lucky to have a kickboxing coach visit our school for Active Week from the local kickboxing club. 3rd to 6th class got to try out come kickboxing moves.
We are so lucky that one of our Active Coordinators is a tennis coach. Niall took the 1st classes to show them how to play tennis and some tennis drills.
One of our Active coordinators set up circuit training stations in the hall with music for the senior classes.
A local GAA coach came into 1st class and 2nd class to show them some drills and to get them playing some GAA.
Our outreach classes and 3rd class buddied up to play sitting volleyball in the hall with balloons. They had to try keep the balloon up by passing it around the circle.To end our Active Week in school we had a dance off in the yard after lunch on the Friday. Junior yard vs. Senior Yard. We had the outdoor speaker pumping out the tunes and the dancing begun.
The very last event of our Active Week was the Park Run on Saturday 28th April in Castletown in Celbridge. The Active Coordinators and some teachers volunteered to help with marshalling. Children from our school along with their siblings, parents and dogs all took part in the 5km run around Castletown. It was a great turn out with children from all classes out running representing their school.
We designed tshirts for Active Week. Check out some of them below.