According to the World Health Organisation, children need 60 minutes of play with moderate to vigorous activity every day to grow up to a healthy weight. In Gneeveguilla N.S. we love to stay very active! Our students have twice daily playground breaks, and are allowed to run on the yard, a welcome move from their classrooms. We never let rain stop us from staying active! If we can’t go outside, we bring the fun and exercise inside to the classroom. On wet days every teacher allocates time for activities. The children get up and get involved with go noodle activities, chair yoga and dance routines!
Here are some of the additional physical activities and initiatives that we participate in:
We have playground leaders/buddies on the yard at both breaks every day. Pupils from 2nd – 4th classes can sign up to become a Playground Leader in our school. They give up one lunch break every 3 weeks to play games with the Junior and Senior Classes, ensuring they are active and happy throughout break time. Our school trained these pupils as playground leaders. Playground leaders oversee the daily distribution and collection of the equipment.
Music in the Yard
At certain times of the year, such as #FeelGoodFridays, Sports Day, Halloween Christmas and Active School Week music is played on speakers in the yard for the whole school to dance along to.
We are very lucky that Gneeveguilla GAA pitch is located directly across the road from our school and we are very grateful to the club that they have given us permission to use their walkway as our Active School Walkway. One lap of the walkway is 600m. We introduced the walkway in June 2019 and updated the signage in 2022. Classes use the walk way during the day for active breaks or as a revision walk, and also lays out an area in which the children can complete running initiatives set up in the school. This year we’ve introduced Buddy Walking system, where the senior students walk and chat with the younger students.
We have a number of running initiatives set up in the school that are continuously increasing the children’s physical health and well-being.
Run Around Ireland Challenge
For the past number of years, we have taken part in the Run Around Ireland Challenge. Every class completed the ‘Run a Day’ challenge, as a whole school initiative, over a period of 4 weeks. Each class selected an Irish landmark to ‘run’ to e.g. Bunratty Castle in Co. Clare which is 62km away. We used our Active Walkway to clock up the kilometres; 1 laps = 1km. Progress for each class in the Run Around Ireland Challenge was updated on class noticeboards. Our school promotes physical activity in a cross-curricular way through the Run Around Ireland Challenge. Teachers use the running destinations to support pupils in their study of geography, history and maths.
The Daily Mile
Every day during our Active week, each class runs a mile with smile!
Active Brain Breaks
All classes take part in active breaks throughout the school day. This includes Bizzy breaks, Go-Noodle, yoga, guided dances, 10@10, “Drop everything and Dance/run”, cardio desk drumming, and a variety of other classroom movement ideas. On a wet day, if pupils cannot go outside at break time, extra time is given to movement breaks in the classroom. This December every class completed the Active Break Every Day challenge, as a whole school initiative, over a period of 4 weeks this year!
European Sports Day
ESSD is a pan-European initiative with the main goal to promote physical activity on an international level and involve as many children, young people, schools and organisations as possible. ESSD takes place every September in Schools all around Ireland. We hold a number of varied and interesting sporting challenges as part of our sports day.
Cross Curricular Activities
We as a staff recognised the importance of linking physical activity into other curricular areas.
Seachtain na Gaeilge
As part of Seachtain na Gaeilge, we held a Céilí Mór, and the boys and girls showed us their best Irish dancing skills. Some of the 6th class students also taught the younger classes some playground games as Gaeilge! Maith sibh!
World Book Day
We used the walkway as scavenger hunt of famous book characters.
As part of Maths week the children in GNS go on various Maths Trails around the school premises. They are set the task of finding different shapes and numbers etc. in their environment, therefore linking to the Outdoor and Adventure Strand of the PE curriculum.
Nature Walks are regularly carried out at various times of the year in our school, whether it be looking for Autumn leaves, Spring flowers or Summer plants and animals. In Term 3, some classes walk to the local waterfall at the other side of the village.
On 1st December we held our Christmas concert which was entitled “School Around the Corner”. We were very lucky to have Joe Burkett rehearse with us every Monday since September! Each class performed two dances and some staff members even participated!
Annual Sports Day
Our annual sports day takes place in June, this is a fantastic fun-filled day for all classes with various sporting activities to suit all ages and abilities. Over the last two years due to Covid, we have had a separate Junior and Senior sports day, but this year we are looking forward to having the whole school back together for Sports Day again.
Last April Fourth to Sixth class pupils had great fun playing in their soccer tournament. Well done boys and girls. We look forward to holding more lunchtime leagues in Term3 this year.
Decreasing Sedentary Time
Each month every class has agreed upon a set of 3, or more, actions to decrease sedentary time.
Every year our Football and Basketball school teams take part in Cumann na mBunscol, Mini 7’s and Super Sevens competitions, and always do us proud!
On the last teaching Friday of each month our school takes part in an Active School initiative entitled #FeelGoodFriday, each month there has meant a different activity.
“Be Active”, “Active Halloween”, “Active Classrooms”, “Jump into January”, “Pump Up the Volume”, ”Walkway Day”, “Table Tennis Take Over”