Our Active School Flag Committee

Our Active School Flag Committee have been busy helping us work towards our first Active School Flag here in Firies N.S. It is made up of students from 3 rd to 6 th class and teachers who meet regularly sharing their thoughts on how to make sure we have a physically active school community. We are always busy creating and sharing interesting ideas for our active school community so make sure to check back regularly for pictures and videos of our adventures.

Active News

Lá Glas

March 2021

In celebration of our patron saint, we all dressed in Green on the 16th of March and participated in a St. Patrick's Day march around the village of Firies. The local community were delighted to see us back to school and out and about in our locality again. 

Christmas Jumper Run

Christmas 2020

We had great fun dashing around the village of Firies in our colourful christmas jumpers on the day of the school holidays. We completed laps of the school yard on our return from our trip around the village. We love using the perimeter of our school yard to complete our Run Around Ireland challenge but look forward to doing this on our new all weather pitch when it is completed in the coming months. 

Witches Walk Firies N.S.

Halloween 2020
We had great fun taking part in our annual ‘Witches Walk’ in Firies N.S. on Friday the 23 rd of October. Every child was dressed up for Halloween and we took turns walking around the village of Firies N.S. with our class. The sun was shining and we were so glad to get out and about in the fresh air. We love being active here in Firies N.S. and it was extra special to get a chance to walk around our lovely village and wave at all the passers-by.

Active Archie

Active Archie arrived in Firies N.S. in January 2020 and needless to say the children were so excited by his presence. As his name suggests, he likes getting lots of exercise and he really enjoys trying new activities. We invited the boys and girls in Junior and Senior Infants and their families to bring Active Archie along with them if they were doing some kind of physical activity, or going to a sporting event as either participants or spectators. Active Archie helped us see all the activities that the children are involved in at home, from organised activities to simply bouncing on the trampoline. He had all sorts of amazing adventures in the last few months! Active Archie has now returned to Firies N.S. and is going to watch over our exercise and activities in school over the coming weeks and months. He enjoyed his visits to all the homes of the Junior and Senior Infant classes and can’t wait to visit you all again in a few months to see what new activities you have come up with. Here are some pictures of Archie’s adventures – have a look, it’s sure to put a smile on your face!

Active School Flag - 'We Like to Move It'

Firies National School is currently working towards obtaining an Active School Flag in recognition of all the physical activity that takes place in our school. The aim of the Active Schools Flag is to encourage schools to be more active, more often. It links in with all of the work we are doing throughout the year on Healthy Living – being active, getting exercise, taking care of our minds and bodies. Here at Firies National School we believe that we are well on the way to achieving this great honour, with our full schedule of activities available for our students before, during and after school! Our Active School Flag committee continue to work hard with teachers, students and parents to make sure that we all learn to be more active in our teaching and learning. Have a look at some of the various activities we have taken part in over the past year – cycling, gymnastics, games, athletics, orienteering, our Christmas Santa Run, Happy Heart Day and much more. We have lots of plans to make our school physically educated and physically active so make sure to check back for some more updates.

To learn more about the Active School Flag Initiative, visit their website   – www.activeschoolflag.ie

Active Schools Week

Active SCHOOLS Week - April 26th - 30th 2021 - #ASW21

‘Active SCHOOLS Week’ takes place every April and is a really enjoyable part of the school year for many children. In 2020, because of Covid-19 it was not possible for this to go ahead so we participated in the ‘Active HOME Week’ challenge instead - April 27th – May 3rd 2020. We challenged the children to keep active throughout the week by engaging in their favourite sporting activity, creating obstable courses at home and competing against their family members in various races. Have a look at our video below to catch a glimpse of our fun filled week. 

We look forward to adapting our Active SCHOOLS Week celebration this year in line with social distancing guidance. Check back for more updates on this fantastic event that we are running from April 26th - 30th 2021. 

ABOUT the Challenge:

The idea of the #ActiveHomeWeek challenge was to:

  • Reach out to parents/guardians to support the work that is taking place in school.
  • Support parents by providing them with ideas and a challenge format to encourage children to build physical activity into their day.
  • Encourage children to find NEW ways of being physically active that they ENJOY.
  • Raise awareness about the fact that children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

To complete the challenge children had to find four different ways of being active every day making sure that this adds up to 60 MINUTES, or more. Children were encouraged to try something NEW, have FUN with a family activity and to ENJOY the week!

Have a look at some of our videos from Active Home Week to see what we got up to!

Partnerships

Firies N.S. works with different agencies to promote physical activity throughout our school community. Over the past two years we were lucky to work with exceptional coaches that shared their skills with us.

  • In Basketball Andrew put us through our paces and shared his knowledge of the game.
  • Amy thought us gymnastics for 6 weeks and we had a showcase performance as part of a group at the end of our term.
  • We got great Gaelic Football experience from Vince who pushed us to try our best every single week.
  • Hurling was explored and great progress was made over the course of a few weeks with Colm.
  • Dan O’Sullivan from the Munster Rugby Schools Development shared his love of rugby with the senior classes in Firies N.S. As a relatively new sport for many children to play in our school, the children absolutely loved it and thoroughly enjoyed advancing their knowledge and skills of the game.
  • The students of 5th class were guided through the skills required for correct and safe cycling.
  • We conducted a 'What clubs are you in?' survey to find out about the physical activity opportunities in the local community. Students in 5th class focused on five main clubs - GAA, Soccer, Dancing, Horse riding and Athletics and researched how popular these were amongst the students in Firies N.S.

Physical Activity

We take part in lots of different activities to keep active in our school. These include team games and individual activities.

Playground Leaders - We have developed many new initiatives over the past two years which all the boys and girls of Firies N.S. are enjoying. At lunch time our Playground Leaders from 6th class spend time teaching the students from the junior classes to play playground games. The Active School Committee has created a list of Playground Games that they can play with the younger boys and girls. They also have specially dedicated equipment which is used exclusively for this project. The Playground Leaders can be seen easily on the yard in their blue jackets. Thank you also to the senior boys and girls who have volunteered, they are very much enjoying this leadership role in the school. 

Active Breaks - All classes take part in active breaks throughout the school day.  This includes Go-Noodle, Bizzy Breaks, P.E. with Joe Wicks and a variety of classroom movement ideas.  On a wet day, if pupils cannot go outside at break time, extra time will be given to movement breaks in the classroom.

Lunchtime Leagues - we run various lunchtime leagues throughout the school year in Soccer, Football and Basketball. Teams are made up of boys and girls from different classes and matches are played during lunchtime.

Tour of Europe Challenge - Each class chooses a European landmark to ‘run’ to e.g. the Eiffel Tower is 778km away.  We use our Active Walkway to clock up the kilometres, 4 laps of the yard equals 1 kilometre. We collect a lollipop stick every time we complete a lap to keep track. We can't wait for the completion of our all weather pitch and use the running track around the perimeter as part of our Active Walkway!

‘Do your Talking as You’re Walking’ - we have introduced this into our playground to encourage pupils who, even if they just want to chat, they can do so while walking to make sure they are keeping active.

Active Calendar Events - We celebrate different active events throughout the school year – Halloween Witches Walk, Christmas Santa run, Happy Heart Day, Operation Transformation, Lá Glas, Easter Egg Hunts and lots more – the children really look forward to such events with great anticipation.

6o minutes physical activity challenge - All classes complete at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day and record the information for a minimum of one week per school year. Senior classes can track their physical activity for longer if they wish. We enjoy sharing our new and exciting ideas for keeping fit and healthy.

Active Flag Committee – Our Active Flag Committee have been working diligently to promote a love for physical activity and healthy lifestyles. Pupils are given various roles and tasks to carry out throughout the school year such as making announcements at assembly, giving messages to the classrooms on various initiatives, designing posters for the school, carrying out surveys and checking the suggestion box.  Our pupils play a very important role in organising and delivering our Active Flag initiatives.

Achievement Wall – A ‘Wall of Fame’ is celebrated on the main corridor in Firies N.S. This wall contains pictures of children and displays their achievements outside of school in the many and varied activities they get up to as well as achievements, both sporting and otherwise made in school.

Active School Commitment Poster – All staff and students of Firies N.S. proudly signed the Active School Commitment Poster and displayed it for the school and wider community to view. Every class was adamant that they would be dedicated to achieving a physically active school community.

Physical Education

StrandsStrand units
Athletics
  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Throwing
  • Understanding and appreciation of athletics
Dance
  • Exploration, creation and performance of dance
  • Understanding and appreciation of dance
Gymnastics
  • Movement
  • Understanding and appreciation of gymnastics
Games
  • Sending, receiving and travelling
  • Creating and playing games
  • Understanding and appreciation of games
Outdoor and adventure activities
  • Walking, cycling and camping activities
  • Orienteering
  • Outdoor challenges
  • Water-based activities
  • Understanding and appreciation of outdoor and adventure activities
Aquatics
  • Walking, cycling and camping activities
  • Hygiene
  • Water safety
  • Entry to and exit from the water
  • Buoyancy and propulsion
  • Stroke development
  • Water-based ball games
  • Understanding and appreciation of aquatics

Each year Firies N.S. place a special focus on one strand in particular. For the 2019/20 school year we were shining a light on the strand of Games. Our aim throughout the year was to expose the children to a wide variety of activities in line with the Fundamental Movement Skills.

For the 2020/2021 school year we put a greater emphasis on Outdoor and Adventure Activities. During the current pandemic we are advised to spend more time outdoors getting fresh air so we felt it was most suitable to zone in on this strand, in particular Orienteering. We created various maps of the school grounds that would be accessible to all age groups and used these when exploring Orienteering skills. It has been a huge hit so far this school year. With brighter days approaching we hope to spend more time improving these skills. 

Our PE Programme is constantly being updated to make sure we are always providing best practice PE delivery in our school. Our targeting of the Active School Flag has required an audit of our PE programme. This examination has helped us improve our provision of Physical Education. Here are some key elements we focus on:

  • we prioritise one strand each year for further development, this year, Outdoor Adventure and Activities - in particular Orienteering.

  • we discuss each child’s PE development in parent teacher meetings.
  • our staff attend PE specific CPD courses.
  • we carry out a PE audit at the start of the year where we dispose of any old equipment.
  • we purchase new age appropriate PE equipment to enable us to adequately teach each strand of the curriculum.
  • all our equipment and resources are clearly labelled, well organised and easily accessible. We make maximum use of this equipment.
  • we have introduced PE homework at certain times of the year.
  • we have zoned the yard to help with the playing of sports such as basketball, soccer, dodgeball etc.
  • we place more focus on integrating PE in the classroom through, physical activity awards and physical activity breaks.
  • we ensure that pupils are provided with at least 1 hour of PE a week. However, we also reinforce a message to the children that 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day is vital for our mental and physical health.

Land PAWS Water Safety

Our 5th and 6th class students have learned valuable lessons through the Land PAWS water safety programme this year. On completion of the course each child received a certificate to indicate that they have examined water safety in school. We learned about water safety in many aspects of life - at home, on farms, near ponds and lakes, in swimming pools and at the beach. We created posters to share our knowledge with the whole school community. These posters are on display throughout the school and will help to spread the word about water safety. 

Active Home Learning Menu

  • We have created an Active Home Learning menu for children to choose activities from daily. The menu is divided in three categories of activities: Strengthening and Stretching, High Energy and Skills Development. We hope it helps all our families get active and have fun together.
  • Active Home Learning Menu
Stretching
Strengthening
High-Energy Skill Work
Do some leg raises. Try 5-10 each side. Roll down and touch your toes. Jumping jacks for 30 seconds, rest for a minute. Aim for 10 minutes Ball Alley: How many times can you kick a ball safely through a track/alley
Balance: How long can you balance on one leg for. Swap legs. Try again if you fall. Knee Raises: Do some knee raises for 30 seconds rest for a minute. Aim to repeat ten times. Kick a ball at a target. Aim for 10 in a row.
Try the dancers pose. Hold for 30 second on each leg. Do some kangaroo jumps: count how many you can do without stopping. Strike a ball with a racket against a wall aim for 10 in a row.
Do ten squats, rest for 10 seconds and repeat. Aim for30 squats. Finish with 5 squat jumps. Jog or run without stopping for 5 minutes. Don’t stop moving, walk if you need to. Practise hopping on your left foot. Practise hopping on your right foot. Aim to stay hopping for 3 minutes.
Do ten lunges on your right leg, rest for ten seconds. Do ten lunges on your left leg, rest for ten seconds. Repeat 3 times. Jog on the spot for 10 seconds, sprint for 20 seconds repeat for 5 minutes. On the spot or outside. Practise jumping from two legs and landing on one leg.
Hold a high plank for 20 seconds.
Hold on plank on right side for 20 seconds.Hold plank on left side for20 seconds.
Bear crawl for 30 seconds, then rest for a minute. Aim to repeat 10 times. Practise jumping from two legs and landing on two legs.
  • Cool down: take a mindful moment. Sit crossed legged. Close your eyes. Feel your heart beat. Follow your breath go through your nose in to your tummy and back out through your nose. Stay still for a few moments.

active school challenge charts

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    Church Ln, Killahane, Killarney, Co.
    Kerry, Ireland