We have been awarded 3 Active School Flags as at June 2023. We are very proud of our achievements in the area of physical activity and education.
The Active School Flag was launched by the Department of Education in 2009. It is a non-competitive initiative which seeks to recognise schools that strive to achieve a physically active and physically educated school community. Waterford Educate Together N.S. is committed to promoting physical activity in our school and we were delighted to achieve an Active School Flag in 2018. We aim to include a variety activities in the coming months in order to retain our Active School Flag and work towards achieving our second.
To keep up with our current Active School Initiatives- check out our Active School Padlet!
We also have placed a strong emphasis on Wellbeing, even holding a Wellbeing Week, please see our padlet below:
Each class is timetabled 1 hour of P.E. per week.
The 7 key messages of the Primary P.E. Curriculum are:
- The importance of enjoyment and play.
- Maximum participation of all children.
- Development of skills and understanding.
- Balance between competitive and non-competitive activities.
- Balance between contact and non-contact activities.
- Opportunities for achievement for every child are provided.
- Activities equally suitable for boys and girls are provided.
Our school has a large P.E. storeroom with a wide variety of easily accessed equipment. We are fortunate also to have Waterford Sports Partnership to lend us equipment such as badminton nets and rackets and balance bikes etc. We have created a detailed inventory of our P.E. equipment and the storeroom is maintained by staff. All equipment is divided into clearly labelled buckets and on accessible shelving.
The P.E. Curriculum
All classes are taught 5 different P.E. strands each year from the primary PE Curriculum which includes:
Athletics, Aquatics, Dance, Gymnastics, Games and Outdoor and Adventure Activities.
Having access to a large hall helps us model and teach the necessary skills for this strand.
The children in 3rd, 4th and 5th class attend swimming lessons throughout the year for 8 weeks. All classes are taught the Land PAWS Water Safety Programme to support this strand.
Teachers teach dance lessons using the PSSI lessons, many teachers incorporated dance into their celebrations of Seachtain na Gaeilge. As a culmination event for this week, we had a whole school ceili, buddying older classes with younger classes to teach a The Siege of Ennis. We had a great fun and parents got involved too!
We are very fortunate to have access to a large P.E. hall with a wide range of gymnastic equipment. Many teachers, with the guidance of the PSSI lessons, chose to teach gymnastic strand via station teaching.
We made this our priority strand this year. We rolled out initiatives such as Together Tuesdays. This encouraged inclusive play giving new ideas for games to ensure active breaks for all. Our Playground Leaders as well as our Active Schools Committee were instrumental in aiding the junior to first classes – modelling cooperation, inclusiveness and active play. We also had regular coaching from Mount Sion GAA club for every class level in the school throughout the year.
Outdoor Adventure Activities
All teachers teach this strand, mainly in Term 3. We have also started a ‘Chose-YAY’ initiative, children had the opportunity to choose a Scouts and a Walking group. We have members of the scouts on our staff and they have been fundamental to the teaching of this strand, sharing their knowledge with members of staff. We are looking into having our school mapped in the academic year 23/24.
CPD in Physical Education
In May 2023two teachers attended the PDST Physical Literacy Fundamental Movement Skills ‘Move Well Move Often’ Day Seminar 5. We received invaluable information around incorporating FMS into our planning. We shared the Sports Education resource with our staff upon our return.
We decided to wait until term 3 to prescribe P.E. homework as we wish to embed the initiatives that we are undertaking. Homework is prescribed to the children on the days that they have P.E. classes. Active homework replaces all homework during Active School’s Week.
Our school provides twice daily playground breaks. We promote the full range of fundamental movement skills during break times and pupils are allowed to run. The school yard is zoned for different classes and different activities.
Playground leaders were nominated from both 5th classes this year. Their role is to model fair, inclusive and active play with Junior infants to 1st classes. Playground leaders take a range of equipment out to the yard with them including skipping ropes, soft balls, beanbags and cones.
Walk and Talk
The children are encouraged to ‘do your talking as you’re walking’ during break times. This initiative is modelled by the staff who walk around the yard when on duty. Senior classes often start their day with walking and talking initiative.
Short Activity Breaks
Teachers use ’10@10′ videos, ‘Just Dance Kids’ or ‘Go Noodle’ for short activity breaks.
Staff Physical Activity Initiative
In 2019 our staff set up a Swim Club. Every Wednesday staff members strive to go for a swim in the sea together, rain, hail or shine! This has been a wonderful way to welcome new staff members and a highlight of many of our weeks!
We have formed strong partnerships with a variety of clubs and organizations this year at Educate Together. We are fortunate enough to be linked with Mount Sion GAA Club. Member of the club have provided inclusive hurtling training for al class groups throughout the year. We are also linked in with Waterford Sport’s Partnership – allowing us to rent equipment, free of charge, to enable children to access a wider variety of games e.g. badminton. We have been linked with the Greenway Bike Hire who have provided cycling lessons for our 5th and 6th classes. We also are connected to the Waterford GDA. The GDA Officer has provided Gaelic football training for al class levels. We also took part in a number of Blitzes throughout the year run by Deise Og.