About the Active School Initiative
The Active School Flag was launched by the Department of Education in May 2009 and is organised through Mayo Education Centre. The aim of this initiative is to recognise schools throughout the country that strive to achieve a physically active and physically educated school community.
This year, in Scoil Mhuire na Trócaire, we endeavour to achieve Active School status. Our school has always acknowledged the importance of promoting a balanced lifestyle, understanding that daily physical activity is paramount to maintain a healthy mind and body.
Our school offers a wide range of sports and activities to our pupils. These include Gaelic football, tag rugby, badminton, gymnastics, swimming, yoga and dance. Our annual Sponsored Walk is a significant event on the school calendar, and as we work towards our Active School Flag, we hope to incorporate many similar activities into the academic year.
We will keep up to date on all of our Active School Flag work on this part of our website. Coinnigh súil ar an leathanach seo!
To learn more about the Active School Flag Initiative, visit their website http://www.activeschoolflag.ie
ACTIVE SCHOOLS COMMITTEE
Our Active Schools Committe was set up earlier this year. Pupils from the senior classes who were interested in being on this team wrote a note of application to Miss Mullen, our ASF Co-ordinator. 11 girls (made up of pupils from Rang a Cúig agus Rang a Sé) were nominated onto the committee and are doing great work to promote physical activity within Scoil Mhuire na Trócaire.
Pictured above are the members of our Active Schools Committee.
To coincide with the launch of our Active Schools Flag work and the formation of our committee, we held an inter-schools art competition. Such was the quality of the entries, it was a challenge to select a winner from each class.
ACTIVE SCHOOL SLOGAN
Pupils were invited to submit their ideas for a catchy motto which we could use throughout our Active School Flag campaign. As always, there were many clever slogans from our talented students. The winning slogan – “Active is the new Attractive!” – was penned by one of our fourth class pupils.
On Wednesday, 10th of May we all donned our walking shoes and set off on a sponsored walk. We were very lucky as it was a glorious morning and a pleasure to be outside getting some of our 60 minutes of physical activity and also enjoying splendid summer sunshine! We departed the school gates at 9:50 and everyone made it back to base before our little break at 10:45 – terrific timing! We returned to school invigorated, cheerful and ready for a productive day’s work!
To all who took part and generously donated to our walk – míle buíochas!
ACTIVE SCHOOLS WEEK, 24th-28th April
Active Schools Week took place directly after the Easter holidays and proved to be a resounding success!
For the entire week, all pupils swapped their pinafore and tights for their school tracksuit…and gach oíche le linn na seachtaine bhí corpoideachas mar chuid dá n-obair bhaile.
Our front entrance was decorated with some super sporty artwork created by Miss Mullen’s Rang a Dó!
One of the highlights of the week was the daily morning call ‘Wake Up, Shake Up’ in the school yard, which saw pupils flaunt their fancy footwork as they danced to current chart-topping singles. The movements were choreographed and performed by the creative, hardworking members of the Active Schools Committee. This injection of physical activity proved enjoyable to the children. It improved their concentration first thing in the morning, helped to shake away the cobwebs and set the tone for the day ahead.
TUESDAY – POC FADA
WEDNESDAY – OUR WOW DAY
All of our teachers and pupils went for a midweek walk. Our Infants walked around the school grounds and the convent whilst older classes went further outside of the school gates!
Always remember: Be Safe, be seen!
THURSDAY – GAA
On Thursday we welcomed local sports personality Mr. John Bingham and his brother Andrew to our school. John shared his personal story with the children who listened intently as their local club footballer charted his progression from underage schoolboy level to current club player. A questions and answers session afterwards proved interesting and informative. Some of the senior pupils were lucky enough to put their skills to the test with a coaching session led by the Bingham brothers.
FEEL FIT FRIDAY
Active Schools Week concluded on Friday, which was “Jersey Day” with Rugby taking centre stage for the senior classes. Local coach and parent of second class pupil Anna, Mr. Fergal Callaghan delivered a thought provoking and stimulating presentation to the children. Fergal highlighted the success of women, in particular Irish ladies, in the field of rugby banishing any stereotype or old-fashioned opinion that women were “not strong enough” to engage in this physical sport. Fergal spoke about the quality of the current crop of international players and their remarkable achievements in recent months. Whilst the nation was gripped with Six Nations fever, cheering on our rugby heroes, the heroines are often left in the shadow and do not always receive the praise that they deserve. Stunning performances and victories over New Zealand and England served to demonstrate their level of talent. The girls of Scoil Mhuire na Trócaire were enthralled as they watched some clips of a typical women’s rugby training session. Afterwards all classes from 2nd to 6th participated in a coaching session under the leadership of Mr. Callaghan.
Meanwhile, Junior classes were engaged in gymnastics partaking in lessons with Mr. Niall Teather who has been training pupils of Scoil Mhuire na Trócaire for a number of years. His gymnastic sessions are thoroughly enjoyed by all and certainly one of the children’s most eagerly awaited lessons of the week!
Friday afternoon saw no sign of deceleration, as the trustee dance troop of the Active Schools Committee led an in-school dance-a-thon, getting pulses racing and once again communicating the message that physical activity is a vital element of our daily routine.
Everyone in Scoil Mhuire na Trócaire would like to extend their thanks to our visitors – John, Andrew and Fergal for giving so generously of their time to contribute to our Active Schools Week activities.
Go raibh míle maith agaibh!
WOW Day – “Walk On Wednesday” – has long been running in Scoil Mhuire na Trócaire. Initially, the idea was to encourage a greener, more environmentally-friendly route to school, with pupils walking, car-pooling or opting to “park and stride”. This had a dual benefit as the response from surveys of the children themselves always featured comments about “enjoyment”, whether it be “the chat with friends on the way to school” or “the nice fresh air”, everyone felt refreshed and ready to learn on their arrival at school. So, building upon this successful strategy, we invest more effort into promoting “WOW days” and have also incorportated a school walk one Wednesday per month.
The winning class (the class with the highest percentage of pupils walking to school) receives a special prize and a plaque for the week!
FIT FOR FIVE
In our mission to make “Active” the “new attractive”, earlier this year we introduced a daily “Fit For Five” activity into our school day. During this 5 minute slot every day, each class downs their pens and pencils for and get up and moving in their room. Teachers and pupils receive a reminder over the intercom to get fit for five with some short poems and rhymes!
LET’S GET ACTIVE AWARD
To further reinforce the key message that each one of us should be getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day, our school is also participating in the “Let’s Get Active” initiative in conjunction with the Irish Heart Foundation. This four-week challenge is a fun way to motivate children to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
Pupils received physical activity diaries which enable them to track how much activity they do each day. They tot up the amount of activity they have clocked up at the end of each week and aim to improve on their weekly totals by spending more time on their favourite activities. This challenge encourages children to engage in family activity time at home and share the importance of “getting active” with their nearest and dearest!
After the 4 weeks – each child is awarded a certificate of achievement – also supplied by the Irish Heart Foundation.
SEACHTAIN NA GAEILGE
As always here in Scoil Mhuire na Trócaire, Seachtain na Gaeilge proved to be a “Seachtain Spraoiúil” indeed! An exciting programme of events got underway, with children from all classes enjoying an array of fun activities each day. I mbliana, bhí béim an-mhór ar ghníomhaíochtaí le réimse mhaith imeachtaí fite fuaite i gclár Seachtain na Gaeilge.
Junior classes took part in a “Tór na Leipreachán” where they searched for leprechauns throughout the school playground and gardens.
Senior classes held a put their Gaelic and Camogie skills to practice in the yard with cluichí peile agus comórtas “Poc Fada”.
During the month of March and the lead up to Lá Fhéile Pádraig, teachers focus on the Dance strand of the Physical Education curriculum, paying particular attention to Rince Traidisiúnta na hÉireann. This year’s Seachtain na Gaeilge celebrations culminated with “Lá Glas” on the eve of St Patrick’s Day. Pupils and teachers dress in festive clothes of forty shades of green. Dáithí Kearney and his wife Adele from DKIT’s highly-regarded Faculty of Music visited the school to share some of their expertise in leading a wonderful Céilí in our school hall. Teachers and pupils were given the opportunity to showcase their Irish dancing skills.
Yoga is becoming an increasingly popular activity these days and in recognition of this Scoil Mhuire na Trócaire welcomed Aisling and Shauna from “Oriel Yoga” to the school to lead taster workshops for both teachers and pupils. The múinteoirí undertook yoga sessions as part of CPD training. All classes also engaged in lessons during school ahead of the launch of after-school classes for girls of Junior Infants to Sixth Class. These sessions took place on Thursday afternoons during the spring term and proved very popular indeed!
The benefits of practising yoga are numerous – not only does it increase flexibility, improve muscle function, enhance athletic performance and help protect against injury, but it also contributes to a healthy mind and helps us to relax.
To quote the words of Jigar Gor – “Yoga is not about touching your toes, but it is what you learn on the way down”.
Scoil Mhuire na Trócaire has a long tradition of Gaelic Football and in recent years the school team has enjoyed much success in this field (pardon the pun!). In 2014, the cailíní of Scoil Mhuire na Trócaire were crowned winners of the Corn Oriel competition. Many of our pupils are involved with the local St. Mary’s team at underage level.
There is a strong emphasis on promoting our national sport within the school and each year coaches from various clubs around the county come to train the classes.