Whole -School Physical Education Plan!
The first thing we did as a staff, after agreeing to embark on Active School Flag , was to review our Whole - school Physical Education Plan.We collaborated from January 2018 until December 2018, at which time our plan was ratified by the Board of Management. We are very proud of our plan.We decided to focus on improving our teaching of gymnastics and outdoor education activities in 2019 and 2020, through attending workshops/CPD focusing on these strands.
Equipment Room and New Equipment!
One of the next things we did after registering for Active School Flag in February, 2018, was to buy new P.E. equipment. We bought balls of all sorts, javelins, discuses, sacks for fun sack races, hurdles, beanbags, ribbons for dance and much more. Two girls from our Active School Committee tidy the Equipment Room daily and pump balls when required.
Each class in our school now has Physical Education for 1 hour minimum per week,40 minutes in the hall and at least 20 minutes in our own playground or outdoors on the school grounds (basketball court or front yard). All classes are taught, games, athletics, gymnastics , dance and outdoor and adventure activities each school year. We worked together to create a standardised timetable, so that all teachers are simultaneously teaching the same strand in PE each month. This works particularly well in gymnastics as we put out all of the mats and equipment each morning and put it back at the end of the day, so that time is not wasted setting it up for each individual class. There are many pictures in the school blog of our children taking part in all of these PE strands. Below are photos of children participating in gymnastics and athletics (running).
Use of our Local Amenities
We are encouraging teachers in our school to use our wonderful local amenities a lot more, particularly for the 'Outdoor and adventure activities' strand in P.E.. In the image above, 6th Class is enjoying a P.E. lesson in Marlay Park which is only a ten minute walk from our school. In the second image, 5th Class is enjoying a school tour ziplining in Zipit , which is only a ten minute drive from our school. This supports our Green Schools work too, keeping our carbon footprint down!
Swimming in Our Lady's and PAWS Water Safety!
As part of Active School Flag, we are encouraged to use our local sports facilities. In February 2018, we contacted DLR Meadowbrook Swimming Pool to see if they could provide us with swimming lessons. 4th and 5th Classes were given seven sessions in September and October of 2018. We were delighted to be able to teach this strand of the PE Curriculum in Our Lady's. It was the first time in our school's history that we availed of this local amenity. for PE . Unfortunately, we were unable to secure a regular slot at the pool but we have been assured that we are on their waiting list. Meanwhile we will avail of one off fun swims whenever we can and the children avail of swim lessons, organised by the Parents Association, in the pool after school. hours We also ensure that water safety is taught to the children at least once every two years. Teachers were made aware of the excellent PAWS teaching resource in May 2018 and the PAWS programme is taught in Junior Infants, 1st Class, 3rd Class and 5th Class. During lockdown in 2020, teachers included PAWS lessons in the children's weekly work plans and discussed their work in their weekly Zoom calls. See Ms. O'Neill's Active School Week work plan with PAWS lesson included therein at https://www.ourladysgns.ie/uploads/5/6/8/2/56828447/11_may_ahw_5th_plan.pdf .
In January 2019, we created a teaching resources area in our Equipment Room. We bound and laminated all PDST lesson plans. We laminated the wonderful PDST Gymnastics Skills Cards and many more resources. The excellent 'Move Well , Move Often ' resource is also in this area.
Continuous Professional Development : Gymnastics Workshop
Ms. O'Neill, who is a former qualified PE Teacher, delivered a workshop in our school in January, 2019, just before we all embarked on teaching the gymnastics strand to our classes. The teachers were very delighted with the workshop. They were delighted to learn strategies to assist children who find the forward roll difficult, how to assess within each lesson and the teaching points of many gymnastics skills. All teachers worked together for the 6 weeks after the CPD to strengthen the delivery of gymnastics in our school. Everyone was delighted to have the PDST Gymnastics Skills resource and other helpful resources in our Equipment Room! In Spring 2020, we chose Outdoor and adventure activities as our focus strand. We had booked CPD with the PDST in orienteering for April 2020 but this did not happen due to the lockdown/ school closure. However, we went ahead in November 2020 with the creation of our new walkway. We will get CPD in orienteering and in using our walkway in Spring 2021 from the PDST or from Ms. O'Neill.
Fundamental Movement Skills
All teachers are aware of the excellent Fundamental Movement Skills resource, including the really useful short movement skills videos. The posters are easily accessible for teachers, right outside the PE Hall!