Active School Flag (ASF) is a Department of Education initiative supported by Healthy Ireland, and part of the National Physical Activity Plan.
The ASF initiative provides schools with a framework to guide, support and incentivise them to work towards achieving a physically educated and physically active school community.
The Active Flag is awarded by reaching criteria in the areas of Physical Activity, Physical Education, Partnerships, Active School Week
Once awarded, ASF remains valid for a period of 3 years, after which time schools are invited to re-engage with the process.
The school has been engaging in Active Flag activities over the past few years. This year, we aim to achieve our first Active Flag with the help and participation of the whole school.
Read below how our journey towards our school’s first flag progresses!
Each child in the school receives a minimum of 60 minutes of PE each week. This is normally split between two 30 minute slots over the course of each week. Class teachers collaborate together to ensure at least 5 of the 6 PE strands are taught each year.
The strands of the PE curriculum are:
- Outdoor and Adventure
The PE curriculum can be accessed on this link
Priority Strand – Dance
As part of the Active School initiative, the staff decided to prioritise the dance strand for the duration of the year. It was decided that dance would be incorporated into as many whole-school events as possible. It was also decided that traditional Irish dances would be taught in the lead up to Seachtain na Gaeilge. This can be seen in the ‘Physical Activity’ section.
Water Safety Ireland’s Land PAWS (Primary Aquatics Water Safety) outlines the essential life-saving guidelines that every child needs to know.
Our 3rd class teachers trialed this programme with their classes. They thoroughly enjoyed the lessons and the school will look at implementing it further across the school next year.
PE Equipment Room
Members of the committee came together with Ms. Quigley to do an audit of the equipment in our PE equipment room. Old and damaged equipment was thrown out. Balls were pumped and equipment was labeled. It gave us an opportunity to see what equipment was needed which was bought.
As a school, we enjoy being active as often as possible. Girls enjoy playing and running about the yard during the breaktimes and teaching other new games. Below you will see the different ways we have stayed active and the different challenges the school took as part of the Active Flag journey.
Infant Outdoor Play Area
There was a wonderful welcome to the new outdoor infant play area! The area was tidied and paved over the summer. New equipment was bought and installed by teachers and our caretaker. The infant classes can now learn and play outside and let their imaginations soar!
Mental Health Awareness Week
The importance of physical activity was a main element of Mental Health Awareness Week in October. The girls tried their hand at yoga. Children engaged with the outdoors and came together for a whole school dance in the yard.
Music on Fridays
The committee made the decision they would like to have a treat during breaktimes on Fridays. They decided they would like to have the speaker on yard and play their favourite songs to dance along to. It has made for a great fun Friday!
Equipment on yard
The committee also discussed what equipment they would like on yard during breaktimes. They made the decision to have a large skipping rope per class and a sponge ball per class also. Each class has responsibility for their own equipment and make sure everybody has a chance to play.
The first classes took their iPads out to explore the signs of autumn around the school grounds. They loved getting some fresh air!
Activities were set up in the hall for all to try. Everyone had a frighteningly good time!
6th class girls have volunteered to skip their own big break to help in the junior infant and junior yards. They go in groups for one week and teach the younger girls games which they can play while on break. The younger girls have been delighted to see them and love playing these new games.
The sudden cold snap which brought ice and snow meant that we could not use our school yards for a few days. We took the opportunity instead to walk through the park to stay active and get some fresh air!
Before the Christmas holidays approached, we got a surprise visit from Santa! It was a wet day so we were stuck inside for the day. Santa recommended we did some stretches and exercises with him which we all loved!
Active Break every Day Challenge
In January, we began our ‘Active Break every Day Challenge’. The committee met in advance to get some ideas of the different activities the girls could do each day. After the meeting, the girls compiled their ideas and a variety of activities including exercises, stretches and dances were chosen. For 4 weeks, each class tried different active breaks each day. This break and getting out of the seat helps to focus the mind and concentrate better.
Seachtain na Gaeilge
In preparation of Seachtain na Gaeilge, the committee compiled a ‘Seachtain na Gaeilge Walkway’. Each class had a go agus bhain siad an-taitneamh as.
Also, the teachers prepared the girls for the Céilí Mór. Each class learnt the different popular céilí dances. Some older girls helped younger girls in advance to learn the steps. By the time Lá Glas came around, all the girls were ready for the big céilí in the yard which they all loved!
Bhailigh Rang a Cúig le chéile sa chlós chun Gaeilge a labhairt lena chéile. Bhog na cailíní timpeall an chlóis ag caint agus ag gáire.
Run around Ireland Challenge
In March, we began our running challenge. In the hall, a large map of Ireland and its major landmarks was shown. Each class had to run the distance it took from our school to that landmark. 1 lap of the yard represented one kilometre on the map. Each class was eager to reach each landmark and our leader board was racking up landmarks each day! Everybody had great fun and worked together to achieve their class’s goal!
Spring Garden Visits
Different classes visited the garden to see the signs of spring and look for the different flowers and signs of new growth.
6th Class Walk
With summer weather making the odd appearance, the 6th classes opted to walk through the park to go to the church to practice for their confirmation. The sunshine and fresh air made for a lovely walk.
From the outset, the pupils have been leading the Active Flag application process. The Student Council returned for the first time since Covid-19 and they voted to make the Active Flag application their priority for the year. They meet regularly to discuss the process and have been wonderful with their ideas and efforts. They make sure that everybody across the school is kept up to date with any information regarding the Active Flag.
The first step for the committee was to choose an active slogan for the school. The committee decided the fairest way to decide was to hold an open competition. Each class voted for their favourite slogan. The committee voted for their favourite from the short list. The winning slogan is ‘You won’t feel bitter when you get fitter’! Some members of the committee created posters which were placed on our Active Flag board.
School GAA Team Success
The school fielded two GAA teams this year. They took part in the Cumann na mBunscol competition and trained each week with their coaches, Ms. McGeary & Mr. Spain. Both teams had great success and the whole school was extremely proud of their efforts!
Local Sports Partnership
After contacting the Local Sports Partnership, two representatives came to the school and met with Ms. Carroll and Mr. Cronin. They had a very interesting and informative meeting. Out of this meeting, the school borrowed some balance bikes which were used by the infant classes. The infant girls loved using them on yard and the teachers were delighted with this unique opportunity.
Hockey Team Success
The school’s hockey team had wonderful success this year. In March, the team made it to the final of the Leinster league! The girls had wonderful support from their classmates on the day and the whole school community was so proud of them!
The 1st classes have been taking part in the Picker Pals initiative. Each week, 1 girl from the class brings the picker pack home and heads out to pick up litter in their area. They are getting active while helping the planet at the same time!
What clubs are you in?
In March, the committee completed a survey of the girls in the school. They asked them which local sports clubs they were members of. The girls went around to each class and reported their results back at the following committee meeting. Their results were very positive and a bar chart of their findings was placed on the Active Board. Their results were as follows:
- 174 children play Gaelic football
- 43 girls play camoige
- 244 girls swim
- 124 girls play tennis
- 183 girls play hockey
- 65 play soccer
- 244 girls partake in other sports including horse riding and gymnastics
As you can see from the results, we have a very active bunch of girls at St. Brigid’s!
Active School Week was held in April. This is a week where the school tried to be as active as possible for the entire week. To prepare, the committee came together to discuss the different events and interests they would like to see as part of the week. They then prepared their speeches for their class to inform them in advance that written homework would be replaced by ‘active homework’ and that girls should wear their tracksuits for the week. Along with their usual scheduled PE classes, children partook in a variety of different and fun activities. Below is how the week went!
Wake Up, Shake Up!
Each day started with an announcement over the intercom by members of our committee outlining the theme and activities for each day. Then each class tried a different dance to help blow away any cobwebs each morning to start the day alert and active.
Deidre Farrell of Chaney Farrell Academy of Irish Dance came on Thursday to give different classes a flavour of Irish dancing. She showed how active Irish dancing can be and how it also an amazing form of exercise while having fun. All the girls loved it!
Webinar with Olympians
On Thursday, some of our classes tuned into a gold medal webinar! Olympians Rhys McClenaghan & Aidan Walsh were interviewed live with questions posed by pupils watching the webinar. The webinar was very interesting and everybody was enthralled by the interview.