Since 2017, we have been working towards an Active Schools Flag for 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. For more information on the Active Schools Initiative, see here.
You will find all the latest Active Flag news below.
September 2017 Update:
Well done to our very Active and supportive parents and Conor, who took part in the Hell and Back challenge with High Definition Gym. Our superstar 4th class pupil Hannah took part in the Kids Hell and Back race too. High Definition kindly topped up our donations and we are spending a fantastic €1000 on new P.E Equipment! What a great start to our Active School Flag journey.
The Active School Committee is now formed and have started to make some major changes around BETNS. It is their job to spread the Active word around their classrooms and encourage other pupils to take part in our activities throughout the year. We made a plan for the year ahead, designating a specific challenge for each month of the school year. We have a busy few months ahead!
Did you know that children should be active for 60 minutes every day? Physically active kids have better concentration and focus and perform better academically, Finding ways to energise the school day is therefore of benefit, not only for the health of children, but also to enhance the teaching and learning environment. Through busy breaks, PE lessons and yard time children are very active during the school day but there’s still a need for activity after school. See the following link for ideas on how to increase children’s activity levels throughout the day www.getirelandactive.ie/Children/What-do-I-need-to-do-/
We kicked off our after school activities with Yoga classes. The children are really enjoying these classes and are doing them weekly throughout the year, well done!
November 2017 Update:
The School has purchased a badminton and spike ball net, a volleyball, rugby balls, basket balls and a range of new equipment to keep us going on our Active Flag journey.
We have entered our Senior Room into the Volleyball Association of Ireland’s Provincial Spikeball Tournament for 2018 and we are very busy practicing!
What is Spikeball?
Spikeball is an initiative developed by the Volleyball Association of Ireland to aid School Teachers in introducing Junior Volleyball to their students. Volleyball has traditionally been viewed as a difficult sport to introduce to young children, but it doesn’t have to be. SPIKEBALL is an adapted 4-player v 4-player volleyball game that was introduced to Ireland in the last 3 years and has seen participation levels increase by over 300%.
With the simple modifications that Spikeball Volleyball offers, we teachers can easily provide their children with a fun and rewarding Volleyball experience. It is aimed specifically at children of Primary School age and those at 1st/2nd Year in Post-Primary School. The objective of these adaptations is to encourage learning, promote physical activity, and increase the fun for the participants.
To find out more information about Spikeball and the Volleyball Association of Ireland, click here.
We will keep you updated on our progress for the first round Dublin/Wicklow tournament in February 2018.
The Active Flag Schools project has officially launched in BETNS! To celebrate the launch, the AS committee have organised an Active Advent Calendar! They made a calendar for each classroom, with a different active activity for each day on the run up to our Christmas holidays. We aimed to do these activities for 10 minutes each day at 10am. This was our twist on the 10@10 challenge as recommended by RTE’s Operation Transformation in 2017.
We counted squats, completed plank challenges, played mini basketball games and football matches, ran laps of our field and danced away in our classrooms each day to name but a few activities.
January 2018 Update:
This month the AS committee decided to take on a huge challenge to start off 2018 with a bang! Teachers and pupils alike worked hard to achieve an excess of 10,000 steps a day. Two of our amazing children took a whopping 19,000 steps in just one day!
We smashed our 1 million steps goal! Thank you to Wicklow Local Sports Partnership who kindly allowed us to borrow their pedometers for the challenge. Well done to all of the children who took part! We are 1,256700 steps closer to achieving our Active Flag 🏆#ActiveWicklow #OneMillionStepsChallenge
The BETNS staff came together to organise our P.E equipment and to make a plan for our P.E lessons for the rest of the school year. We decided to keep our 10@10 activities, to offer a brain break to our pupils, we have entered the school into a local soccer tournament (more information to follow), we are awaiting a visit from an IRFU coach to train teachers and children in Tag Rugby and we have reminded ourselves of the P.E Curriculum, to make sure our learning objectives are fair, measurable and achievable for our pupils. We reflected on what works for us and what we need to improve on, all for a more active future for the children.
The P.E Curriculum:
There are 6 strands in the P.E. curriculum:
- Outdoor and Adventure
5 out of the 6 strands are covered each year, with Aquatics being taught both in the classroom (water safety) and in the swimming pool. Physical Education is allocated 1 hour per week of overall teaching time, however with Active Schools we hope to increase this through our day-to-day school activities.
If you wish to take a look at the curriculum, it can be found on the NCCA website.
We welcomed World Kickboxing Champion Caragh O’Donovan to our school this month. Caragh talked to us about her kickboxing career and achievements to date. She is aiming to go to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo to represent Ireland! She was a huge inspiration to us and our own mini kickboxers in BETNS.
Caragh joined us part of the Sports for Schools Partnership. On the day, we held a fundraiser for both our school and the athletes. We had to work really hard for an hour, completing a circuit and cheering on our schoolmates. Have a look at this video and see can you spot our budding female Rocky in the making!
Here is our Active School Committee with the World Kickboxing Champion Caragh O’ Donovan
We held a healthy lunch day to recover from our energetics with Caragh. The PTA bought fresh fruit for us to enjoy and eat together as a school. Lynn chose strawberries, bananas, mangos, apples and oranges for us to eat. We had a fantastic afternoon and completed a healthy eating quiz. Eating balanced and healthy foods is just as important as staying active!
To finish off a very busy month, we have very exciting news… we have to congratulate the Senior Spikeball Regional CHAMPIONS… BETNS!!! After months of hard work, sore arms and determination, our amazing team won 5 out of their 6 matches to top the leaderboard against Wicklow and Dublin Schools on the 6th February 2018. We are so proud of their achievement. We will go on to play in the Leinster Finals on 26th February. Come along to support us, ask Claire for details. GO TEAM!
March 2018 Update:
We began the month with lots of outdoor play as the Beast from the East hit our school.
When things settled down again we got back to our Active School duties with a new school initiative. The BETNS Running Club began and is a very popular choice at lunchtime. The club currently has 65% of the school population involved. Have a look at our training routine:
Junior Room: 2 laps of the field
Middle Room: 3 laps of the field
Senior Room: 5 laps of the field
Best of luck to our new BETNS 5-a-side Soccer team, who are taking part in the FAI Primary 5s Tournament this month. The boys and Conor are training hard and will attend their first tournament on April 11th.
We started our Climb the Highest Mountain Challenge this month. Everyday we took movements breaks during class, and we used a skipping rope to count our jumps, and as a result we ‘climbed’ Carrantoohill, Mont Blanc, Ben Nevis, Kneiff, Dinara, Mount Olympus and many more. Michelle’s room climbed all of the mountains the fastest, well done to that active bunch!! The Senior room quickly followed with great success. This was a great achievement for all and really enjoyable too!
Have a look at our Active Week 2018 posts here.
This month we have wish Conor & the boys all the best on their upcoming football tournament.
Our Playground Leaders from the AS Committee have been working hard to encourage teachers and pupils to “Do your Talking as your Walking”, during yard breaks. They have given great feedback in saying that they don’t have to remind anyone of this because everybody is always running around and having fun!
June 2018 Update:
We had a very active school tour this year, as we all went to Fort Lucan. We played all day in the playground, cycled on the go kart track and climbed step upon step to get to the top of the que for the water slide. Its safe to say we all had a ball and we will definitely be having an active tour next year.
We are enjoying the weather everyday and we have been busy with outdoor and active lessons in PE, SPHE and maths! We are so grateful that we have the outdoor space to do this with ease.
Enjoy the holidays and have an active Summer break.
We had our Halloween Active parade to end the half term, and we had so much fun! Our Senior Room are currently preparing for the upcoming Spikeball tournament in January and they are practicing every day.
As the weather hasn’t been so great lately, the staff have been working hard on their indoor activities, brain breaks, movement breaks and active lunchtime activities for very wet days.
Our committee did a fantastic job at organising our sports equipment area. They counted each item and labelled everything so that it is all easy to find and stays tidy. Well done!
Our Slogan Competition for the upcoming term of Active Schools took place this month. We chose GO OUT AND PLAY, GET FIT TODAY!
Take a look at some of our fantastic entries:
January 2019 Update:
Congratulations to our Spikeball team who took part in the Dublin-Wicklow Primary tournament this month. They worked really hard, trained everyday and showed serious commitment. We didn’t retain our 2017 title but we are looking forward to next year’s tournament already! We are choosing some new members for our AS committee this month, as we still have more work to do to achieve our flag.
Meet our new AS committee! They have been working hard this month to bring new ideas and initiatives to the students. They can’t wait to tell you what they have planned.
March 2019 Update:
This month we were keeping busy with our whole school Basketball tournament, arranged by our AS committee. They sorted out the teams, the matches, time keeping, refereeing and keeping scores. Well done to our fantastic winning team whole topped the league by winning their final match. It was very exciting!
April 2019 Update:
This month, our AS committee completed a survey which focused on local community clubs and how the children in our school feel about Active Schools and P.E in our school. We used some of this information to help us plan for Active Week next month. We found out that some of our children attend sports clubs that we didn’t know about. We have invited some of these clubs to our school for ASW. Overall, our survey showed that 100% of our pupils love doing P.E and 96% of our pupils feel that they are very active both during and after school. Some clubs that we didn’t already know about were Pony Club and Blessington Fencing Club.
We had a very Active Easter Hunt this month, thank you to the PTA for their work.
We have also been improving our Active Lines this month, as the AS committee have now taken this job to another level. The children are enjoying a mix of structured exercises as well as free-style dance while waiting for their teachers after the bell.
We have linked our Active School Flag committee with our Green school Flag committee, resulting in a strenuous day of potato planting and weeding. It is important that we integrate our Active schools in with lots of subject. So far we have integrated active schools with art, Gaeilge, Geography and Maths.
Active Schools Week will take place this month on the 27th-31st.
We are excited to have two coaches (one being a parent) from Shamrock Rovers coming help us with our soccer skills, the local Fencing club will be here telling us about what they do and the Wicklow Sports Partnership will be popping in for some fun. More to follow…
In other news.. We attended the Tug Of War with lots of other West Wicklow schools, the Wicklow Local Sports Partnership and Youth Reach in Russborough House. We had a brilliant day out, despite the aching muscles and sore hands.