Physical Activity in St Patrick’s De La Salle
Our school provides twice daily playground breaks for all classes. Our break time is from 10:30-10:40 for Junior Infants to 3rd class and 11:00-11:10 for 4th to 6th. Lunch time is from 12:30-1:00 for Junior Infants to 3rd class and 1:05 to 1:35 for 4th to 6th. These breaks were staggered during Covid and remain so. The advantages of this means that the children have more space to play and their yard space isn’t as busy. There has been a noticeable improvement in our pupils’ behaviour on the yard and during teaching time as a result of the staggered breaks. Pupils have also commented that they look forward to their break times more because of the increase in space and the decrease in pupils on the yard. Classes have access to two basketball courts and four areas with soccer goals. There are also numerous playground markings consisting of hopscotch, maze, slalom events, clocks, squiggly lines, compass and stepping stones to name but a few. These markings help to provide the boys with opportunities to take part in educational games. Pupils have access to sports equipment during break times. The school gates are open every morning and pupils from 1st to 6th are supervised for 20 minutes from 8:40-9:00 while they play outdoors. Junior and Senior Infants are supervised during this time in their classrooms.
Physical Activity Throughout the Year
We love to mark special occasions throughout the school year with physical activities. At Halloween the Active School Committee organised a Halloween Parade where all the boys had an opportunity to walk around the main yard and show off their Halloween Costumes. The whole school had been practicing the Michael Jackson ‘Thriller Dance’ leading up to this day and everyone enjoyed performing all the moves.
For Christmas, the ASF Committee organised the Annual Santa Dash. All the boys dressed up in Christmas jumpers and Santa hats. The main sports field was set out and the different classes ran different distances on the day.
For Seachtain na Gaeilge we invited in Irish dance teacher Evelyn Shortall. Evelyn taught the classes some Irish dancing steps. Bhain gach duine an taitneamh as!
Mrs Tierney organised an Easter Egg Trail for the Senior Infants classes using the Active School Walkway stations. The boys enjoyed running around filling in the letters from each station on their Easter Egg sheets and were rewarded with Easter treats.
Our school trains pupils as ‘Playground Leaders’ to encourage activity during break time. Pupils from the two 6th classes volunteer to play playground games with pupils in Junior infants, Senior infants and 1st class at small break every day for 10 minutes. It’s a winner for everyone because the pupils in 6th class enjoy being given the responsibility to teach different games and activities to their assigned class and the younger pupils enjoy learning from and playing with the 6th class pupils. For the past few months the 6th class have introduced PE equipment for example hoola hoops, bean bags and soft balls into their playground games. Their main responsibility is to encourage and engage younger boys in physical activities such as running, chasing, tagging fun games and enjoying working in pairs and groups too. Playground Leaders are supervised by the staff members on yard supervision.
On Monday 28th and Tuesday 29th of March 2022, we launched our Active School Walkway in conjunction with Get Ireland Walking and the Active School Flag. The Active School Committee helped to plan and map out the route for the Walkway and decided on the four physical activities to be carried out at the blue stations on the route around the walkway.
Our staff enjoy using the signposted Active School Walkway around the school grounds, to energise the boys during the school day, support the PE programme and promote active learning across a wide variety of cross curricular areas including SESE and Maths. Our active school walkway track makes use of the hard surfaces around the school and can be used all year round.
All classes complete the 4-week Active Break everyday challenge each year in November and December. Pupils enjoy activities like skipping, running, Jumping Jacks and wall pushes.
We encourage our pupils and staff to visit local landmarks on foot. During the year classes have walked to Loughboy Library, Kilkenny Fire Station, Watershed Sports and Leisure Centre, (for swimming lessons, Badminton Blitz and Volleyball Blitz), K-Bowl, Kilkenny Castle Park, The Book Centre, Khan’s Book Shop, Scrumdiddly’s, Rothe House, Watergate Theatre, St Canice’s Cathedral, St Kieran’s College, Pococke Golf Course, Nore Valley Walk and James Stephens GAA club in Larchfield.