St Clare’s N.S. Ballyjamesduff

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Physical Education


Physical Education in school is hugely important in a child’s development physically, mentally and socially. All classes are taught 6 different strands each year. They are Games, Athletics, Dance, Gymnastics, Aquatics and Outdoor and Adventure. Teachers use the ‘Primary School Sports Initiative’ resource materials to support their lessons. These are available to all teachers on the school server and in the PE resource library. In St. Clare’s NS we aim to include a variety of different sports and activities during the year in the PE curriculum. Over the last two years during ‘Active School Week’ we have introduced the children to ‘Archery’ and ‘Tug of War’, which were really interesting and different. We emphasise the importance of keeping active during play time with initiatives such as ‘Do you talking as you’re walking’ and ‘Active Breaks’ in the class room especially on rainy days. Children receive 60 minutes of timetabled PE during the week but are often rewarded with extra PE/physical activity for good behaviour or achievements earned.




We have a fantastic storeroom full of PE equipment. Both the PE Monitors and the Active Flag committee regularly check the store room to make sure that everything is replaced after use and stored neatly. Everything is clearly labelled and easily accessible for use in PE lessons.


Members of staff complete CPD in Physical Education during the Summer and throughout the school year. All ideas and resources from these courses are shared and discussed during Croke Park staff meetings. Below are some of the different courses completed by teachers and the ideas they shared with the teaching staff:

Teaching Gymnastics Skills in PE

Ms McDaid and Ms Sullivan attended a Gymnastics workshop in November 2018. The workshop focused on rolling variations and sequences. It was a two -hour workshop which aimed to develop teachers’ confidence and competence to safely teach a wide variety of rolling techniques and progressions within gymnastics at all class levels.


‘Getting Active in Physical Education’ – CPD College – attended by Ms O Growney

This course provided approaches, strategies, resources and ideas for PE lessons. It covered all areas of the P.E curriculum including lesson planning, teaching approaches and content delivery, organisation and teaching points, warm up and cool down routines, games and skills development, outdoor challenges and athletics.

‘No Splashing! Teaching Water Safety in the Primary Class Room’ – INTO Learning – attended by Mr Smith

This course was run by the INTO in collaboration with Irish Water Safety. This course aims to increase teacher knowledge and awareness of water safety at sea, on inland waterways, on the farm, in swimming pools and at home. It explored a variety of teaching approaches and resources to support the teaching of water safety. In particular, it explored the Irish Water Safety and Primary Aquatic Water Safety Programme (PAWS). The PAWS programme is currently being implemented in classes across the school.

‘Enhancing the delivery of PE and integration with other Curriculum Subjects’ – Rockcorry GAA Grounds

This course was organised and run by the GAA in local education centers and was attended by Ms Murphy, Mrs Smith, Ms. McKay and Ms. McKenna. The aims of this course were to introduce teachers to Gaelic games including hurling, Gaelic football, camogie, ladies Gaelic football, handball and rounders. The main objective of the course was the advancement of teachers pedagogical, teaching, learning and management skills in the context of the primary school physical education (PE) curriculum.

Ms. McKay stated that “The course was very useful in relation to the delivery of PE right throughout the school. The course enhanced my knowledge of how to integrate PE with other subjects in the curriculum while showing various methodologies where resources may be limited”.

Ms. McKenna stated that “I thoroughly enjoyed the course, it gave me experience and insight into PE areas such as handball and hurling, that I would not have been confident with beforehand. I got a chance to develop my skills in these areas. The course provided me with practical ideas and games that I can easily apply to my PE lessons now in both the Junior and Senior classes. It was a very worthwhile course.”

Active Homework

Here in St. Clare’s, we always encourage the children to live healthy and active lives. The general health and mental health benefits of activity are well documented and include better focus, stronger immunity, happier mood, improved heart health, stronger lungs etc. Scientific research shows that short periods of physical activity–even as little as 10 minutes at a time–performed throughout the day provide health benefits similar to longer periods of physical activity. Therefore we have decided to introduce some ‘Active Homework’ in all classes on the days the students have PE. We have compiled a long list of ideas that the children can choose from, some of their favourites are ‘Create an obstacle course in your house’ and ‘The Baby Shark Dance’!


Please have a look below at all the fun activities we do in PE lessons!


Diving into 2019!

Fifth class have started our annual block of swimming lessons and are really having a splash! We travel to our local swimming pool in Cavan by bus every week to carry on from what we have learned last year and also to learn some new skills. Fourth class lessons will follow over the course of the next month so get practising!



Irish Water Safety has created an educational resource for primary schools called PAWS (Primary Aquatics Water Safety). PAWS outlines life-saving guidelines for children of every age and is available digitally to every school in the country. PAWS teaches children how to be safe around water in homes, farms, pools, beaches and on our waterways, and is written and designed for different age groups. The website contains all sorts of interactive games and puzzles to reinforce lessons learned, PAWS incorporates all aspects of the Physical Education Aquatics strand of the primary school curriculum. It also integrates with the SPHE curriculum covering the strand Myself and strand unit Safety and protection. After completion of the online lessons and activities, students receive an Irish Water Safety Certificate.

Ms Sullivan’s 4th Class receiving their PAWS Certificates


We ran a PAWS poster Competition in 4th Class check out the winning entries below:



Tennis with Coach Michael

He’s our favourite “Chicken Nugget!!”


GAA with Coach Graham

3rd Class Yoga

Mr. O’Connor started Yoga with his 3rd Class this January. They look very zen! Namaste!



We took a bus to Virginia College to play in a basket ball tournament. We played Against St. Mary’s NS. We were split into two groups of 12 and we played two games each. Before we started the TY students ran some drills with us. Then we started to play and each quarter lasted for six minutes. When we weren’t playing we sat and cheered on the second group. Sadly St. Mary’s beat us and then we had to go back to school. We were disappointed but its the taking part that counts! – Hazel Gentles Reid – 6th class



This year the school prioritised Gymnastics for further development. We bought some new trampolines, scooter boards and hoppers to help develop muscle strength, balance and physical co-ordination. We also purchased some balance beams and junior ribbons and wands. The purpose of the Play Wands is to develop artistic movement in rhythmic gymnastics. All the new equipment was used at both the Junior and Senior Sports days in June. We put in place new playground trails on the Junior and Senior yards which help further develop balancing skills during playground games (eg. Hop scotch). The school invited Impulse Gymnastic Club to deliver extra gymnastic lessons to Junior Infants, Senior Infants and 3rd class. The instructors have set up an after school Gymnastics Club in the school hall which is running every Tuesday from 4pm to 5pm for 19 weeks. Ms McDaid and Ms Sullivan attended a ‘Teaching Gymnastics Skills in PE’ workshop hosted by the PDST in Knocktemple NS. Staff are also using the PSSI lesson plans for gymnastics, which are uploaded on the school server as well as in the PE library.

Third class have been busy trying out some spectacular moves in gymnastics and are definitely head over heels about it!!!


Junior Infants are head over heels in love with the Gymnastics class that has started in St Clare’s! What a way to tumble into the week!



Contemporary Dance – Zumba


Zumba is a dance fitness program created by a Colombian dancer and choreographer during the 1990s.  Zumba involves dance and aerobic elements. The choreography incorporates hip-hop, samba, salsa, merengue and mambo. Squats and lunges are also included. Approximately 15 million people take weekly Zumba classes in over 140,000 locations across more than 185 countries!! 

To try it yourself, click this link: 

Irish Dance

Ms. O’Growney’s 5th class are learning Irish dancing