Minister for Education Norma Foley TD today launched details of this year’s Active School Week.
National Active School Week (#ASW21), part of the Government’s Keep Well campaign, takes place from 26-30 April. All schools are encouraged to build Active School Week into their annual school calendars. It is important also that all Active School Week activities are both fun and inclusive.
Minister Foley said: “Our one-million strong school community has now returned to in-school learning, and the announcement of this years’ Active School Week events gives great support to schools in their encouragement of activity in children and young people. Being active is important to everyone’s health and wellbeing, and supports children and young people in their learning.
“Our school communities are doing great work to encourage children to be more active, and Active School Week is full of great ideas and resources to support these vital efforts. This initiative also provides an opportunity for schools to involve parents and guardians. I encourage all of our school communities to take part in this years’ Active School Week.”
Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Well Being and National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan TD said: “The Active School Flag has been a key component of our wider Healthy Ireland goals in terms of improving children’s activity levels and wider health and wellbeing; it has been great to see it go from strength to strength and to expand its reach. Active School Week is especially important this year, given the recent return to in-school learning and should really help children to re-integrate into school in a fun way, in addition to improving activity levels. We are delighted to support the vital Active School Flag programme and #ASW21, in partnership with our education colleagues.”
The #ASW21 Active Every Day Challenge encourages both school communities and families to work together to help more children and young people gain more active minutes every day. The challenge for schools is to find three different ways to energise the school day. Teachers are encouraged to find ways to teach subjects in a more physically active way and, where possible, to bring learning outdoors. The Irish Heart Foundation has created new interactive Bizzy Breaks especially for #ASW21 to help schools integrate short physical activity breaks into the school day. Research shows that physically active children find it easier to concentrate and focus and enjoy school more.
As part of #ASW21 schools are asked to replace written homework with Daily Physical Activity Challenges. These challenges could be set by members of staff, sports organisations and/or by local or national role models. Ireland Active continues its support for #ASW by encouraging students to #TakeOnTheTeachers, one of the most popular activities of many #ASW programmes. This year The Olympic Federation of Ireland is also lending its support to #ASW21 by providing five #ASW21 Olympian Challenges from athletes who will represent Ireland at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Parents/guardians are asked to help young people to continue to find ways of being physically active after school. A wide range of Keep Well resources is available to help families get active together. School staff members are also encouraged to build physical activity into their day once school ends.