In RETNS we recognise the value of physical exercise for children and as a school we strive to promote physical education and to be an active school community. All of our teachers adhere to DES guidelines regarding PE timetable provision for all students and teach a broad and balanced PE curriculum. We continue our commitment to promoting COW/WOW with the children and are delighted with the response to the Walking Bus initiative organised by parents. In February we will again have our Skip ‘n’ Rope workshop to promote skipping among the children. Last year after the skipping workshop we introduced more skipping ropes onto the yard and these proved to be a big hit with the children. We will be encouraging children to take part in a new DLR initiative Green Passport which launches shortly. The aim of this initiative, which complements our Green Schools and Active work, is to encourage young people to turn off the TV and computers and become more physically active.
Over the years we have introduced a number of different sports into RETNS and have availed of expertise in the form of teacher training and outside provision. 5th and 6th classes have greatly enjoyed the lunchtime games sessions from Shamsi, which he provides to the school on a voluntary basis. This year we have re-introduced basketball, which will continue this term and which is now being offered as an extra-curricular activity. Soccer is always a very popular sport and this year we begin soccer training earlier in the term to give the children maximum benefit from the training. This term also, in response to requests from a number of members of the school community, in particular from the children, we have decided to put a special focus on developing athletics in the school. Athletics is a particularly good area of sport in which to develop individual abilities and where each child can be provided with opportunities to challenge him/herself to run faster for longer periods, to throw an implement further and to jump further or higher. Athletics is particularly suitable for children of different abilities as it allows the satisfaction of individual improvement, while providing an opportunity for children who are not interested in team sports to take part in a fun and personally challenging physical activitiy.
Progress can be measured individually, and for children of limited ability this is particularly satisfying because they can see their improvement. The athletically able child has unlimited targets and is not restricted by any lack of ability on the part of other children in the class. PE Curriculum, Teacher Guidelines.
In order to kick start our focus on athletics we are introducing a 10 week in-school programme for 1st to 6th class, on a similar basis to the current dance lessons, in which skills and techniques in the areas of running, jumping and throwing will be developed to improve accuracy and distance and children will be given a better understanding of speed, strength, control and co-ordination. Children will be encouraged to develop a love for athletics and they will begin to acquire an understanding of training to prepare for performance in track and field events. One such annual event is Santry Sports, and there will also be after-school training specifically for those interested in taking part in this event.
We hope that through developing an interest and love for athletics some children will be motivated to pursue athletics further by joining a local athletics club and begin an enjoyable and very sociable activity that can be with them for life.