Active School Flag

St. Finian’s N.S are currently working towards attaining own first Active School Flag.

What is the Active School Flag?

Active School Flag is a Department of Education and Skills initiative supported by Healthy Ireland. The Active School Flag is awarded to schools that strive to achieve a physically educated and physically active school community. The process aims to get more schools, more active, more often.
Since September we have been very busy in St Finian’s N.S working on the following areas: Physical Education, Physical Activity and Partnerships. We will be organising exciting activities throughout the year and an Active School Week in Term 3. Please click on the mentioned headings to find out more.

In St.Finian’s N.S each class receives at least an hour per week of physical education. All classes are taught 5 different PE strands each year: Games, Athletics, Dance, Gymnastics and Outdoor and Adventure. By taking part in the Active School Flag programme it has helped us to focus on an improved provision of Physical Education in the school. Teachers use the Primary Schools’ Sport Initiate to help when teaching and delivering the different strands as well as the “Move Well, Move Often “programme. The strands are also supported by our visiting GAA coach Seán who takes classes in 6 week blocks throughout the year.


The strand units of the Games curriculum include:
Sending, receiving and travelling
Creating and playing games
Understanding and appreciation of games
In September we focused on the Games strand with the aim of developing the fundamental movement skill of catching.
During Games lessons children were provided with opportunities to develop skills, create and play games, understand and appreciate new and familiar games.  The children have opportunities to develop skills and understanding through enjoyable individual, small group and team activities.
We will revisit this strand in February.


The strand units of the athletics curriculum include:
Understanding and appreciation of athletics
In October we focused on the Athletics strand with the aim of developing the FMS of running.
When delivering the athletics programme it was important to provide opportunities for the child to challenge him/herself to run using the correct technique while exploring the concepts of running over distance, relays, hurdling and sprinting.
We will revisit this strand in April.


The strand units of the dance curriculum include:
Exploration, creation and performance of dance
Understanding and appreciation of dance
Throughout November we are focusing on Creative Dance alongside developing the FMS of skipping.
The emphasis of Dance is always on enjoyment and full involvement by the children and opportunities are provided for the children to be creators, performers and an audience of Dance while exploring concepts such as body shapes, body actions, levels, directions, mirror movement and rhythm.
We will revisit this strand in March.


The strand units of the gymnastics curriculum include.
Understanding and appreciation of gymnastics
This year, as part of the ASF initiative, it was decided by the PE team to select Gymnastics as the strand for development within the school.
We will focus on this strand in our Physical Education lessons in December and January where we will practise all the basic movement actions of balancing, rolling, turning, twisting, stretching, climbing, transferring weight with a variety of rolls. When doing gymnastics we will travel on apparatus. We will devise individual, pair and group sequence and practise take-off and landing skills. Gymnastics will help us with our posture and good body tension. It is also really beneficial to observe and describe movement of peers as this helps with the understanding and appreciation of Gymnastics.

Outdoor and Adventure

The strand units of the Outdoor and Adventure curriculum include:
Outdoor Challenges
Understanding and appreciation of outdoor and adventure activities
In term 3 we will set up orienteering courses around the school. The activities in this strand help to develop appreciation and enjoyment of the great outdoors.  The activities are team-orientated and develop social skills.  Some involve map-reading and problem-solving, coming to group decisions, developing leadership qualities and taking calculated risks.

Physical Activity is the promotion and engagement of exercise and movement in addition to the 60 minute per week timetabled curriculum subject of Physical Education. St.Finian’s actively promotes the message that children require 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. In St. Finian’s we have been very busy since September engaging in a wide variety of different programmes, ideas and initiatives which have inspired the children (and staff) to become more active.

St. Finian’s promotes the full range of fundamental movement skills during break times and pupils are encouraged to run, play and to “Do your talking while you’re walking”. We have two daily playground breaks and our school yard is zoned and marked to allow children to engage in a variety of different activities. Our ASF committee members are our playground leaders who stand at the front of the line and lead some physical activity exercises before all the students walk back indoors.
Our school incorporates physical activity into school calendar events as we hold different seasonal activities and events which can be viewed in detail below.


On the 27thof September the whole school participated in National Fitness Day. All classes met in the halla for 11@11 (11 exercises at 11am) followed by a student versus teacher squat challenge. Back in the classroom teachers discussed ‘Healthy Lifestyles’ with their students supported by a Healthy Lifestyles PowerPoint to prompt discussion. Children drew pictures and wrote about their understanding of fitness. Fitness diaries were distributed around the school for children to monitor and record their physical activity over the course of the week and the school entered a competition with Active Ireland to be in with a chance to win sport related prizes.

Students and staff practising Speed Skaters

Fitness Diaries were distributed across the school

Working on core strength
Student versus teachers


On the 25thOctober all students participated in a “Zumba Halloween Disco” in the Halla. Local Zumba Instructor Dee kindly gave her up her morning to come into the school and lead the students through a variety of Zumba movements and music, finishing up of course with a routine to “Ghostbusters”. The morning was full or energy and enthusiasm and the students thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Students in Fancy Dress led by Zumba Dee


This month St. Finian’s is making a commitment to do the “Active Break Everyday Challenge” commencing on the 19thNovember.Our goal is to energise the school day for the wholeschool community – so staff will join in too!

This is a great way to generate whole school engagement with the Active School Flag process. It also means that children will gain more active minutes every day, in particular as the weather becomes colder and wetter, sometimes preventing them from playing outdoors.
Every class has a challenge chart that is displayed outside of the classroom door which the ASF committee member will tick upon completion every day.

All classes are participating in the  #BeActive ‘Climb the Heights’ skipping challenge which  gives children targets to work towards as well as promoting cross–curricular learning. Children will also participate in physical activity dance breaks through the Go Noodle website. The physical activity dance and skipping breaks coincide with our PE strand Dance and FMS focus Skipping for this month.


Santa Dash

On Tuesday the 11th of December the whole school participated in a ” Santa Dash” as part of our physical activity efforts for the  Active School Flag and as a fundraiser for the school. 6th class led the senior students out of the staff car park gate for 3 laps of the road outside the school. The Juniors cheered on the older students from their yard while listening to Christmas music.It was then the Seniors turn to cheer on the Juniors, who were led around their loop by 6th class students.It was an amazing morning full of energy and enthusiasm and the children looked fantastic in their Santa hats and Christmas attire. We believe that this is the start of an annual activity in St, Finians at Christmas time, next year we will invite parents along!


Partnerships within and outside the school are an important aspect of the Active School Flag. When a school participates in the Active School Flag Programme it is vital to interact and engage with other organisations and clubs.

Active School Flag Committee

Our Active School Flag Committee was established in October 2018 andis made up of one student and one sub from each class so we have 46 students in total. We meet fortnightly and work hard to achieve our Active School Flag in St. Finian’s!
With the help of the committee, the whole school- staff and students- are kept informed on our quest! Our committee members keep all classes up to date on ASF news and events and have an ASF notice board and suggestions box.



Throughout the month of October all classes in St. Finian’s were focused on the skill of running. With that in mind we invited past pupil Jennifer Mc Adams to come in for a chat with the 6thClass students about her success in Athletics. On the 18thOctober Jenifer returned to St. Finian’s and the 6thclass students had an enjoyable afternoon listening to Jennifer describe the dedication and hard work that is needed to become a serious athlete. Jennifer is an all-Ireland 1500 metre champion and has won many medals with her school and athletics club such as cross country and long distance. In particular, Jennifer spoke to the students about being ‘patient’ with running in order to work towards becoming an  an All-Ireland champion.

St Finian’s GAA

On Wednesday the 24thOctober St. Finan’s football team came in to visit the school after winning the football final. The team encouraged the children to join St. Finian’s GAA if they are not already a member and commended the children who persistently attend training. The team inspired the children with their win, showing that the dedication and hard team work can pay off!

Active Schools Week

Active Schools Week will take place in Term 3. Information about Active Schools Week will be posted closer to the time.