New programme to boost exercise levels in primary school children through Irish

New programme to boost exercise levels in primary school children through Irish

Thousands of primary school children across Ireland can boost their exercise levels and improve their Irish through a free national programme.

izzy Breaks, which promotes movement and mindfulness, was developed by the Irish Heart Foundation and rolled out to hundreds of schools.

It is now available as Gaeilge in partnership with the Gaelbhratach team in Gael Linn, which promotes the Irish language and creates opportunities for its use outside the classroom.

Bizzy Breaks was developed in response to research showing that just 13pc of children meet national physical activity guidelines of at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise daily.

Sedentary behaviour is a significant risk factor in cardiovascular disease and the initiative encourages children to be active throughout the day.

The Irish version, Sosanna Spleodracha, launched by Dr Lisa Cunningham Guthrie, an emergency medicine consultant and prehospital doctor, is aimed at teachers in both Irish and English-speaking schools.

It allows children to hear and use new vocabulary and experience spoken Irish in an active and positive way.

The programme includes a booklet of 24 movement and mindfulness activities, a handbook for teachers, a poster of movements for a wall or whiteboard, interactive activities and ten 10-minute follow-along videos as Gaeilge, presented by broadcaster Aedín Ní Thiarnaigh.

The Irish Heart Foundation’s children and young people programme manager said it has been designed with children and the combined expertise of teachers, health promotion professionals and Irish language experts.

Laura Hickey said: “By bringing fun and short activities into the classroom, children are learning through the Irish language and bringing healthy movements and mindful breaks into their everyday lives.”

“For teachers, the programme offers a suite of movement breaks at high and low intensity and mindful breaks,” she said.

“We hope it will be especially beneficial for teachers who want to introduce more Gaeilge and movement throughout the school day but don’t know where to start,” said Mairéad Ní Thiománaigh, Bainisteoir Gaelbhratach with Gael Linn.

“This resource provides an ideal structure and lots of supporting materials to get them started. Webinar workshops will also be offered for teachers interested in using the resources.”

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