Pupils jug­gle range of new ac­tiv­i­ties for Well­ness Week

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Áilín Quin­lan

School never used to be like this!

Pupils on a West Cork penin­sula took time out from their busy school sched­ule to learn how to jug­gle, cor­rectly tie a tie, and to at­tend lec­tures on men­tal health, sub­stance abuse and sex­u­al­ity — plus squeeze in some Tae KwonDo, Ir­ish danc­ing, yoga, kick­box­ing and guided med­i­ta­tion!

A Well­ness Week at Scoil Phobail Beara in Castle­te­own­bere of­fered a colour­ful and packed pro­gramme cov­er­ing a vast range of life skills, dis­cus­sion topics, and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties.

The project, which was the first ini­tia­tive of its kind run by the school — or­gan­ised by a num­ber of staff mem­bers — en­gaged all 320 stu­dents and 40 staff mem­bers, and be­gan with a Mon­day Mile in which ev­ery­one walked, jogged, or ran.

Se­nior cy­cle pupils at­tended talks on life is­sues such as men­tal health, sub­stance abuse, and sex­u­al­ity, pro­vided by psy­chother­a­pists and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Al­co­holics Anony­mous and Ta­bor Lodge.

First years en­joyed ses­sions of Ir­ish danc­ing while demon­stra­tions in Tae Kwon-Do were of­fered to both first and se­cond-year pupils. Stu­dents also par­tic­i­pated in fit­ness classes, along with yoga and kick-box­ing.

Cog­ni­tive skills ac­tiv­i­ties or brain chal­lenges also fea­tured in the Well­ness Week pro­gramme, along with ses­sions of guided med­i­ta­tion, rugby coach­ing pro­vided by Mun­ster de­vel­op­ment coaches, and fit­ness ses­sions pro­vided by train­ers from Aclaí Health & Per­for­mance.

On top of all of that, stu­dents en­joyed spe­cial skills ses­sions in which they learned how to do ev­ery­thing from pre­par­ing a CV to jug­gling and learn­ing how to tie a tie

“This was the first year we have done this,” ex­plained PE teacher Ruairí Deane, one of the or­gan­is­ers. The ob­jec­tive, he said, was to show stu­dents the va­ri­ety of ac­tiv­i­ties avail­able in the com­mu­nity around them and to demon­strate the im­por­tance of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties to exam stu­dents by show­ing them the pos­i­tive im­pact ex­er­cise of all kinds can have on stress.

“There must be a bal­ance in life, even at exam-time,” he said.

The ini­tia­tive was hugely suc­cess­ful and would be re­peated, Mr Deane promised.

“A lot of or­gan­i­sa­tion was in­volved,” he said, adding the Well­ness Week was care­fully tai­lored to work around the school timetable.

While some classes were in­evitably af­fected, the over­all im­pact on the school timetable was min­i­mal, es­pe­cially for exam years. “We are def­i­nitely go­ing to run it again. We are now await­ing feed­back from staff and stu­dents as to when would be the most suit­able time to do it,” he said, not­ing the school was also plan­ning to run oc­ca­sional Well­be­ing Days in the com­ing months.

Well­ness Week at Scoil Phobail Beara in Castle­town­bere in­cluded Taek­won-Do classes at the Her­itage Cen­tre on Bere Is­land.

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