Pupils juggle range of new activities for Wellness Week
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.