Kildare and Wicklow ETB Newsletter Issue 11, PARTNERSHIPS - Page 52

As part of the new Junior Cycle, students will experience a new area of learning. The Junior Cycle Wellbeing programme begins in 2017 with 300 hours of timetabled learning over the course of the Junior Cycle.

In anticipation of this dynamic inclusion, Coláiste Lorcáin, Castledermot, Kildare have spent ten months pioneering an innovative first year Wellbeing programme with Kildare GAA. The initiative was inspired by the Principal, Eric Gaughran, who spoke to key members of staff about finding new ways for students to be physically active and connected to their local environment as well as building their sense of identity.

When thinking of grassroots organisations that promote wellbeing at a local level, the GAA and schools are a natural Partnership to influence young people’s lives. Recognising this invaluable local link, Coláiste Lorcáin and Kildare GAA, in the person of Cormac Kirwan, Director of Operations, and Noel Mooney, Director of Coaching, Kildare GAA, joined forces to develop a specific GAA Wellbeing programme for first year students. According to the Principal, “We were delighted when Cormac and Noel agreed to come on board and support the initiative. They made available to us the knowledge of the GAA as regards being active, being well and being healthy. In addition, they agreed that the specialist coaches of Kildare GAA would work with our incoming 1st years from March 2017 until June 2020”.

The pilot programme consists of three strands that encompass GAA coaching, nutrition and social history. The three strands combine to complement the NCCA indicators of Wellbeing. Firstly, students of every ability will hone their basic Gaelic football skills to appreciate sport as a fun, inclusive hobby.

Strand I consists of Six weekly coaching sessions per year from 1st to 3rd Year, which will promote the importance of staying active, cultivate connections to community and build interpersonal skills such as leadership and responsibility.

In Strand 2, students will also learn ‘managing myself’ skills through the inclusion of a minimum of four hours formal lessons on nutrition and healthy eating.

For Strand 3, lead History teacher Elaine Campbell, of Coláiste Lorcáin, devised three history sessions / lessons to foster student’s appreciation of the GAA and its impact on our collective history. Rich, collaborative learning tasks allow students to investigate their local GAA club history. Students will also explore the GAA’s contribution to the emergence of independence & partition.

Ms. Campbell highlights that “Our aim should be to build on the success of the 1916 Centenary in capturing student’s imagination. I hope that this module will further inspire students’ sense of pride in our social and cultural history”. Finally, students will learn about the evolution of Gaelic football in the 21st century and its influence on national identity and our sense of wellbeing.

The culmination of the entire module is a fun GAA Blitz competition hosted in two KWETB hub schools in north and south Kildare. Kildare GAA Operations Manager Cormac Kirwan has commended the blitz as, ‘A low stakes, positive reward system that will encourage students of all abilities to enjoy the day and mix with their peers in a recreational environment”. It is envisaged that the ‘winners’ of the Kildare Blitz will take on the Wicklow winners in a cup final to bolster cross-community links and links between the close knit KWETB schools.

With the support of Mr. Rory O’Toole, Director of Schools, KWETB, all Kildare ETB schools are being invited to engage in this programme and are being funded to do so by Kildare GAA and KWETB.

For further information on the KWETB GAA Wellbeing Programme contact::

Eric Gaughran, Principal, Coláiste Lorcáin,

or Cormac Kirwan, Director of Operations, Kildare G.A.A.

Coláiste Lorcáin’s GAA Wellbeing Programme