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Keeping the Learning Going At Home: How to keep children happy, healthy and learning movement skills while schools are closed

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In this series, specially written for Independent.ie, the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) offers some valuable pointers to parents across a range of different learning areas.

PDST is a Department of Education and Skills support service.

The latest edition looks ways to keep children happy, healthy and learning movement skills while schools are closed.

In previous weeks, the PDST shared tips on how to make the most out of reading time and how to support children in developing digital story telling skills.

What are Fundamental Movement Skills?

Fundamental Movement (FM) Skills are the basic building blocks of movement and a core element of physical literacy, because enhanced movement competence enables children to participate in a wide range of physical activities and settings. The 15 FMS are divided into the following three categories:

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Photo: PDST

Photo: PDST

Photo: PDST

Why is it important to continue this skill development now?

The primary years are particularly significant in the child’s physical literacy journey. Research shows that being physically active later in life depends on feeling confident in an activity setting; and that confidence, as an adult, most often comes from having learned this range of specific movement skills as a child.

Moving well and moving often contributes to the pupil’s physical, social, emotional and intellectual well-being and development. Now that schools are closed, how can we ensure that children continue to develop these skills in a happy, healthy way?

The PDST has now developed the Beyond the Classroom programme – a series of videos and activities designed to help children to keep active and keep learning at home.

Each week, we focus on a new skill by releasing three activities with accompanying instructional, motivational videos that children can complete in their home. The activities are designed to be fun, engaging and easy to implement in any space, using objects and materials that can be found in the home.

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PDST is sharing tips for how parents can help keep children active while schools are closed
Photo: PDST

PDST is sharing tips for how parents can help keep children active while schools are closed Photo: PDST

PDST is sharing tips for how parents can help keep children active while schools are closed Photo: PDST

Fundamental Movement Skills at home

1) Practise every day

Your child receives one hour of Physical Education instruction each week at school, on top of opportunities to engage in physical activity during break times and after school. Aim to practise PE skills every day for 15 minutes while schools are closed – use the Beyond the Classroom videos to get started!

2) Talk to your child about PE

What was your child learning about in PE before schools closed? What would they like to do now? What is their favourite PE game? Consolidate your child’s learning by creating a PE journal and encourage them to write about or draw what they practise with you.

3) Be an active parent

Maybe you could do with some practise! Improve your fundamental movement skills by playing the Beyond the Classroom Activities with your child. Decide on new ways to be active together!

4) Be ready to move, anytime

Wear comfortable clothes and don’t be afraid to get them dirty. Whenever the opportunity arises, pick up a ball or rolled-up pair of socks and practise your throwing and catching together. Move well, move often!

5) Mix it up

Try new things. Look for opportunities to move and learn in different ways that excite and motivate your child. Experiencing a broad and balanced variety of activities is a cornerstone of your child’s PE programme. How would you like to learn how to roll like a gymnast? You can! Simply visit https://www.scoilnet.ie/pdst/primarygymrolling/

All activities and videos can be accessed openly at www.scoilnet.ie/pdst/physlit/beyond. This resource, including all of these videos, is also available as Gaeilge.

You can also access 100’s more activities, view instructional videos and download Fundamental Movement Skill posters for your home from the Move Well, Move Often website – www.scoilnet.ie/pdst/physlit

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