independent

Monday 24 September 2018

Rathgarogue celebrates on the double

Rathgarogue pupils raising their active flag
Rathgarogue pupils raising their active flag
Rathgarogue staff and pupils raising their Health Promoting School flag

Brendan Keane

There was double reason to celebrate in Rathgarogue National School (Scoil Naomh Aine) on Wednesday when it raised a Healthy Ireland Health Promoting Schools (HPS) flag along with a flag to acknowledge its renewed status as an Active School.

The HPS Flag is presented by the HSE to schools as an acknowledgement of work done in improving the health of their school communities.

The scheme supports schools in focusing on health and well-being and involves all members of the school population.

Principal, Elaine O'Connor, welcomed everyone to the Wednesday's event in Rathgarogue and she outlined the work that took place to ensure that the school retained its Active School status in addition to receiving its new accolade.

A HPS committee was set up involving pupils and teachers, Ms Corcoran and Ms Grace, along with parents, Linda Kehoe and Mary O'Shea.

'They worked at identifying priority health areas and over the last two school years an action plan was developed to address the areas identified,' said Ms O'Connor.

The ceremony heard how each school in the HPS scheme appoints a HPS coordinator and team to lead out the progression of health and well-being programmes.

That work in Rathgarogue was supported by Ms O'Connor, the Board of Management, and the wider school community.

At the ceremony information was relayed about European research highlighting the benefits of HPS which include increasing self-esteem, lowering incidents of bullying, adopting a positive approach to health issues and developing safer, cleaner school environments.

The programme also leads to increased parental involvement and better student-teacher relationships.

A number of health-related initiatives were undertaken in Scoil Naomh Aine with the aim of helping the facility progress as a HPS school including: Mindful Mondays, yoga classes, Food Dudes, grandparents [and] friends day, Friendship Week, bug hotels, fairy doors, and distribution of food pyramids to families.

'As part of our campaign to renew our Active Flag status the school set up a new committee in conjunction with Ms Murphy and Mr Holohan to discuss ideas for improving health and activity,' said Ms O'Connor.

To achieve the goal of renewing the flag the school participated in numerous sports events and physical activities including: hurling, football, soccer, swimming, dancing, cycling, athletics, and yoga.

Active lines were also set up to encourage more activity before the children headed back to class after break time. The Active flag committee worked with the HPS committee to improve diet and mental health. Ms O'Connor said everyone involved with the school is proud of the double achievement.

'Great fun was had working towards the goal and as a school we are very proud of our achievement,' she said.

She thanked the management and staff, pupils, parents and wider community for their help and support over the past two years.

Catherine O'Loughlin, from Health Promoting Schools, was in attendance and congratulated the school on its achievement.

Wexford Senior Hurling star, Matthew O'Hanlon, was also present and he outlined the importance of people adopting a healthy, active lifestyle. Like Ms O'Loughlin he encouraged the school to continue its work in promoting good health and well-being.

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