The GAA has formally launched its new GAA 5 Star Centre initiative aimed at assisting teachers in promoting Gaelic games.
The initiative is based on the principle that every child should get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week throughout the 26 weeks of the school year.
It is focused on delivering fun, friendship, fairness, freedom and, ultimately, fitness functionality.
To become a GAA 5 Star Centre, primary schools and their teachers will organise a range of activities for all children to participate in, with GAA personnel acting in a support capacity.
The diverse range of activities includes Have a Ball, Fun & Run, Camán & Play, Catch & Kick, Skill Challenges and Go Games.
Have a Ball is a series of fun-based exercises that contribute to the development of children’s
rudimentary and fundamental movement skills. The GAA piloted it in Killinure N.S. and Lisnagry N.S. in Limerick earlier this year.
Research conducted by a team from Dublin City University reported that, after a six-week intervention, there was an increase of 7.3% in children’s fundamental movement skill ability.
Fun & Run involves a team of batters or kickers and fielders, is suitable for all age and ability levels and is particularly suited to meet the needs of people with disabilities, people from socially deprived and ethnic minority groups who often perceive themselves to be excluded from mainstream GAA activities.
“The GAA 5 Star Centre initiative has the potential to make an enormous contribution to the health and well-being of Ireland’s children,” said GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghaíl
“This comes at a time when Irish children are engaging in less and less physical activity and levels of obesity and diabetes are on the rise.”
“We want every single boy and girl in Ireland to have had a positive introduction to our games by the time they leave primary school.”
“The GAA 5 Star Centre initiative is a means of achieving this. Without the contribution of Primary School Teachers, the GAA would not be the wonderful organisation it is today. We want to recognise this significant voluntary effort through our new 5 Star flag, which we hope will be a symbol of how proud we are to promote our games and our culture.”
“By 2022, we aim to have generated 39 million hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity across 90% of Ireland’s primary schools and 17 million of these hours per school year thereafter,” added GAA Director of Games Development and Research, Pat Daly.
“The GAA, given its community framework and proven track record in the promotion and development of Child Sport, – as reflected in the enduring success of the Kelloggs Cúl Camps – is happy to Lead the Way with its MVA or Massive Volunteer Army.”
The health and well-being of future generations is a massive challenge facing every level of society. At Thursday’s Sport for Business Women in Sport Conference at UCD, we will be looking at a number of new initiatives looking to keep girls involved in sport through their time in the education system.
This new initiative from the GAA is to be warmly applauded. The numbers speak for themselves and will have a material impact on society.
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