Rugby in primary schools is set to benefit from exciting programmes both online and in-person as Aldi Play Rugby resumes for the 2021/22 season.
Covid-19 restrictions led to a new way of bringing the enjoyment of rugby to children in schools. Aldi Play Rugby Class Lessons were introduced in May 2021 as a way of bringing rugby into the classroom to help children learn their core subjects in a fun and interactive way.
Class Session packs were offered to teachers to use rugby to explore literacy, numeric and artistic skills as well as subjects like history and geography.
Following on from the success of this programme, the packs will be expanded over the season with new progressions and regressions to engage children at all levels.
The return of physical activity and games in schools was marked last April with the first ever Aldi Play Rugby Rugbyathon.
Following its inaugural success, the event will return in April 2022 as a celebration of fun and rugby across the four provinces to give every pupil the chance to play rugby on the same day in their own school.
Aldi Play Rugby is already up and running for the new season with provincial staff on the ground delivering the programme right now, but there is something extra special on the horizon in 2022 – for the first time in three years, the Aldi Play Rugby Festivals will return at both a provincial and national level.
These festivals are stand-out moments for young children in their sporting and personal development and have been a focal point for all the fun that Aldi Play Rugby has had to offer since the programme commenced in 2016/17.
The IRFU have also introduced a new training resource for teachers for this season to help drive development as well as participation at a more localised level.
The IRFU Non-Contact Award provides comprehensive training for teachers who want to run their own Aldi Play Rugby sessions within their school.
The course also serves as a precursor to Teaching Fundamental Movement Skills In PE Through Tag Rugby – a department approved summer course run by the IRFU and provinces and facilitate through local Education Centres.
The course will return in July 2022, making participating teachers eligible for EPV days in the 2022/23 academic year.
Speaking about the season ahead, IRFU Children and Youth Development Manager Colm Finnegan told IrishRugby.ie: “We’re more excited than ever to see Aldi Play Rugby up and running this season.
“Like everything in recent times, we’ve had to adapt and find new ways of working but staff and coaches are back in schools and more children are picking up a rugby ball for the first time.
We’re building towards the return of our large scale festival events but we’ll be continuing with online and localised offerings as well as training opportunities for teachers. All in all, it’s a best-of-both-worlds approach for 2021/22.”