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Aldi Play Rugby Case Studies: Class Lessons & Rugbyathon

Aldi Play Rugby Festival, Castlebar RFC, Co. Mayo 10/4/2019 A view of participants at today's festival Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Today was a red letter day for the 6th class pupils of Scoil Mhuire Na Trócaire in Ardee, Co. Louth. After yesterday’s graduation ceremony, their last day in the all-girls primary school was spent getting the classroom tidied up, saying their goodbyes and making plans for the summer and what lies ahead.

It was a short window between the reopening of the school and the end of their time in primary education, but they made the most of it with the help of their teacher, Ms Sheridan.

Elaine Sheridan believes in the value, promotion and enjoyment of physical activity in Scoil Mhuire Na Trócaire – that’s one of the reasons the school has just been awarded its second Active School Flag.

When she heard about the chance to be part of the Aldi Play Rugby Rugbyathon on April 28th, she jumped at the chance.

The Rugbyathon was about giving every child in a participating school the chance to play rugby on the same day.

Using class pods and COVID-19 safety bubbles children were active through fun rugby games and activities over the course of a school day.

Ms Sheridan identified three key benefits to the Rugbyathon.

  • Access
  • Social
  • Academic

“In terms of their social skills it really helped,” she told IrishRugby.ie in the above case study.

Additional schools active in the Aldi Play Rugby programme had highlighted the need to prioritise opportunities for social development in light of the pandemic.

“Some children don’t have any siblings or aren’t used to playing as part of a team. When they got back to school and had the chance to train in small groups in their pods, I think it really helped them socially.

“Academically, it helped them too. We know any sort of physical education increases children’s attention span when they’re back in the classroom.”

Ms Sheridan also highlighted the role that schools play in giving children access to new experiences.

“Not all kids get a chance outside of school to try these sports so to have these taster sessions is absolutely fantastic.

“Not all children will have balls at home. They won’t have the resources or the equipment to work on these ball handling skills or ignite their passion for sport, so it is important that we do this in school.

I know a lot of the girls would have said before this started that they have no interest in this and now they have a substantial interest in it.

Rugbyathon was one of a number of new offerings under the Aldi Play Rugby Programme in 2021.

Aldi Play Rugby Class Lessons were also launched to bring rugby into the classroom and help children learn in a fun and interactive way.

Teachers can avail of special Class Session packs that use rugby to explore core subjects including Literacy, Numeracy, Art, Personal Development, History and Geography.

IRFU Children and Youth Development Manager Colm Finnegan outlined in his case study what the value of this type of approach can mean for pupils.

“From an academic standpoint, I was always more interested in the sporting side of things at school,” he said.

“I would have loved the opportunity to do my maths through some physical activities or learn a little bit more about the skills needed to be part of a team.

“So we took a fresh look at it and put together a number of packs that teachers can go and use in terms of lesson plans on a range of different subjects.”

Click Here To Access Aldi Play Rugby Class Lessons