Primary School Sport

21 January 2019

PRESS RELEASE: Antrim GAA launch 5 Star Centre Initiative for primary schools

A new primary schools-based project to promote physical activity has been launched under the umbrella of Gaelfast, Antrim GAA’s new strategic initiative.

Antrim GAA, in collaboration with St Mary’s University College, launched the GAA 5 Star Centre Pilot Project involving sixteen primary schools within the greater Belfast area and County Antrim. The 5 Star Centre initiative, which was recently launched by the GAA, aims to acknowledge the outstanding work of teachers in promoting Gaelic games. It is effectively an exercise in empowering teachers to engage children in a manner where they experience the optimum level of fun, friendship, fairness, freedom and, ultimately, fitness functionality.

Antrim GAA County Chair, Ciarán McCavana, welcomes this new and exciting initiative. He said:

“The GAA 5 Star Centre initiative has the potential to make a significant and meaningful contribution to the health and well-being of children. This comes at a time when 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 involved 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 the new 5 Star flag, which we hope will be a symbol of how proud we are to promote our games and our culture.”

The Principal of St Mary’s University College, Professor Peter Finn, also said:

“Promoting physical activity for pupils in primary schools, in a climate of diminishing financial resources, is a challenge for the education sector. However, an even greater challenge is to ensure our children are learning physical literacy, understanding the importance of a healthy lifestyle and enjoying participation in sport. St Mary’s University College has been a leader in this field through teacher education and is now delighted to be a partner in a new innovative pilot project”.

GAA Director of Games Development and Research, Pat Daly, noted:

"By 2022, we aim to have generated thirty-nine million hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity across 90% of Ireland’s primary schools and seventeen million of these hours per school year thereafter. 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 in terms of ensuring that things are “Going WeLL”. In this way everyone involved experiences the best possible sense of Wellbeing & Lifelong Learning (WeLL)”.

Primary School Teachers/Principals who wish to express interest in becoming a GAA 5 Star Centre can do so at the GAA Learning website.

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