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The need for kids to move more




By Tommy Flaherty from Activate Fitness

It seems obvious at first glance that kids need to move more - the obesity epidemic is growing, and technology invites a more sedentary lifestyle and creates a new set of movement problems.


Sports specialisation along with helicopter parenting have fostered a generation or two who have not experienced, and are not experiencing, play as children.

Children are missing something natural - normal healthy movement, a variety of sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes heavy, and sometimes difficult exertion. So, we should have kids workout because we see that the lack of movement is bad.

Why kids should workout

Kids should work out because it encourages, supports, and helps sustain good physical and mental health. As it develops, the human body needs movement to properly make use of natural physiological, as well as psychological and social development milestones in the most optimal way.

There is an abundance of research out there identifying the benefits of physical activity for various aspects of our well-being: brain function, cardiorespiratory health, lymphatic system, mental health, etc. We need to move for optimal health, no matter our age.

“Kids Can’t Express What They Don’t Possess”

It seems intuitive that this is the case; however, many parents and fitness coaches assume modifying an adult-based programme is good enough.

It is easy to fall into the trap of desiring that your child engages in an activity that you enjoy, without thought or accommodation to the idea of what is best for the child and how that differs at each biopsychosocial age.

For example, when biological expression is considered, what are kids able to gain from the training stimulus, if anything? Is increased work capacity or power output a proper goal for a seven-year-old?

We can begin moving toward what to do, and how to do it once we agree on why we need to do it. All children should exercise with a plan that is designed with their development, physiological stage, and best interests in mind.

Prepare, Practice and Play

We at Activate, along with The Brand X Method, embrace this in each class with our Prepare • Practice • Play framework, which provides an easy-to-retain class structure and acts as a training roadmap.

Physical skills are introduced in Prepare. Movement patterns are worked on in Practice. As kids move through our programme they learn new skills and refine movement patterns in both an age and developmentally appropriate manner. Kids then apply what they learn to movement problems presented during Play, creating their own unique movement solutions.

This expanded physical capability can be defined as physical literacy, which is foundational to athleticism. We’ve all seen kids like this, those with the confidence, competence, and motivation to engage with all of the varied environments they encounter in the world. They move differently, with a distinctive rhythm and grace; they are often called “natural athletes”. The world is their playground, and they are capable of playing there for the rest of their lives, moving from one challenge to the next with freedom and fearlessness.



Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


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Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

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