The strand units of the Gymnastics curriculum include:
The Gymnastics strand outlines the movement activities for each class level and indicates how movement can be developed sequentially. The focus is on body action such as jumping, turning, swinging and balancing and with the control and management of body movements in increasingly challenging situations. Movement tasks should be set to match children’s stages of development and should provide all children with opportunities for achievement.
The gymnastics curriculum also emphasises the importance of safety when handling equipment.
The gymnastics curriculum also contains activities which refer to the teaching of specific skills e.g. forward roll, handstand, and cartwheel. Whereas all aspects of gymnastics have to be planned with an emphasis on the state of readiness of the child, this applies particularly to the teaching of specific skills. To be able to perform these with a degree of success, the child needs to be strong and supple and to be able to create tension throughout the body. The teacher should only teach these skills when the child is proficient in the introductory exercises.
While the PE Curriculum outlines the specifics of each of the strand units of Gymnastics across the class levels, the table below provides a summary of progression across the class levels
- Develop the basic movement actions of running, stopping, jumping, rolling, climbing, transferring weight, balancing, twisting and turning wrong body parts – exploring space
- Practice rocking and rolling activities
- Develop body awareness through variations of direction, pathways, levels, shape, speed etc….
- Work together to create and perform a sequence
- Talk about movement and answer questions about it.
- Develop ability to lift, carry and place apparatus safely.
1st and 2nd
Basic movement actions: e.g. balancing, rolling, turning, twisting, stretching, climbing, transferring weight (variety of rolls)
- Body awareness through movement (direction, levels….)
- Travelling on apparatus
- Individual and pair sequences
- Take off and landing skills
- Posture/good body tension
- Ability to lift, place apparatus
3rd and 4th
- Sequence of movement, vary direction, pathways etc.
- Move and travel on floor and an apparatus
- Headstand and handstand
- Forward and backward rolls (at the discretion of the teacher)
- Produce and perform sequence
- Develop good body tension and posture through gymnastics
- Show increased control in take-off, flight and landing
- Observe and describe movement and ask and answer questions about it.
5th and 6th
- Select and link a range of gymnastics actions to travel on the floor and on apparatus
Practice and perform a range of skills
- Produce and perform more complex sequences with a partner on the floor and using apparatus
- Show controlled take off, flight and landing
- Produce group sequences
The approaches and methodologies for PE, outlined in the PE ‘Teacher Guidelines’ on pages 42 -100 are an excellent reference for teachers in organising Gymnastics lessons.
A thematic approach based on the language of movement is outlined on pp 74-75
A unit of work in Gymnastics outlining a ten week programme of work for senior infants is outlined on pp78-79
A unit of work in Gymnastics outlining an eight week programme of work for third and fourth classes is outlined on pp80-81
A unit of work in Gymnastics outlining a four week programme of work for fifth and sixth classes is outlined on pp82-83
In addition the PSSI lessons on Gymnastics for all class levels are an excellent resource for teachers and outline a comprehensive programme of work specific to each class lesson incorporating a variety of approaches and methodologies across the class levels.
Please find attached further resources to support you in implementing Gymnastics
Specific skills: This handout details preliminary activities and specific teaching points for the specific skills of the gymnastics curriculum
Station teaching video footage (Junior): Video footage of ‘station teaching’ in Gymnastics with a junior class highlighting the use of equipment including benches, mats, hoops, ropes and skills including balancing, pencil roll, tuck roll, forward roll
Station teaching video footage (Senior): Video footage of ‘station teaching’ in Gymnastics suitable for senior classes highlighting the use of specific skills including the forward roll, hand stand and cart wheel and the use of equipment including mats, benches, a horse and a climbing frame.
Sequences video footage: Video footage highlighting the use of sequences with middle classes. The teacher is guiding the children through a series of steps that they complete to form a sequence of gymnastic movements.
Symmetry/ Asymmetry video footage: This video footage highlights the use of symmetry and asymmetry through a series of movements performed by children in the senior classes.