IRELAND’S favourite and best known Olympian, Sonia O’Sullivan, is bringing her plea to get behind our 2012 Olympic Team to every primary school classroom in the country.
The drive to get Ireland’s young people behind our greatest athletes is part of a new YouTube and schools initiative aimed at getting children reading and learning about the Olympics using a new classroom resource.
With less than 90 days to go to the start of the Games Sonia said that while everyone cannot be an Olympic Champion, children in particular can still benefit from sport. “We have quite a few good medal opportunities in this year’s Olympics and our team continues to grow. The Irish supporters are the best supporters in the world and I want everyone to get behind our team.
“The more children who take part and enjoy sport the more likely Ireland is to breed a new generation of sporting greats,” she said as she made the YouTube video to encourage schools to use ‘The 2012 Irish Olympic Team in London’.
The new schools-based initiative is the brainchild of Prim-Ed Publishing and the Olympic Council of Ireland and covers subject areas such as history and geography, maths and English while learning about the Olympics in a fun and engaging way.
It is really important for the athletes to be aware that they have the support of the public behind them when the Games on July 27, O’Sullivan said. “It is always beneficial to know in the back of your mind that people care about what you are doing and it encourages athletes to work harder to get rewards that they can share with their family, friends and Irish supporters.
“Sport, whether competitive or social, is the single most important activity combined with a good diet that generates health and fitness in children and leads them to maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout their lives,” she added.
The resource pack, produced in Wexford by Prim-Ed Publishing consists of a series of photocopiable resources, accompanying interactive CDs and decorative packs to involve students in the magic of the Olympics, in primary schools.
Ms. O’Sullivan, said she plans to use the books to help her two daughters Ciara and Sophie, understand more about the Olympics, the history of the Games and the sports it includes.
“I think the Prim-Ed Olympic books and CDs will generate a lot of knowledge for young children to help them understand many aspects of the sports in the Olympic Games this summer and encourage young athletes to ‘dream big’ and believe in themselves. I think these books will help teachers and parents to encourage children to take part and be more active in sport now and in the future,” O’Sullivan said.
“I am really excited about this publication. It contains a wealth of easily understood Olympic facts and details that will help children enjoy the Olympic Games more and help them to relate to athletes of various sports competing for Ireland this summer. I can’t wait to share these books and CDs with my own children when we are in Ireland and London this summer,” she added.
The pack for schools is tailored to pupils aged 5-8, 8-10 and 11 plus and comprises of a series of three books with accompanying interactive CDs and decorative packs which include a poster, door hanger, stickers and banners. There are also eBooks available also for projection onto interactive boards. While it is designed for use in the classroom, the publishers say it is also likely to be a huge hit with sports-mad children to use at home.
Prim-Ed MD, Seamus McGuinness, said children learn best when stimulated by material relevant to their world and interests and is confident the Olympics resource will be a huge hit in primary schools right around the country.
“The copymasters and eBooks, which can be used on interactive whiteboards, include teacher’s notes, curriculum links and lesson plans. They will feature up-to-date information on our Irish athletes and also past heroes. We’re thrilled with the resource and having an elite athlete such as Sonia O’Sullivan giving it a glowing review, we hope pupils nation-wide will use this programme and really get behind our athletes as they so truly deserve it.
“This OCI partnership will help teachers harness the Olympic spirit in our classrooms and bring the spirit of the games to life, while at the same time improving literacy, numeracy, geographical knowledge, dietary and nutrition plans in a fun, exciting and new way.”