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Minister Byrne launches Olympic Movement Breaks in primary schools

Minister Byrne launches Olympic Movement Breaks in primary schools

The Olympic Federation of Ireland, Team Ireland Athletes and the Active School Flag programme come together to get Irish primary school pupils more active

The Minister of State for Sport and Physical Education, Thomas Byrne TD, today launched the Olympic Movement Breaks with the Olympic Federation of Ireland and Active School Flag Programme. .

The initiative will see the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s Dare to Believe programme working alongside the Active School Flag Programme in creating exciting opportunities for primary school pupils to be more physically active.

The Olympic Movement Breaks is an easy-to-use format, with a series of short videos led by Olympians and High-Performance athletes demonstrating fun exercises and activities that students of all abilities can do. The short videos, across a variety of different sports including athletics, boxing, rugby sevens, swimming, breakdancing, and para powerlifting, will help generate classroom-based movement opportunities.

With a shared goal of highlighting the many fun benefits of being more active, Dare to Believe and the Active School Flag Programme are using the Olympic Movement Breaks to encourage schools to take part in a four-week ‘Active Break Every Day’ challenge. Twelve athletes lead easy and fun exercises that range between 3 – 5 minutes and require no additional resources. Regular movement for children brings many benefits to the teaching and learning process, and following these high-performance athletes is a great way for young people to see some of the athletes who will represent Ireland in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games next summer.

Teachers will have access to a challenge chart where they can check off videos that their class completes each day during the 4-week challenge, which runs from Monday, 13th of November through to Friday, 8th of December. Furthermore, additional resources will be available alongside the videos where children can learn more about the athletes featured in the videos, by reading their bios and information on their respective Olympic sport. They also will learn about Olympic history and values and have the option of participating in a fun Olympic quiz at the end of each week.

The OFI Dare to Believe programme is supported by PTSB, the official sponsor of Team Ireland at the Paris 2024 Olympics. The Olympic Movement Breaks were created by the Dare to Believe co-founders Roisin Jones and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas with input from the Olympic athletes who participated in the programme, and with input from several teacher consultants, in collaboration with the Active School Flag programme.

The Minister of State for Sport and Physical Education, Thomas Byrne T.D., joined Olympians, Ellen Walshe and Harry McNulty, and the students of staff of Rathregan N.S. in Batterstown, Co. Meath, to launch Olympic Movement Breaks.

Commenting on the launch, Minister Byrne

“I am delighted to officially launch the Olympic Movement Breaks with the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s Dare to Believe Programme and the Active School Flag Programme

working together to address the challenges of decreasing levels of physical activity among our youth. It shows what can be done when Government departments and agencies work together for a common goal.

“The Olympic Movement Breaks have been developed to encourage primary schools to get involved in the Active Break Every Day Challenge, held annually by the Active School Flag Programme. I am determined to see more schools, more active, more often, and the Olympic Movement Breaks will certainly support schools in this ambition in a fun and inclusive way.

“Building movement opportunities, such as these, into the school day creates positive impacts for our primary school pupil’s physical health and mental wellbeing, it also brings benefits to the teaching and learning processes. I would encourage all schools around the country to take part in this initiative and I look forward to hearing about school experiences in this fun and exciting challenge.”

Dare to Believe was co-founded by Beijing 2008 Olympian Roisin McGettigan-Dumas and Roisin Jones. Speaking at the launch of the Olympic Movement Breaks, the latest initiative from the PTSB-sponsored programme, Jones said,

“Dare to Believe is delighted to partner with Active Flags to deliver its latest fun but functional initiative for primary schools: ‘Olympic Movement Breaks’. Promising research indicates that short active movement breaks are shown to help students academically and emotionally as well as physically, so we want to help students to get in their learning zones! That’s why we’ve created over 20 Olympic Movement Breaks. We encourage teachers to use our Olympic Movement Breaks whenever their students need to take 5 to reset and refocus. It will give kids an introduction to Team Ireland Olympic athletes and challenge them to do some sort of sport-related activity.”

Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Hildegarde Naughton T.D., said:

“The promotion of physical activity for health is one of my Department’s priorities and I am particularly pleased to see any initiative which encourages children and young people to get active and stay active. I am very happy to welcome the launch of the Olympic Movement Breaks programme and I encourage everyone to join our Olympic and Paralympic heroes in reaching for a healthy body and mind.”

Registration for the Dare to Believe Olympic Movement Breaks is free of charge and all details can be found on

For further information please contact:

Heather Boyle, OFI Communications, PR and Athletes’ Commission Support +353 87 337 1954

Noel Sweeney, Department of Education Communications Unit

About Dare to Believe

Launched in 2019, the Olympic Federation of Ireland schools programme, Dare to Believe, aims to inspire the young people of Ireland to ‘Dare to Believe’ in themselves through an interactive curriculum that explores the Olympic Values and includes visits with Team Ireland Olympic and Paralympic role models that bring the values to life. The programme now includes both Core Primary and Post-primary programmes, Olympics School Challenges, Olympians Live! Webinars, etc.

Dare to Believe is sponsored by the International Olympic Committee Solidarity Fund and PTSB.

The programme now boasts 31 world-class Olympic and Paralympic ambassadors who visit schools all over the country to share their inspirational stories of resilience and teaching students how to set goals and adopt healthy lifestyles through participation in sport.

Resource packs that cover the Olympic Values of Olympism, Respect & Equality, Healthy Mind & Body, Joy of Effort and Striving for Excellence are sent to schools to prepare for the Dare to Believe Ambassador’s visit. All materials are user-friendly, completely free and identify Irish National curriculum strands for teachers.

About Active Schools Flag

Active School Flag (ASF) is an initiative of the Department of Education, supported by Healthy Ireland and administered through Mayo Education Centre. The aim of the programme is to get ‘more schools, more active, more often. ASF is awarded to schools that strive to achieve a physically educated and physically active school community.

Once awarded, ASF remains valid for a period of three years. Currently, 809 primary schools, attended by 144,829 pupils, hold ASF status, with many more working towards the flag at present. A new ASF process for post-primary process is in development.

Team Ireland Olympic Movement Break Athletes

Nadia PowerAthleticsDublin
Sarah LavinAthleticsLimerick
Thomas BarrAthleticsWaterford/Limerick
Dean ClancyBoxingSligo
Kelly HarringtonBoxingDublin
Leon DwyerBreakdancingDublin
Rhys McClenaghanGymnasticsDown
Shane O’DonoghueHockeyDublin
Britney ArendsePara PowerliftingCavan
Harry McNultyRugby Sevens (Captain)Tipperary
Lucy MulhallRugby Sevens (Captain)Wicklow
Ellen WalsheSwimmingDublin