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Bígí go Breá Programme Guide
Lesson Plans in this manual span three full terms:
Term 1 (12 lessons)
Term 2 (12 lessons)
Term 3 (10 lessons)
Topics, which are based on Strands/Strand Units of the SPHE Curriculum, are split in to two lessons:
There are approximate timings provided throughout the lessons, which teachers can adjust as necessary depending on the class. Every effort has been made to provide as much material as possible. Classes may move through material at varying paces and this is to be encouraged as the teacher deems necessary.
Each lesson plan provides ideas for questioning and discussion. Although Bígí go Breá follows a natural progression in terms of content, nothing is rigidly prescriptive and adjusting the timing and material to the teacher’s personal classroom context is encouraged.
The resources included to support the lessons of this programme are:
-Animated Story Videos
-Games (Interactive Games and Hands-on Games)
-Creative Wellbeing Art
Animated Story Videos
Bígí go Breá is based on four vibrant characters: Blaze, Breeze, Aqua and Forest. These colourful and engaging characters live in the Ruby Village on a magical island called ‘Gemme’. The four friends go on a journey together throughout the programme and bring the aims and objectives of the S.P.H.E. Curriculum to life. They do so in a colourful, engaging and magical way for your students to enjoy and connect with. Each lesson has an accompanying animated story video, the purpose of which is to set up the objectives and aims of the lesson. It also provides a stimulus for the children to engage with the content.
There are thirteen original songs that accompany Bígí go Breá. These are linked to the lessons throughout the entire programme. The songs are supported by music videos set in the Island of Gemme, featuring Junior Infant children. The purpose of the music is to provide a fun and engaging connection for the children and the lesson content. The lyrics and the music have been written specifically for Junior Infants to engage and inspire them. It would be encouraged for the to children enjoy themselves and move to the music, indeed to learn the songs if they wish. The teacher can use these songs to help instil the aims and objectives of the lesson as they see fit. There is a mixture of both upbeat songs and ballads included and these can all be integrated with the Music Curriculum throughout the year.
The interactive games accompanying each lesson include an explanation in the detailed daily lesson plan. The games are specifically designed for the children to enjoy, as a method to consolidate and assess what the children have learned in the lesson. They are colourful and engaging and include differentiated material in their level of difficulty.
The hands-on games detailed in each lesson plan are a mixture of card games, sorting games and games that can be played using classroom materials or through oral language and imagination. ‘Printables’ are provided where applicable. These, similarly to the interactive games, have an explanation included in the lesson plan and are a way to consolidate and assess what the children have learned in the lesson.
‘Meditation’ can be understood in this context as the application of concentration in order to gain awareness. The type of meditation practiced is simply a matter of what the practitioner puts their concentration on. The meditations accompanying Bígí go Breá have been written and developed following years of my own observation of children part-taking in meditation. The two main challenges that arose for children were:
- Staying still
- Breathing effectively
‘Stillness’ and ‘breathing’ are important skills to develop to gain benefit from meditation. Therefore, two meditations were developed for children to acquire these specific skills, with a third meditation to combine both skills. Each meditation is supported by a video. These meditations are called:
- Wiggle and Freeze
‘Wiggle and Freeze’ and ‘Breathe’ are practiced alternately each fortnight, until half way through Term 2, when the children can being practicing ‘Light’ each fortnight. Below, each meditation is outlined in detail.
Wiggle and Freeze
For children to learn what stillness is, they must be aware of what it is not. This meditation is developed like a game in which the children explore the difference between ‘stillness’ and ‘movement’. Often, children (and adults) can find it challenging to ‘stay still’. This is natural for a number of reasons. Children are typically naturally physically active and energetic and it can be extremely ‘boring’ to stay still. However, the skill of stillness is important to develop in ourselves so that, when we need to, we can concentrate and focus our attention. This can lead to great productivity. This fun game is the first step in developing the skill of stillness.
The rhythm and process of breathing is something we tend to become less skilled at as we grow older. An average, healthy newborn intrinsically would breathe effectively. They make use of the abdomen and engage in deep abdominal breathing, using the full capacity of the lungs. Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange. It can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilise blood pressure. (Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School) As we age, we can develop more shallow, ‘chest’ breathing and often using our mouths to take in oxygen, rather than our nasal cavity. This meditation, ‘Breathe’ is guided by our friend Aqua to develop these skills.
The meditation ‘Light’
As the world can be a busy and chaotic place, there can be many distractions. It is important to take the time to develop concentration and an awareness of ourselves so that we may identify our personal needs and state of mind. Effective meditation, practiced consistently over time can help achieve this. ‘Light’ is a combination of stillness and breathing which focuses the attention on the different parts of the body in a pattern, using the ‘light’ as a focus. The children will develop an awareness of their body and how it might feel. This level of awareness is necessary for the child to be better able to identify how they feel. When the body is still, it can be a gateway for the child to identify how they might be feeling emotionally. This skill, when practiced consistently over time, can help the child to identify how they are feeling as emotions occur. This is desirable, rather than having a build up of emotion to a ‘tipping point’, which can happen if the child is incapable of early identification.
The breathing exercise video is separate from Meditation 2, ‘Breathe’. While the use of this video is identified in the lesson plans, the video can also be used at any time of the day by the teacher. It focuses on breathing only and and uses the analogy of a flower to help the children grasp the idea in a practical and visually appealing way. The children imagine smelling the flower and then gently blowing the petals. It is a calming and soothing exercise for the children to wind down and gain focus.
Creative Wellbeing Art
“Every child is an artist”
“All true art must help the soul to realise its inner self.”
The Creative Wellbeing Art is dedicated to using Visual Art to support and encourage wellbeing. It was created by Kevin Conneely, an Irish primary school teacher.
The activities selected can be used alongside the Bígí go Breá programme as assessment opportunities, as Aistear stations, or as standalone art lessons. There are 18 individual lessons with full lesson plans included.
The desired result is one where the process is enjoyed for its sensory and creative purpose, and the product created by each child is unique and personal.
The creative arts are a wonderful way of encouraging all voices to be heard in the classroom and can be a fantastic way of showcasing individuality, especially when integrated with SPHE and wellbeing.
These activities include both standalone lessons and also long-term projects. The content includes an itemisation of all the materials the teacher will need, including the bare minimum and beyond. There are also pictures of real art accompanying each art lesson which was trialled by a Junior Infant. The activities cover the strands of the Visual Art Curriculum.
Junior Infants often express themselves in Art in a truly individual and free way, which is why it was important to include as part of the Bígí go Breá Programme. Rather than having a colouring workbook to accompany the programme, these lessons are geared towards a more free and individual process.
Welcome to Bígí go Breá
Lesson Overview Term 1
- Lesson 1: Self-awareness A
- Lesson 2: Self-awareness B
- Lesson 3: Self-confidence A
- Lesson 4: Self-confidence B
- Lesson 5: Making Decisions A
- Lesson 6: Making Decisions B
- Lesson 7: Personal Safety A
- Lesson 8: Personal Safety B
- Lesson 9: Safety Issues A
- Lesson 10: Safety Issues B
- Lesson 11: Media Education A
- Lesson 12: Media Education B
Lesson Overview Term 2
- Lesson 1: Knowing about my body A
- Lesson 2: Knowing about my body B
- Lesson 3: Feelings and Emotions A
- Lesson 4: Feelings and Emotions B
- Lesson 5: My friends and other people A
- Lesson 6: My friends and other people B
- Lesson 7: Relating to others A
- Lesson 8: Relating to others B
- Lesson 9: My School Community A
- Lesson 10: My School Community B
- Lesson 11: Environmental Care A
- Lesson 12: Environmental Care B
Lesson Overview Term 3
- Lesson 1: As I grow I change A
- Lesson 2: As I grow I change B
- Lesson 3: New Life A
- Lesson 4: New Life B
- Lesson 5: Food and Nutrition A
- Lesson 6: Food and Nutrition B
- Lesson 7: Myself and my family A
- Lesson 8: Myself and my family B
- Lesson 9: Living in the local community A
- Lesson 10: Living in the local community B
Creative Wellbeing Art