This past Spring semester, our i-PLAYERS were treated to some special guests in attendance to celebrate the final session of our 16th offering of the ‘Inclusive Play & Leisure Activities for Youth’ (i-PLAY) programme. Caroline Hickey, Áine McGrath, Róisín Ambrose, Niamh Ryan, and Clodagh McGrath, members of Limerick’s Champion 2018 TG4 All-Ireland Junior Ladies Football Team, were kind enough to stop by, hand out certificates of participation to our i-PLAYers, and most importantly show off the mighty ‘West County Hotel Cup’!!! It was definitely the highlight of the semester. Well done ladies!!! Also pictured with members of the team is i-PLAYer Laura, her Coach Kate O’Donoghue (4th Year PE/Irish), and Group Leader Betty Barlow (4th Year PE/Maths).
First established in the Autumn of 2011, i-PLAY (or Imrím) is a weekly physical activity programme designed for children, youth, and young people (ages 5-21) with special needs held within the Physical Education & Sports Science (PESS) Dept. here at the University of Limerick. Led by faculty members Brigitte Moody and Daniel Tindall, 3rd and 4th year PE students participate in the i-PLAY experience as part of the PY4135 – Adapted Physical Activity & Physical Education module. Offered in both the Autumn and Spring semesters, the main goal of this weekly programme is to engage participants in various physical activities (dance, games, health-related activities, fundamental movement skills, etc.) throughout the term. As part of this service learning experience, each participant is paired with one of our pre-service Physical Education students receiving individual attention, support, and encouragement. The focus of the programme is on promoting physical activity for young people; incorporating it into their daily lives (i.e., in school, after school, and at home). Ultimately, the main goals of the programme are:
- To provide children and young people with special needs the opportunity to play and interact socially with peers,
- To provide pre-service Physical Education teachers with the opportunity to gain experience in planning and assisting youth with special needs as it relates to the physical activity setting, and
- To provide families an opportunity to connect with one another as a way to support each other and their children with special needs.
For more information on the i-PLAY programme, please visit us at the following website: http://www.ul.ie/pess/undergraduate/i-play. There you can listen to an interview conducted in 2011 on Limerick’s Live 95 that further explains the rationale for the programme.