JCPE - Junior Cycle Physical Education Support Service

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Gymnastics - Introduction PDF Print E-mail

Overall Aim & Objectives


To provide a context for an aesthetic experience and the opportunity to develop personally, socially and physically through participation in gymnastics in a safe and enjoyable environment.


  • To develop skilful, creative mastery of the body in a gymnastic context.
  • To enhance knowledge and understanding of gymnastics as an aesthetic experience.
  • To enrich personal and social development while interacting with others in a variety of structured contexts.


Teacher Guidelines

Gymnastics is one of the elements of the physical education curriculum which provides an aesthetic education for the students.


The teaching methodology recommended is based on a problem-solving approach. This is supplemented, where appropriate, with a directive input.


The units at level 1 are divided into the following sections:

  • (i) warm up and stretches
  • (ii) skill learning and development
  • (iii) climax
  • (iv) cool down

(i) Warm up

  • The activities in this section should be appropriate to gymnastics.
  • The warm up enables students to focus on the activity thus ensuring an appropriate attitude to work.
  • The warm up should include aerobic tasks and mobility / stretching tasks appropriate to the theme of the lesson.
  • Adhere to general principles of warm up.

(ii) Skill Learning and Development

  • Skill learning and development involves developing a gymnastic vocabulary and technical competence so that it can be used creatively in sequence work.
  • This will be achieved through the selection of appropriate tasks.

(iii) Climax

  • The climax of the unit draws together the work of the developmental stage into sequence form.
  • Students should be taught to blend actions smoothly and logically moving from one action to another recognising that the end of one action becomes the beginning of the next.
  • The teacher should focus on enabling the students to come to a deeper understanding of the objectives of the unit. This includes attention to the appropriate use of space, the speed and strength of the movement and overall fluency of the sequence.
  • Tasks for this section should accommodate work on small and/or large equipment. Where equipment is not available, partner work can provide the necessary movement challenge to develop this section. Equipment layout must be appropriate for the tasks.

(iv) Cool down

  • The cool down allows the body to recover gradually. It has a calming effect on the student enhancing her/his discipline.
  • Adhere to general principles of cool down.


In planning the class the teacher can anticipate the qualitative focus appropriate to the level of the student's experience. Initially, this includes the need to develop awareness of space, body poise and muscular control. As skill and understanding develop the student begins to focus on clarity and continuity of movement. However, the teacher will need to identify the appropriate qualitative focus in relation to the response given by the student to the task in hand. In observing this response the teacher decides which qualitative focus is appropriate to the development of the task for each individual student.


The learning outcomes of each unit are stated on each unit plan. A bank of tasks is supplied to assist the teacher in selecting appropriate tasks in relation to the learning outcomes of the unit.

Specific skills may arise within the class. The teacher should be competent to teach these skills to the individual student as appropriate. The teaching points and progressions for these skills are contained within the resource material.


It is the responsibility of the teacher to provide a safe gymnastics environment. In order to teach gymnastics successfully the following points should be considered:

  • suitable floor and safe working area. This includes good heating and ventilation.
  • appropriate clothing for students.
  • teacher establishes a code of practice which ensures safe participation of the students in gymnastics.
  • students must understand that they move about without obstructing others and are conscious of their own safety and the safety of others.
  • teachers should ensure that students know how to handle and use equipment safely. This involves knowing the correct way of lifting, lowering, pushing and pulling.
  • all equipment should be checked for ‘wear and tear' and maintained to an acceptable standard of safety.
  • during class time it is important that the teacher is in a position to see all of the students at any given time.
  • support for the student should only be given by the teacher.
  • for a class group of 25 students a minimum of 12 mats will be required
  • gymnastics tasks need to be appropriate to the class group.


  • Partner work is a valuable learning experience for students and an essential component of the gymnastics area of study.
  • Initially this aspect of gymnastics should be introduced as non-contact work e.g. matching, mirroring, leading, following.
  • Teachers may wish to use partner work tasks related to objectives and themes as an integral part of each level.


The teacher's ongoing informal observation of the student's performance is the primary mode of assessment. A formalised terminal assessment based on a sequence performed by the student could take place at the end of each level.


5/6 mats - benches. Other gymnastic equipment, while useful, is not essential for these units.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 July 2009 12:14

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