• Pre School
  • Balance Bikes
  • Primary School
  • Secondary School  

Buntús Start Programme (Pre School)

Buntús Start – Equipment

Buntús Start is a comprehensive physical activity programme for children aged 3-5 years old.  It has been designed for use in pre-school settings so that pre-school and playgroup leaders can provide a wide range of learning opportunities for young children to develop their fundamental motor skills, manipulative skills, co-ordination and balancing skills and develop a positive attitude to physical activity.

Buntús Start helps adults working with children to establish positive attitudes to activity and a healthy lifestyle through enjoyable activity with children.  Buntús Start offers a combination of adult-initiated and child-led activities and enables adults to choose and plan appropriate activities as well as giving children opportunities to freely select and explore.  Whilst using Buntús Start children have opportunities to develop naturally through individual involvement in physical play, small group activity and to participate in whole-group activity.

Buntús Start Training Programme:
Participants attend an initial four hours training workshop with a further 2 hour follow up approximately 6-8 weeks after the programme is used in the pre-school.  Training will take place in an agreed venue. All staff plus 1 committee member or parent must attend both training sessions.

The objectives of the training are that by the end of the session participants would:

  • Have an appreciation of the Buntús equipment.
  • Be familiar with the Buntús Start resource cards, their format and layout, and their use with
    pre-school children.
  • Be able to extend their understanding of fundamental motor skills.
  • Be able to develop their understanding of inclusion and safe practice.

Delivered by Buntús tutors, the training workshop is designed to be practical and participatory using a variety of activities, inputs, small group exercises and full group discussion.  Links will be made to children’s stages of development and to methods of skills development.  

At the end of the training session, each participating centre will be provided with a set of resource cards and a Buntús Start bag.

To date, the programme has been fully subsidised by the Irish Sports Council through Kilkenny Recreation & Sports Partnership, Kilkenny County Childcare Committee and the HSE, South Eastern Area Health Promotion Department. This may change due to the current economic climate.

Balance Bikesbalance-bike

Time to take the training wheels off!

Learning to ride a bike is a milestone in every child’s life. Learning to ride a bike however is sometimes a frightening experience for some children. Somehow, they are able to overcome it and soon enough and before long are showing off their biking skills. Smarter Travel Kilkenny recognizes the need to familiarize children with bikes and cycling at an early stage. This pilot programme is based on Buntús Start. The aim is to deliver training to pre-school teachers and then loan the balance bikes to each school for a period of 4-5 weeks. Each school may use the bikes for this period and then return the bikes (in good condition) to Kilkenny Recreation & Sports Partnership. Balance bikes are suitable for children aged between 3 and 6 years and prepare children for their first ‘big bike’.

Why use a Balance Bike?

Balance bikes do not have unstable training wheels; training on balance bikes removes the safety hazards of crank sets and chains that can initially confuse a small child; more importantly, they can help the toddler understand and get to grips with balance and coordination skills. The young child will be unfamiliar with pedals and so will not use them. Trouble is, when not in use, pedals still rotate within the vicinity of the child’s legs. Often the unused pedals end up scratching the child’s legs or slamming against the child’s shins. Enter the balance bike!

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact: Seamus Nugent (Active Travel Officer) at 056 7794957 086-1057428 or E-mail :


Primary Schools

  • Go Noodle


Turns basic fundamental movements in to fun game based scenarios through interactive videos. Go Noodle improves both behavior and attention in the classroom, aids academic performance and strengthens classroom cohesion between students. The custom made videos are age appropriate to kids, promoting fundamental movement patterns of jumping, running, dancing and stretching through silly, energetic and playful games and activities. The videos also have a mindfulness element which promotes relaxation and calm on occasions of classroom unrest.

  • Sports Hall Athletics


Sports Hall Athletics is an indoor based initiative where children learn basic fundamental movements of athletics to build core skills, strength and aerobic fitness. The initiative is a fantastic way to promote and encourage kids to participate in track and field athletics, and the varied combinations of jumping, running and throwing are excellent, proven methods of developing agility, co-ordination and balance in young children.

  • Daily Mile Challenge

The Irish Life Health School Mile Challenge is a 1 Mile fun run staged in schools in conjunction with the Irish Schools Athletics Association and Athletics Ireland. The challenge allows students the opportunity to take the first steps towards fitness with the emphasis on participation whether it be walking, jogging or running. The focus of the initiative is to promote running or walking as part of a balanced healthy lifestyle. The mile challenge is run by the school on a school day or over a number of days and involves setting up a one mile course/lap, followed up a couple of weeks later with another challenge to gauge progress. Each pupil would be timed over the mile and rewarded with a coloured coded wrist band. Colour coded bands will be made available in over 10 mins, 9 mins, 8 mins, 7 mins, 6 mins and 5 min categories.


Countries to follow:



Children who aren’t active enough are at a higher risk of developing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other cardiovascular illnesses. Children and youth aged 5 to 17 should get 60 minutes a day of medium to intense physical activity. Currently only 9% of this target group meets the recommendation. Physical activity is an important part of healthy living at any age, and it’s essential for children.

Physical activity helps children develop cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility, and bone density, maintain a healthy body weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease and health problems, lessen the likelihood of tobacco, alcohol, and drug use and feel better every day, through improved mental health and well-being. Here are a few tips to help teach children the importance of daily physical activity:

  • Encourage them to walk or ride their bikes to school instead of taking the bus.
  • Schedule active time for your children after school.
  • Combine periods of moderate activity like walking or biking with periods of more vigorous activity such as running or playing soccer or tag.
  • Activities like swimming, soccer, baseball, dancing, gymnastics, skiing, and basketball provide opportunities to learn new skills while having fun. Check with local schools and community centers for affordable programs.
  • Set a positive example by being physically active as a family. Plan regular outings to hike, cycle, walk, or skate.
  • Remember to praise your children for being active. Confidence is the key to success!

Physical literacy is the combination of mastering fundamental movement skills and fundamental sport skills. It helps children involve themselves in and react to physical activities going on around them. Most skills require a series of developmental stages. If a stage is missed, development can be negatively affected. NB





Fundamental movement skills are a specific set of skills that involve different body parts such as feet, legs, trunk, head, arms and hands. These skills are the “building blocks” for more complex and specialised skills that kids will need throughout their lives to competently participate in different games, sports and recreational activities.

Balance skills – Movements where the body remains in place, but moves around its horizontal and vertical axes.

  • Three year old children can walk along a wide balance board
  • Four year old children can walk part way along a narrow beam
  • Five year old children can walk the length of a narrow beam


Locomotor skills – such as running, jumping, hopping, and galloping.

Running – rapid movement that involves transferring weight from one foot to the other with a brief loss of contact with the ground by both feet. Speed and maturation of running style increases with age as the child’s muscle strength, balance and coordination improve.

  • Three year olds can run around obstacles and corners.
  • Four year olds can more skilfully navigate sharp turns and manage on a variety of surfaces.
  • Five year olds can stop quickly on a signal and can run backward as well as forward.

The following PDF’s contains a full run down of the fundamental locomotive movements and black skills with tips were training.

Ball skills – such as catching, throwing, kicking, underarm roll and striking.

Skill development by age

Between the ages of three and five years, children are starting to develop their fundamental movement skills (FMS) and enjoy a wide variety of activities.

Three-year olds: still developing the basic skills required for play. They’re able to perform the following FMS:

  • Climb jungle gyms and ladders
  • Run on toes
  • Balance on one leg for a short time
  • Kick a ball from a standing position

Four-year olds: develop quickly and learn a lot from their experiences and their play environment. They’re able to perform the following FMS:

  • Gallop
  • Hop forward
  • Skipping
  • Throw a ball 3.5 metres overhand
  • Kick a rolling ball

Five-year olds: begin to display a variety of styles of play, including copying others, creative play, and making up their own games or activities. They’re able to perform the following:

  • Run through an obstacle course avoiding objects
  • Skip forward
  • Maintain balance on a moveable platform
  • Throw a ball with direction and force for more information.


More links:

New Zealand



 Assistant Sports Leaders
The Sports Leaders Award is a starting point for those who wish to develop leadership skills that can be applied to a variety of sporting situations.

This is a course ran over two days where participants receive guidance when coaching and working with young people. The aim of this programme is to help youth leaders gain sufficient confidence and competence to enable them to plan, lead and evaluate safe, effective and enjoyable sessions.
Participants don’t need to be sports stars instead an interest in their chosen activity, a positive attitude and a willingness to volunteer are all that is required.

Participants receive knowledge in

  • Planning a session
  • Adapting a session to suit age and abilities
  • Organisation and management  
  • Leading a session
  • Evaluating a Session
  • Teaching of skills

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