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 “Head Start” 6th Class Programme

Head Start is a 3 day programme tailored for 6th class primary school students and is run over a series of Saturdays.

The programme is designed to help students further develop important interpersonal and life skills before transitioning to post-primary school.

Head Start focuses largely on 6 key skills to support students in their learning as well as their personal and social lives, before they begin the exciting but often challenging journey that is post-primary school.

These 6 key skills are:

  1. Managing Myself
  2. Staying Well
  3. Communicating
  4. Being Creative
  5. Working with Others
  6. Managing Information and Thinking

Managing myself.

Students will be given strategies to help them develop their personal and learning goals as well as engage in ongoing meaningful reflection on their progress in pursuit of those goals, bearing in mind their own individual interests and strengths.

Staying well.

Students will be guided through different techniques, including mindfulness practice and well-being accounting, to help them manage their own well-being, cope with difficult situations and build themselves back up after a setback by increasing their mental resilience and self-confidence.


Students will be trained how best to use voice and body language when conversing one-to-one or addressing a larger group. They will also learn to harness any nervous energy to speak confidently, even if they feel they’re shy.

Being Creative

Through lively improvisation and drama activities students will develop their imagination, creativity and confidence as they explore different ways of doing things and learn from their experiences.

Working with Others

By engaging in group activities students will develop good relationships and learn to appreciate the value of cooperating to reach both collective and personal goals.

Managing Information and Thinking   

Students will be given some practical guidance on how to manage their time and study in the context of the increased volume of information at post-primary school. They will also be encouraged to engage in some personal reflection and research when considering academic subject choices, extra-curricular activities and possible future life pursuits.


Head Start Content

Day 1 (Session 1-3)

The children will:

  • Engage in some lively and stimulating “ice-breaker” games.
  • Sample a variety of dramatic, role-play and improvisational activities.
  • Be given some useful techniques to harness any nervous energy to speak confidently, even they feel they are shy.
  • Learn to appreciate the importance of body language and use it to their advantage when communicating.
  • Learn to improve their voice tone and articulation when speaking openly to an audience or even socially in a group.
  • Practise delivering a short extract from a famous speech.



Day 2  (Session 4-6)

The children will:

  • Learn how to identify and manage situations that make them feel anxious or unhappy.
  • Be guided through some practical well-being management strategies and mindfulness practices.
  • Identify and reflect on their core individual strengths and energy wells that can support their long-term well-being.
  • Apply what they have learned to manage their own well-being and cope with challenging situations.
  • Use techniques to build themselves back up after a setback by increasing their mental resilience.
  • Explore and consider the personal attributes that contribute successful futures.
  • Consider possibilities for their own future ambitions and pursuits.
  • Be asked to research the career path of a person they admire or relate to and with the option of giving a brief presentation the following week.



Day 3  (Session 7-9)

The children will learn how to:

  • Plan their study smartly at secondary school.
  • Remove distractions and reduce stress.
  • Increase their concentration and focus.
  • Apply useful exam techniques at second level.
  • Manage their time for optimum achievement.

The children will also:

  • Reflect on how to choose school subjects and extra-curricular activities wisely.
  • Recap on the key aspects of content covered throughout the Head Start programme.
  • Have the choice of giving a short presentation based on research they carried out since the previous session.
  • Reflect on their experience of the programme and complete evaluation forms before concluding.


What our graduates said about this course:

I feel I am a lot more confident than I used to be.

I think I know now what I really want to do in my future.

Conor and Camilla were really helpful and fun to work with.

It was very interesting learning about my brain.

Learning how to breathe properly really helped me relax.

I have more confidence than I thought.

I can relax better and get rid of stress.

The study skills will be very helpful.

I loved trying out the famous speeches.

The drama games were great fun!

What parents said:

Great feedback from Darragh. He said it’s brilliant!

Allanah really loved the course. She was very animated talking about it when she came home. She would have loved if it lasted a few more days!

Leona really enjoyed the ASPIRE Academy. She liked everything about it: the facilitators, the other participants, and the variety of areas covered.

Leah said the course was excellent. She thinks the study skills and mindfulness exercises which she didn’t know about before will be very helpful next year.

My son found the course very beneficial. It seemed to really help his confidence. He enjoyed the public speaking a lot more than he expected!

When I met Conor and Camilla, they were warm, energetic and professional. Aoife really enjoyed the different aspects of the course and getting to know the other participants. I wish ASPIRE every success for the future. It’s a fantastic idea!

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