Social, Personal & Health Education
SPHE Short Course for Junior Cycle
Early adolescence is a time of significant change for young people, physically, emotionally and socially. Through the use of experiential methodologies and group work, students have the dedicated space and time in this short course to develop their understanding and skills to learn about themselves, to care for themselves and others and to make informed decisions about their
health and wellbeing in a rapidly changing world.
In SPHE, students have opportunities to revisit different themes which focus on developing self-awareness and respect for others, and the skills of self-management, communication, coping,decision-making and relating to others. This spiral approach of revisiting key ideas and topics is familiar from existing approaches to SPHE. This new course builds on this approach but also emphasises the importance of student agency and engagement in the learning process as key to learning in the affective domain. The skills involved are vital for self-fulfilment, for living in communities and for full engagement in learning beyond SPHE. Personal reflection, resilience and empathy are also promoted through SPHE.
Relationships and sexuality education (RSE) is important for young people at this stage of their lives. They are exposed to a lot of information about relationships and sex from informal sources,
the media and online. SPHE provides the context within which young people can learn about important physical, social, emotional and moral issues around relationships, sexual health, sexuality and gender identity, including where to get reliable information from trusted sources.
It is important to build on students’ learning in SPHE in primary education also. Learning in SPHE is essentially supported by a positive, empowering whole school environment and relevant school policies/guidelines including RSE, anti-bullying and substance-use policies, and child protection
guidelines. This broader context for learning in SPHE helps to ensure that students learn to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing.
This junior cycle short course in SPHE is designed to enable students to develop a positive sense of themselves and a commitment to caring for themselves and others.
Strand 1: Who am I?
This strand focuses on developing self-awareness and building self-esteem.
Strand 2: Minding myself and others.
This strand provides opportunities for students to reflect on how they can best take care of themselves and others.
Strand 3: Team up.
This strand focuses on students learning about important relationships in their lives and building relationship skills.
Strand 4: My mental health.
This strand focuses on building positive mental health, examining young people’s experience of mental ill health and learning how to support themselves and others in challenging times.
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step."
Martin Luther King, Jr.