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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health
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Physical Activity in Schools

Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour

The majority of Canadian children and youth are not meeting the 24-Hour Movement Guidelines released by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology in 2016. Research demonstrates the importance of physical activity for child health and development. Providing children with opportunities to develop physical literacy are crucial to establishing motivation, confidence, and skills that will support physical activity behaviours throughout their lives.

Using the Ministry of Education’s Foundations for a Healthy School framework, schools, school boards, parents, and community partners can work together to develop healthy school environments that promote and support student well-being. Information below has been organized following this framework.

Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

Outdoor Ultimate Playground (Grades 1 – 7)

Outdoor Ultimate Playground is a daily physical activity resource for educators to use with students to take physical activity outdoors at recess or lunch hours, and during regular physical education programming.

OPHEA Teaching Tools (Grades JK – 12)

OPHEA teaching tools provide ready-to-use lesson plans, and activities to support Health & Physical Education curriculum (BrainBlitz, 3-Ball kick Baseball, FitSpirit, Play Sport, etc.).

Physical & Health Education (PHE) Canada (Grades JK – 9)

PHE Canada provides fun, inclusive, engaging, challenging, and safe programs to ensure children are receiving the very best physical activity and health education programming. These programs include:

Active for Life (Grades K – 8)

Contains resources to help educators facilitate students’ development of physical literacy.

GoNoodle (Grades K – 5)

Fun videos to activate kids’ bodies and minds. A great way to incorporate DPA during transition periods between topics or classes.

School and Classroom Leadership

Daily Physical Activity (DPA)

The Ministry of Education released the Daily Physical Activity in Elementary Schools Policy in 2005. This policy outlines that school boards must ensure that all elementary school students, including students with special education needs, have a minimum of 20 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each school day during instructional time. The government worked in partnership with the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association (OPHEA) to develop a variety of resources for grades 1 to 8 to support teachers in implementing DPA in the classroom.

Student Engagement

P.A.L.S. – Physical Activity Leaders in Schools (Grade 4 to 6)

P.A.L.S. is a peer leadership training and implementation program that encourages youth engagement to create physical activity opportunities in schools. Through P.A.L.S. training, older students, with the support of school staff, develop and implement structured physical activity opportunities for younger students and/or the entire school community. Here are the resources you will need to get started!

School Wide Campaigns

Social and Physical Environments

School Travel Planning Toolkit

Develop and implement an action plan to increase active and safe routes to and from school. Engage local stakeholders (including school boards, municipal transportation planners and engineers, public health, community groups, police, parents, students, and school staff) in the planning process.

Recess Planning in Schools

Recess is an important aspect of an active school environment. A school recess plan helps identify the strategies to create and implement active recess at the school. This document will help schools develop the written recess plan and can be shared with all school community members.

Home, School and Community Partnerships

Community Use of Schools

Schools are a great place to offer community programs for all people to learn, stay active, and be healthy. The Ontario government is helping to ensure that school space is more accessible and affordable to the communities that schools serve. Find out more about how you can use your school as a community hub!

Raise the Bar 

Ophea’s Raise the Bar Intramural Program provides an easy-to-follow 4-step process to help plan and run quality, inclusive, and sustainable intramurals in your school community.

Additional Resources

Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines – providing guidance on the optimal amount of physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep – and the best combination of these behaviours – for Canadians of all ages.

10-5-2-1-0 campaign – Kids need the right balance throughout their day to help them to learn, play, and grow. This includes getting enough sleep, having healthy food and drinks, being physically active, and limiting time in front of screens. 10-5-2-1-0 are daily recommendations for children and youth aged 5-17

Have a Ball: Includes over 100 activities and games to get children under six (6) moving!

News, Research and Reports RELATED TO: Educators

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