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Active Living

Schools have a unique opportunity to positively influence students through educating, role modeling, and providing opportunities for students to be active within the school day. Physical activity opportunities benefit academic achievement by improving school engagement.

What Works?

The promotion and integration of physical activity in the school environment is best achieved by:

  • Integrating quality, daily physical education programming into the school curricula.
  • Embedding activity breaks into class time, either between or within lessons.
  • Integrating interventions targeting screen time and sitting time into the school curricula (e.g., Pause to Play Challenge).
  • Providing opportunities to build fundamental movement skills (physical literacy) throughout the school day (e.g., hopping, balancing, running, throwing, catching), which will instill confidence, increase activity levels, and help with learning and development.
  • Implementing key physical literacy teaching strategies, and providing a variety of activities that students enjoy.
  • Providing flexible interventions that engage families and students in planning and delivery, and include a teacher-training component.
  • Exploring school policies and programs to see how they can create more play opportunities and daily activity. Examples include:
  • Supporting active school travel – defined as walking or cycling to and from school.
  • Modifying playgrounds to include playground markings and coding (e.g. red sports area, blue multi-activity and skills area, yellow quiet play area), rotated playground use, and increased availability of non-fixed equipment.
  • Conducting parental outreach and education about physical activity and sedentary behaviour so that efforts translate from school to home.

Resources to support implementation can be found in the sections below. Educators may also contact their School’s Public Health Nurse for additional support and consultation.

OPHEA’s Supplements (Grades 1–12)

See the following sections:

  • All About H&PE
  • Learn to Move
  • DPA Every Day

OPHEA provides essential supports to implement the H&PE Curriculum including training, consultation and resources.

OPHEA Dancing Resources (K–Grade 12)

Dancing for DPA: The OPHEA Way! A DVD that demonstrates over 50 essential dance movements, broken down into step-by-step instructions. There are four different dance routines combining sequences of the dance movements. Also included are demonstrations of over 50 different fitness activities designed specifically for limited space such as a classroom setting.

Pause to Play Challenge (K–Grade 8)

The Pause to Play Challenge includes resources for you to challenge students to reduce their screen time, increase physical activity levels and improve healthy balanced eating and sleep.

Jiggi Jump (JK–Grade 3)

This program, designed for children, has entertaining videos with music and accompanying movements to inspire children to get physically active.

Have a Ball (JK–Grade 2)

Have a Ball has information related to the importance of physical activity for the healthy development of children ages 0–6, with over 100 fun and simple games and activities designed to get children active.

PlaySport: Teaching Kids Games by Playing Games (K–Grade 12)

PlaySport allows you to search for activities based on the equipment you have, the skills you want to teach, the complexity of the game or the space you have available. Activities are fun and adaptable to every skill level. Also available in French.

HANDS UP For Health and Physical Literacy Video (K–Grade 4)

This short video will help you introduce your students to the concepts of physical and health literacy. This can then be supported by teaching physical literacy skills using the Active Start: Fundamental Movement Charts below.

Active Start: Fundamental Movement Charts (K–Grade 12)

These charts provide a variety of ideas to help build students physical literacy and participation in physical activity. You can contact your PHN to borrow the kit which Includes 40 full-colour laminated Functional Fitness Charts and the Active Start Teacher’s Manual along with a web link for more ideas.

Fit 2 Learn (Grades 7–12)

Contact your School’s Public Health Nurse to bring Fit 2 Learn to your school.

Fit 2 Learn provides rationale and support for non-physical education teachers to implement fitness breaks in their classroom. The Health Unit will come to the School to provide training and support materials to teachers, to help integrate fit breaks into the classroom and improve student learning.

A Tool for Every Educator (JK–Grade 8)

A Tool for Every Educator resource, along with staff training, provides evidence based information to help you have a positive impact on student’s physical activity, healthy eating, body image and self-esteem. Tips in this resource focus on role modeling, teaching and creating a supportive school environment.

Student Leadership Starts with You! Facilitator’s Workbook (Grades 5–12)

Contact your School’s Public Health Nurse for local resources.

This tool is a practical guide to engaging students in authentic leadership opportunities. It offers a simple to follow 6 step process and provides template activities, resources and evaluation tools.

*Please note that this resource was designed by Peel Public Health and some of the referenced resources may not be applicable to our area.

Active School Travel

Active School Travel gets whole communities working together so that children living within a walkable distance of the school can walk or cycle. In communities across Canada, students, parents, teachers, principals, public health nurses, police, school planners, urban planners and elected officials are gathering in Active School Travel Planning circles to discuss the ways they can encourage more students to walk or bike to school.

P.A.L.S. LogoPlayground Activity Leaders in Schools

P.A.L.S. is a playground leadership program offered by Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit that encourages all children to participate in activities regardless of their gender, size, or ability.

Take Me Outside

Join thousands of students across Canada in the TMO Challenge: get outside, be active and connect with nature. Pick a category, pick a pledge or make your own, and take your students outside. This can be done by an individual classroom or by a whole school.

Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds (JK–12)

Contact your School’s Public Health Nurse for more information. Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds focuses on empowering children and youth; promoting health, not weight; being a positive role model through words and actions; promoting healthy eating and physical activity in a positive way; and providing encouragement and opportunities for all students. The Health Unit can support schools with promoting a positive body image and self-esteem by:

  • In-servicing parents and school staff on effective ways to address topic areas related to body image and self-esteem including: media literacy, healthy eating, physical activity, healthy bodies and eating disorders.

Resources available:

Clever Replies to Damaging Remarks

Have you ever walked into a room and a colleague, parent, community partner, or student makes a comment about someone’s body, physical activity, or food? This resource provides ideas on how to respond in a positive way.

Walk/Run Groups or Learn to Run Clubs

Consider starting a walking or running program at your school for staff and/or students. It is a great way to relieve stress, connect socially with peers and can improve the overall learning environment. If you need help getting started, check out our Walking and Walking Clubs page to help get the ball rolling.

Triple P Parenting

A positive parenting program that gives parents simple tips to help manage the big and small problems of family life. Triple P Parenting can help with parenting questions from 0–16 years of age around topics such as sleep, self-esteem, not listening, aggression, family conflict – and many more! For support in Lanark, Leeds and Grenville, call 1-800-660-5853 and ask about Triple P or visit

A Tool for Parenting Children and A Tool for Parenting Teens

These resources provide evidence based information to help parents have a positive impact on their child’s or teen’s physical activity, healthy eating, body image and self-esteem. Tips in these resources address how to use language, behaviour and role modeling to create a home environment that supports positive Healthy Behaviour. Consider contacting your School’s Public Health Nurse to set up a parent training.

Managing Screen Time at Home

There are many challenges managing screen time at home. We have created two resources for helping families to create healthy screen time habits at home for those who are parenting children, and for those who are parenting teens.

Pause to Play at Home

If you are implementing a Pause to Play initiative at your school, check out this site for materials to support parents to reduce screen time, improve sleep, and increase physical activity and healthy eating.

For more information, visit our Physical Activity and Rest web page.