Active Schools & Communities
Physical activity is an important part of meeting the growth and development needs of children and youth. Communities, schools and parents can work together to help students develop attitudes and skills for life long physical activity.
By creating supportive environments and encouraging children and youth to make informed choices, we can help them establish patterns for healthy living that they‘ll carry into adulthood.
Research has shown the many benefits of physical activity. Children and youth:
- Improve their performance in math, reading, memorization, and categorization (Keays & Allison, 1995).
- Are more likely to be active during their leisure time if they participated in a physical education class that day (Dale, Corbin, & Dale, 2000).
- Are less likely to smoke or consume alcohol or drugs (Tremblay, Inman, and Willms, 2000).
- Experience increased self-esteem and perceived physical competence, enabling them to cope with mental stress (DeMarco & Sidney, 1989).
Daily Physical Activity
In order to increase physical activity the Ministry of Education announced on October 6, 2005 that every elementary student must have a minimum of 20 minutes of sustained moderate to vigorous physical activity each school day during instructional time. The goal of daily physical activity is to enable all elementary students to improve or maintain their physical fitness and their overall health and wellness. Daily physical activity may include walking, active games, dance, aquatics, sports, and fitness and recreational activities.
An organized approach to recess activity, through the introduction of games and activities is a viable solution to reducing the sedentary behaviour of young children.A promising practice across the country is a program known as PROPS – Peers Running Organized Play Stations. These types of programs:
- Increase physical activity levels.
- Teach movement and manipulation.
- Promote fair play.
- Reduce bullying.
- Promote creativity and problem solving skills.
- Teach cooperation and respect for others.
- Provide equal opportunity for all students.
- Incorporate safety guidelines.
- Promote FUN and participation.
The Walking School Bus
The walking school bus (WSB) is an effective, low cost way to increase physical activity, maintain safety, and reduce car use and air pollution.
How does it work? A designated parent or trusted adult leads a group of children on the walk to school. Children may gather at the WSB leader’s home or the leader may go from house to house to collect the children. In some communities, parents take turns being the WSB leader.
In order to make your school community healthier check out the following resources: