Schools Developing Healthy, Active Children

Schools Developing Healthy, Active Children

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Sports like dodgeball, track, soccer, and basketball and intermittent fitness tests have been the norm for physical education classes. 

Unfortunately, they continue to be the norm in a few Canadian schools because, while providing a platform for the strong, fit, and advanced skilled students to shine, they can isolate and intimate others from actively participating, writes Jacki Nylen, president of Physical & Health Education Canada (PHE Canada) and a physical education teacher at Tanner’s Crossing School in Manitoba.

The good news is that physical education classes have shifted their focus from sport to wellness, allowing all students to succeed, develop, and have a positive experience—

not just in physical education classes, but in the physical activities themselves.

Today, many aspects of physical education and Canada’s provincial curriculum revolve around physical literacy, fundamental movement skills, etc. There is a process and progression to learning and understanding more complex physical activities, just as there is for learning a language, math, and music. In the article A Day In The Life: Teaching Physical Literacy, Dr. John Corlett and Dr. James Mandigo describe how physical literacy development parallels a child’s progression in these other subject matters. 

Schools, where children spend at least seven to eight hours a day, play a critical role in developing the healthy living habits of all young Canadians, not just those who are able bodied, already well-versed in sport skills, or from a specific cultural background. PHE Canada was initially configured to promote the development of athletes, but it has refined its definition and development model for the educational system.

Within this model, PHE Canada has developed a variety of resources and tools to support teachers by delivering a quality physical education program to their students, providing them with positive experiences, and instilling the skills and attitudes they need to be active for life.


Some of PHE Canada’s resources and tools include:

Passport for Life (

A free, online physical literacy assessment tool for teachers that focuses on four major components of physical literacy development: Active Participation, Living Skills, Fitness Skills, and Fundamental Movement Skills. Through these established assessments, teachers can form baselines upon which they can develop customized education plans to best target the needs of their students.


Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) Series

The Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) Series is a complete suite of tools and resources that help teachers provide quality learning experiences for their students.

PHE Canada Website (

§  Physical Literacy Checklist

§  Physical Literacy Educational Strategies

For more information, visit For more news and updates about events, information, and resources from PHE Canada, get connected at


Editor's Note: Follow #PlayExchange on Twitter to stay updated on the wealth of ideas for healthy living emerging across Canada, and check out the Facebook page to become part of the conversation. 

Featured Image: courtesy of PHE Canada.