Get the Facts on Quality H&PE

The following post is one I wrote for Ophea’s #FunFact Friday. View the original post here.

A new school year means a fresh opportunity to get students moving and inspire physical activity in all areas of school. Research has shown connections between increased levels of physical activity and better academic achievement, better concentration, better classroom behaviour, and more focused learning[1], now what teacher wouldn’t want that for their students.

The Ontario Health and Physical Education (H&PE) curriculum is important in ensuring the development of physical literacy and promoting lifelong active living. To help demonstrate its impact we’ve compiled four of our favourite statistics to help inspire you to motivate your students and colleagues to move more!

1. H&PE makes quality physical activity accessible: Community sports teams might be few and far between in your area, or might come at a costly price. According to the UNESCO Quality Physical Education: Guidelines for Policy-Makers[2] , quality physical education is embedded into the school curriculum to provide developmentally appropriate and inclusive physical education learning experiences. The Ontario H&PE curriculum promotes important living skills and goals that support the development of health literacy, physical literacy and character. All students, no matter their social economic background can take part and have fun in developing a healthy, active lifestyle.

2. H&PE in the early years matters: Active kids become active adults. H&PE in the early years is important to develop confident movers who have acquired the transferable skills and strategies they need to be active throughout their lives. Research into motor development indicates that learners acquire new fundamental movement skills (motor skills) most successfully during the preschool and elementary years.[3] By helping students become competent and confident movers in the early learners, they won’t shy away from active pursuits later on in life.

3. H&PE helps students get the physical activity they need: Only 9% of Canadian kids get the 60 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity they need each day.[4] H&PE classes can support students in reaching 60 minutes a day but that still may not be enough. As one of the H&PE curriculum Fundamental Principles states, “Health and physical education programs are most effective when they are delivered in healthy schools and when students’ learning is supported by school staff, families, and communities.” Teachers, administration, parents and community members (public health professionals and recreation leaders) can support getting students active before, during and after school.

Need to get your school community on board? Check out Ophea’s Healthy Schools Certification. This initiative promotes a Healthy Schools approach which supports H&PE curriculum values beyond just the gym, and can help all school community members see the value in getting students active. Check out certification details and try something new this year!

4. H&PE leads to lifelong enjoyment in active living: Through implementation of quality H&PE, students are exposed to a variety of games and activities that they can fall in love with and take part in for the rest of their life. For example, the Teaching Games for Understanding (TGFU) approach supports students to build transferable game skills and strategies while encouraging inclusive and fun spaces. Moreover, H&PE and Daily Physical Activity provide motivating and empowering settings where students may instill a lifelong sense of awareness, value and enjoyment of physical activity.[5]

Whether it’s helping students gain physical literacy skills, creating an accessible program for all abilities, or promoting life long active living, research shows our students need H&PE and the Ontario H&PE curriculum is here for them.

To learn more about the Ontario H&PE curriculum and how it supports educators implement active, safe and inclusive schools, check out the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Elementary Curriculum & Resources and/or Secondary Curriculum & Resources.

For more information on how Ophea supports H&PE implementation visit,


[1] Ontario Ministry of Education. (2015). The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8: Health and Physical Education. Retrieved from

[2] United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). (2015). Quality physical education (QPE): Guidelines for policy-makers. Paris, France: UNESCO Publishing.

[3] Ontario Ministry of Education. (2015). The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8: Health and Physical Education. Retrieved from

[4] Statistics Canada. “Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS).” (Accessed Sep 12, 2016).

[5] Cradock, A.L., Barrett, J.L., Carter, J., McHugh, A., Sproul, J., Russo, E.T.,… Gortmaker, S.L. (2014). Impact of the Boston Active School Day policy to promote physical activity among children. American Journal of Health Promotion, 28(3 Suppl), S54-64. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.130430-QUAN-204.

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