2019 Elementary Health and Physical Education Curriculum Released
On August 21, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced the release of the elementary Health and Physical Education (H&PE) curriculum. The Ministry of Education has also released an announcement.
Ophea compliments the Ministry of Education on a thoughtful, high quality, evidence informed policy document. As a subject association for H&PE, we are pleased to see the careful consideration given to the update of this curriculum. With a curriculum in place, Ontario needs to now focus on effective, quality implementation.
The H&PE curriculum has the potential to positively impact the health and well-being of 2 million Ontario students by helping them develop the knowledge and skills to lead healthy, active lives and to enable them to thrive in an ever-changing world.
The government of Ontario fulfilled its commitment to review the elementary H&PE curriculum and, following additional public consultations, revisions have been made including updates to mental health, social and emotional learning, consent, healthy relationships, concussions, and responding to recent cannabis legislation. As a provincial subject association for H&PE, Ophea has reviewed the curriculum and believes that this evidence-informed policy has the potential, through effective implementation, to address the needs of all Ontario students by helping them develop their physical and health literacy and the comprehension, capacity and commitment needed to live and promote healthy, active lives.
Schools serve all children in Ontario, including those in our most vulnerable populations. They provide multiple intervention opportunities to support student health and well-being, and the H&PE curriculum provides a unique opportunity for Ontario schools to focus on teaching students skills that will allow them to make healthier decisions for a lifetime.
Given the extent of the changes within the H&PE curriculum Ophea will move through a process to align our teaching tools, available to all schools, school boards and public health units in Ontario, with the revised curriculum. These teaching tools provide educators with in-depth, quality supports to address all health topics in a comprehensive and inclusive manner. They include grade by grade lesson plans that support educators in delivering curriculum expectations while aligning with provincial and equity and inclusion policies.
Supporting the effective implementation of the H&PE curriculum ensures positive impacts on student behaviours, it assists schools and families in making connections to the broader community, and it is a cost-effective approach to actualizing many health policies. Ontario school boards, schools, and public health should be supported through evidence-informed approaches to implementation including coordinated development and delivery of teaching resources, professional development (including training of school board instructional and system leaders), aligned communications between government and educational stakeholders and ongoing evaluation of implementation.