This curriculum policy replaces The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1–8: Health and Physical Education, Interim Edition, re-issued in 2018. All health and physical education programs for Grades 1–8 are now based on the expectations outlined in this curriculum policy.


Health and Physical Education (2019)


Foundations for a Healthy School

Students’ learning in health and physical education helps them make informed decisions about all aspects of their health and encourages them to lead healthy, active lives. This learning is most authentic and effective when it occurs within the context of a “healthy” school. The implementation of the health and physical education curriculum is a significant component of a healthy learning environment that supports well-being.

The Ministry of Education’s Foundations for a Healthy School identifies five interconnected areas that together inform a comprehensive approach to developing a healthier school. (The five areas align closely with the K−12 School Effectiveness Framework.) This comprehensive approach ensures that students learn about healthy, active living in an environment that reinforces their learning through policies, programs, and initiatives that promote healthy, active living. The five areas are as follows:

  • Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning
  • School and Classroom Leadership
  • Student Engagement
  • Social and Physical Environments
  • Home, School, and Community Partnerships

Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning

The implementation of the health and physical education curriculum provides students with a wide range of opportunities to learn, practise, and demonstrate knowledge and skills related to healthy and active living. Instruction and implementation of the curriculum can lay the foundation for students to make choices that support healthy, active living outside instructional time. In order to ensure effective health and physical education programs, it is important for teachers and school administrators to participate in focused professional learning opportunities.

School and Classroom Leadership

School and classroom leadership focuses on creating a positive classroom and school environment by identifying shared goals and priorities that are responsive to the needs of the school community. This can include integrating healthy schools policies and programs into school improvement planning processes; establishing a collaborative learning culture that fosters innovation; ensuring that policies and procedures related to student well-being are in place; and collecting and using data to identify priorities and inform programming.

Student Engagement

Student engagement refers to students identifying with and valuing their learning; feeling a sense of belonging at school; and being informed about, engaged with, and empowered to participate in and lead academic and non-academic activities. Student engagement is strengthened when opportunities are provided for students to take leadership roles in relation to their learning, the learning environment, and their well-being; when students are supported in developing the skills they need to be self-directed, self-monitoring learners, through the use of assessment for learning, assessment as learning, and assessment of learning approaches; and when the diverse perspectives of students are taken into account in school decision-making processes.

Social and Physical Environments

Healthy, safe, and caring social and physical environments support learning and contribute to the positive cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development of students. The social and physical environments can affect both conditions for learning and opportunities for physical activity and healthy living. Sustaining physically healthy and socially supportive environments involves providing ongoing support for the development and maintenance of positive relationships within a school and school community; considering how these environments are influenced by various features and aspects of the school premises and surroundings (e.g., buildings and grounds, routes to and from school, facilities in the school community); and considering the availability of appropriate material and equipment used for various purposes on school premises (e.g., visual supports, program materials, technology).

Home, School, and Community Partnerships

Home, school, and community partnerships engage parents, extended family, school staff, and community groups in a mutually beneficial way to support, enhance, and promote opportunities for learning and healthy schools policies, programs, and initiatives. These partnerships can involve engaging and coordinating services, expertise, and resources that are available, within the school and local community, from a wide array of groups (e.g., school council, student council, public health units); and making connections with the broader community through on-site programs such as child care and family support programs. Partnerships can also be formed that draw on services, expertise, and resources that are available beyond the local community (e.g., in regional, provincial, or national organizations).