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)

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Vision and Goals

The 2019 health and physical education curriculum includes updated expectations in a number of areas, including mental health. Opportunities to learn about mental health are enhanced through the inclusion of new expectations on mental health literacy; new expectations on social-emotional learning skills, to be taught in connection with all parts of the curriculum; and enhanced connections to mental health within existing curriculum expectations.

Vision and Goals of the Health and Physical Education Curriculum

The health and physical education curriculum is based on the vision that the knowledge and skills students acquire in the program will benefit them throughout their lives and enable them to thrive in an ever-changing world by helping them develop mental health and well-being, physical and health literacy, and the comprehension, capacity, and commitment they will need to lead healthy, active lives and promote healthy, active living.

The goals of the health and physical education program are as follows.

Students will develop:

  • the social-emotional learning skills needed to foster overall health and well-being, positive mental health, and the ability to learn, build resilience, and thrive;
  • the skills and knowledge that will enable them to enjoy being active and healthy throughout their lives, through opportunities to participate regularly and safely in physical activity and to learn how to develop and improve their own personal fitness;
  • the movement competence needed to participate in a range of physical activities, through opportunities to develop movement skills and to apply movement concepts and strategies in games, sports, dance, and various other physical activities;
  • an understanding of the factors that contribute to healthy development, a sense of personal responsibility for lifelong health, and an understanding of how living healthy, active lives is connected with the world around them and the health of others.

The knowledge and skills acquired in health education and physical education form an integrated whole that relates to the everyday experiences of students and provides them with the physical literacy and health literacy they need to lead healthy, active lives.

Physical Literacy

Individuals who are physically literate move with competence and confidence in a wide variety of physical activities in multiple environments that benefit the healthy development of the whole person.
  • Physically literate individuals consistently develop the motivation and ability to understand, communicate, apply, and analyze different forms of movement.
  • They are able to demonstrate a variety of movements confidently, competently, creatively and strategically across a wide range of health-related physical activities.
  • These skills enable individuals to make healthy, active choices that are both beneficial to and respectful of their whole self, others, and their environment.

Physical and Health Education Canada

Health Literacy

Health literacy involves the skills needed to get, understand and use information to make good decisions for health. The Canadian Public Health Association’s Expert Panel on Health Literacy defines it as the ability to access,  understand, evaluate and communicate information as a way to promote, maintain and improve health in a variety of settings across the life-course. 

Irving Rootman and Deborah Gordon-El-Bihbety, A Vision for a
Health Literate Canada: Report of the Expert Panel on Health Literacy
(Ottawa: Canadian Public Health Association, 2008).