The definitions provided in this glossary are specific to the curriculum context in which the terms are used. 

Many of the definitions related to sexual health are taken from two publications of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC): Teaching Human Rights in Ontario: A Guide for Ontario Schools and Policy on Preventing Discrimination because of Gender Identity and Gender Expression.



A term sometimes used for the descendants of the original inhabitants of North America. Section 35(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982, states, “In this Act, ‘aboriginal peoples of Canada’ includes the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.” These separate groups have unique heritages, languages, cultural practices, and spiritual beliefs.


A conscious decision to refrain from a behaviour or activity. This curriculum uses the term in reference to abstinence from all forms of sexual intercourse and other sexual activities.

abusive behaviour

Behaviour that is intended to intimidate, isolate, dominate, or control another person, which may be a single incident or a pattern of behaviour. Abusive behaviour includes physical abuse, sexual abuse and exploitation, neglect, emotional maltreatment, and exposure to domestic violence.

active listening

A communication skill in which the listener focuses closely on the speaker’s verbal and nonverbal messages and summarizes these messages to confirm understanding.

active transportation

Any type of human-powered transportation – walking, cycling, skateboarding, wheeling a wheelchair, and so on – used to get oneself or others from one place to another. Active transportation may include a combination of methods, such as combining human-powered motion with public transportation.


A physiological and psychological dependence on a substance or behaviour, such as alcohol or gambling.

aerobic activity

A type of exercise that increases the body’s demand for oxygen because of the continuous use of large muscles and a temporary increase in respiration and heart rate. Aerobic activity contributes to improving the efficiency of the heart, lungs, and circulatory system in using oxygen.


A skill-related component of physical fitness that relates to the ability to change the position of the body with speed and accuracy while moving from one point to another. See also skill-related fitness.



A skill-related component of physical fitness that relates to the ability to maintain equilibrium while stationary (static balance) or moving (dynamic balance). See also skill-related fitness, static balance, and dynamic balance.

beep baseball

A striking/fielding game in which offensive players work in teams to strike a ball, then score runs by running to a base that is activated to make a sound or a beep. Fielding players work together with spotters, who help to identify ball position using a numbering system. The game is designed to be played by blind and visually impaired players along with a sighted pitcher and catcher. See also striking/fielding activities.


According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, “a person who is emotionally, physically, spiritually and/or sexually attracted to members of more than one gender.” (From Teaching Human Rights in Ontario: A Guide for Ontario Schools.) See also sexual orientation.


A target game in which teams attempt to score by throwing (or “bowling”) larger balls as close as possible to a smaller ball (a “jack”).

body awareness

breath sound check

A self-assessment tool in which participants can monitor the intensity of an exercise or activity. When participants can “hear their own breathing”, the intensity of the activity is moderate to vigorous and their heart rate will be between 55 and 85 per cent of their maximum heart rate.


Under the Education Act (s.1(1)), “aggressive and typically repeated behaviour by a pupil, where (a) the behaviour is intended by the pupil to have the effect of, or the pupil ought to know that the behaviour would be likely to have the effect of, (i) causing harm, fear, or distress to another individual, including physical, psychological, social, or academic harm, harm to the individual’s reputation, or harm to the individual’s property, or (ii) creating a negative environment at a school for another individual, and (b) the behaviour occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance between the pupil and the individual based on factors such as size, strength, age, intelligence, peer group power, economic status, social status, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, family circumstances, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, disability, or the receipt of special education” and where the intimidation includes the use of any physical, verbal, electronic, written, or other means. See also cyberbullying.


cardiorespiratory endurance

A health-related component of physical fitness that involves the ability to perform sustained physical activity requiring considerable use of the circulatory and respiratory systems. Also referred to as cardiovascular endurance, aerobic fitness, or cardiorespiratory fitness. See also health-related fitness.


An understanding of the rights of citizens within various communities (local, national, global) and of the roles, responsibilities, and actions associated with these rights.


A type of traumatic brain injury that may be caused either by a direct blow to the head, face, or neck, or by a blow to the body that transmits a force to the head, that causes the brain to move rapidly within the skull. It causes changes in the way the brain functions and can lead to symptoms that may be physical (e.g., headache, dizziness), cognitive (e.g., difficulty in concentrating or remembering), emotional/behavioural (e.g., depression, irritability), and/or related to sleep (e.g., drowsiness, difficulty in falling asleep). It can occur even if there has been no loss of consciousness and cannot normally be seen on X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs. A concussion is a clinical diagnosis made by a medical doctor. (Adapted from Government of Ontario, “Rowan’s Law: Concussion Safety”.)


A term for a variety of methods used to prevent pregnancy, including barrier, hormonal, natural, and surgical methods. Some types of barrier contraception also provide protection against sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections. 


The transitional process of returning the body to its normal state after being physically active. A cool-down may consist of slower, gentler movements and/or stretches.


A skill-related component of physical fitness that relates to the ability to combine sensory input with the movement of body parts in order to perform movement skills smoothly and efficiently. See also skill-related fitness.

core muscle strength

The ability of the core muscles – the muscles of the abdominal and back area – to support the spine and keep the body stable and balanced. Core muscles are involved in most movements performed during physical activity, and strengthening them can reduce vulnerability to lower back pain and injury.


In the context of movement done with a partner, the application of each partner’s body weight and force away from the other partner. Partners can use counter-tension at different levels and in different directions. Counter-tension can be contrasted with counter-balance, in which body weight and force are applied by each partner towards the other partner using a variety of body parts as points of contact.



The practice or role of preventing opponents from scoring. See also offence.


Unfair or prejudicial treatment of individuals or groups on the basis of grounds set out in the Ontario Human Rights Code (e.g., race, sexual orientation, disability) or on the basis of other factors. Discrimination, whether intentional or unintentional, has the effect of preventing or limiting access to opportunities, benefits, or advantages that are available to other members of society. Discrimination may be evident in organizational and institutional structures, policies, procedures, and programs, as well as in the attitudes and behaviours of individuals.

dominant hand/foot

Refers to the hand or foot that an individual feels most comfortable using. For example, a right-handed student may be more comfortable throwing with his or her right hand. The non-dominant hand or foot is the other hand or foot. It is important for students to have opportunities to practise skills with both their dominant and non-dominant hands and feet.

downward dog pose

A static balance with hands and feet on the floor and hips in the air. Hands and feet are both shoulder-width apart. Arms, legs, and back are straight, or as straight as possible, and the backs of the legs are stretched. The student pushes down through the shoulders and arms, which lengthens the spine. The hips are pushed back and up, with weight evenly distributed between hands and feet. See also static balance.

dynamic balance

A type of stability skill in which core strength is used to maintain balance and control of the body while moving through space. See also stability.


effort awareness

epinephrine autoinjector

A syringe used to inject potentially lifesaving epinephrine (adrenaline) into someone who is experiencing anaphylaxis. See also anaphylaxis.


The action phase of movement, which includes the movements prior to producing force, including gathering momentum, and the instant when force is applied to carry out the movement skill. The body is positioned, weight is transferred, and joints work together to produce the action. See also follow-through, phases of movement, and preparation.

external stimuli affecting movement

Any force outside of the body that can have an impact on an intended movement. External stimuli could include environmental factors such as wind, sun, or temperature. It could also include factors such as music, equipment, or teammates.


fair play

An attitude or way of thinking that is based on the principles of integrity, fairness, and respect and the equitable or impartial treatment of all participants in an activity.

fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)

A term used to describe a range of disabilities that may affect people whose mothers drank alcohol while they were pregnant. (From Public Health Agency of Canada, “Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder [FASD]: Frequently Asked Questions”.)

First Nations

The term used to refer to the original inhabitants of Canada, except Inuit. The term came into common usage in the 1970s to replace the word “Indian”, which many found offensive. The term “First Nation” has been adopted to replace the word “band” in the names of communities. 

fitness circuit

A series of stations, each set up for a different physical activity that targets a particular aspect of fitness; for example, a flexibility station where students work on sitting and reaching forward, or a cardiorespiratory fitness station where students work on continuous skipping. Circuits may be organized in a number of ways, including a closely structured format where each student visits every station for a specified period of time, or a less structured format where students choose stations that correspond with their fitness goals and may choose to visit some stations more than once. Music may be used as a motivator for students and as a stop/start indication to signal when it is time to change stations.


A health-related component of physical fitness involving the ability to move a joint through its full range of motion. See also health-related fitness.


The final phase of movement, which includes the movements after the instant when force is applied. In this phase, the transfer of weight is completed, movement continues in the direction of action, the movement slows down, and stability is regained. See also execution, phases of movement, and preparation.

four-point balance

Any static balance in which four body parts are touching the ground. See also static balance, three-point balance and two-point balance.



A locomotor movement in which the body moves forward or backwards. To gallop, students step forward with one foot and quickly draw the second foot up to the first foot, then repeat. Knees are bent slightly and arms stay out for balance. Galloping is a fundamental skill that can be used as students learn more complex skills. By learning to balance the body and control the motion, students can apply this action to other, more complex skills or combine it with other actions. See also locomotor movement, skip and slide.


According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, “people whose enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attractions are to people of the same sex.” (From Teaching Human Rights in Ontario: A Guide for Ontario Schools.)

gay-straight alliance

A student-run club that provides a safe space for any and all students to meet and learn about different sexual orientations, socialize, support each other, talk about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and work to end homophobia and to raise awareness and promote equality for all. (Adapted from Canadian Federation for Sexual Health, “How to Form a Gay/Straight Alliance”.)


According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, “the social classification of people as masculine and/or feminine.” (From Teaching Human Rights in Ontario: A Guide for Ontario Schools.) See also gender identity, gender expression, and sex.

gender expression

According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, “how a person publicly presents or expresses their gender. This can include behaviour and outward appearance, such as dress, hair, make-up, body language and voice. A person’s chosen name and pronoun are also common ways people express their gender. Others perceive a person’s gender through these attributes.” (From Policy on Preventing Discrimination Because of Gender Identity and Gender Expression.) See also gender.

gender identity

According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, “each person’s internal and individual experience of gender. It is their sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum. A person’s gender identity may be the same as or different from their birth-assigned sex. . . . [P]eople . . . may see their gender identity as fluid and moving between different genders at different times in their life.” (From Policy on Preventing Discrimination Because of Gender Identity and Gender Expression.)

gender non-conforming

According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, “individuals who do not follow gender stereotypes based on the sex they were assigned at birth. They may identify and express themselves as ‘feminine men’ or ‘masculine women’ or as androgynous, outside of the categories ‘boy/man’ and ‘girl/woman’. People who are gender non-conforming may or may not identify as trans.” (From Policy on Preventing Discrimination because of Gender Identity and Gender Expression.) See also transgender.

gender-based violence

Any form of behaviour – including psychological, physical, and sexual behaviour – that is based on an individual’s gender and is intended to control, humiliate, or harm the individual. This form of violence is generally directed at women and girls and individuals who are transgender or gender nonconforming and is based on an attitude or prejudice, which can be conscious or unconscious and which exists on the individual and institutional level, that aims to subordinate an individual or group on the basis of sex, gender identity, and/or gender expression.



A form of discrimination that may include unwelcome attention and remarks, jokes, threats, name-calling, touching, or other behaviour (including the display or sharing of images) that insults, offends, or demeans someone because of their identity. Harassment involves conduct or comments that are known to be, or should reasonably be known to be, offensive, inappropriate, intimidating, and hostile. See also discrimination.


A word meaning “the people of the longhouse”. The Haudenosaunee are the Iroquoian nations of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora peoples, which are united and governed under the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Great Law of Peace. See also Haudenosaunee Confederacy; Haudenosaunee Great Law of Peace.


According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, “a person who has emotional, physical, spiritual and sexual attraction to persons of the opposite sex.” (From Teaching Human Rights in Ontario: A Guide for Ontario Schools.)


HIV stands for Human Immuno-deficiency Virus. This is the virus that leads to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).


A system of medicine in which disease is treated by giving patients tiny amounts of natural substances with the intention of stimu­lating the body’s natural healing abilities.


According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, “the irrational aversion to, fear or hatred of gay, lesbian or bisexual people and communities, or of behaviours stereotyped as ‘homosexual’.” (From Teaching Human Rights in Ontario: A Guide for Ontario Schools.)


A locomotor movement that involves taking off on one foot and landing on the same foot. The movement includes a take-off phase (preparation), a flight phase (execution), and a landing (follow-through). See also locomotor movement, jump, leap, and phases of movement.


individual activities

Activities in which students work individually with their own equipment. In this way, opportunities for participation are maximized. In this curriculum, the term “individual activities” is used to refer to physical activities that are not structured as games. Students can engage in these activities while also interacting with others, such as in dancing or canoeing. For more on individual activities, see the chart “Categories and Common Features of Games and Activities” in Strand C Movement Competence: Skills, Concepts, and Strategies. See also modified activities.

insulin therapy pump

A method of delivering insulin for people with diabetes. This method includes a device with a small catheter, which is inserted under the skin, and a pump, which is worn outside the body. (Adapted from Diabetes Canada, “Thinking of Starting Insulin”.)


According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, “a term used to describe a person born with reproductive systems, chromosomes and/or hormones that are not easily characterized as male or female. This might include a woman with XY chromosomes or a man with ovaries instead of testes. Intersex characteristics occur in one out of every 1,500 births. Typically intersex people are assigned one sex, male or female, at birth. Some intersex people identify with their assigned sex, while others do not. Some choose to identify as intersex. Intersex people do not typically identify as transgender or transsexual.” (From Policy on Preventing Discrimination because of Gender Identity and Gender Expression.) See also gender identity and transgender.

Inuit (singular: Inuk)

Original inhabitants of northern Canada, living mainly in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, northern Quebec, and northern Labrador. The word means “the people” in the Inuit language of Inuktitut. Inuit are not covered by the Indian Act. The federal government has entered into several major land claim settlements with Inuit.



A locomotor movement that involves taking off and landing with two feet. The movement includes a take-off phase (preparation), a flight phase (execution), and a landing (follow-through). See also locomotor movement, hop, leap, and phases of movement.



A physical activity from Japan that combines martial arts values with sport-like physical elements. It involves the use of bamboo swords.

knee scale

A static balance performed with both hands and one knee and lower leg as the contact points on the ground and the other leg extended behind the body. Head is up and the body is held tight for balance. See also static balance and standing scale.

knowledge holder

An individual who is recognized by the community as having the responsibility for the cultural and spiritual knowledge of  traditions, teachings, and practices; in First Nations communities, the knowledge holder is usually an Elder. The knowledge held is unique to the given culture or society. It is passed down from generation to generation and also acquired through lived experience. A knowledge holder often helps to guide the community or nation. (The terms knowledge holder and knowledge keeper are interchangeable in some communities.) 

knowledge keeper

A traditional teacher who may or may not be recognized as an Elder, but who still carries the teachings of the community, and can be called upon for that expertise. The teachings may pertain to language, culture, the arts, dancing, and/or singing, among other things. A knowledge keeper is often supported by a knowledge holder. (The terms knowledge keeper and knowledge holder are interchangeable in some communities.) See also Elder.



A locomotor movement that involves taking off from one foot and landing on the other. Leaping is performed much like running, but the flight phase is longer. See also locomotor movement, hop, jump, and phases of movement.


According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, “a woman who has emotional, physical, spiritual and/or sexual attraction to other women.” (From Teaching Human Rights in Ontario: A Guide for Ontario Schools.)

locomotion, locomotor movement

A type of movement skill used to move the body from one point to another in various ways. See also movement skills.



The act of giving force to or receiving force from objects as one sends, receives, or retains them. See also movement skills, receiving, retaining, and sending

mental health

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, positive mental health is “the capacity of each and all of us to feel, think, act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. It is a positive sense of emotional and spiritual well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections and personal dignity.” (From Public Health Agency of Canada, “Mental Health Promotion”.)

mental illness

According to the Government of Canada, a range of illnesses that “are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood or behaviour associated with significant distress and impaired functioning.” A mental illness is clinically diagnosed. Examples of specific mental illnesses include anxiety disorders; mood disorders, such as depression; personality disorders; and schizophrenia. (Adapted from Government of Canada, “Mental Illness”.)

Métis Senator

A Métis individual recognized and respected by the community, who has knowledge of Métis culture, traditions, and experience, and is dedicated to preserving Métis ways of life and governance. In Ontario, the Métis self-governance system includes one Métis Senator on each community council.

moderate to vigorous physical activity

The degree to which an activity is moderate to vigorous is directly related to its ability to raise the heart rate, to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, and to maintain this increase for a sustained period of time. Moderate to vigorous physical activities are aerobic in nature, enhancing the health of the heart and lungs, dependent on the frequency, intensity, time, and type of activity.

modified activities, modified games

Activities or games that have been altered from their traditional or formal structure to allow for maximum participation or to allow students of differing experiences and abilities to partici