Daily Physical Activity
Daily Physical Activity in schools! What it is, why do it, what it looks like in Quebec and elsewhere, and how can you target physical activity efforts to specific purposes. DPA makes everyone active, healthier, happier. To get started, read guest blogger Katherine Baker's post on Daily Physical Activity in Schools… Let’s Get a Move On, and browse the various sections below!
Daily physical activity - What, Why, How and Where
What is Daily Physical Activity?
Daily Physical Activity (DPA) is planned and spontaneous physical activity that people do on a daily basis. Activities could vary in intensity and type, they can be quick, simple, functional, and performed within a limited amount of space (i.e. the classroom!). Research shows that DPA contributes to better overall physical, mental, and social well-being at all ages. Active children are more likely to participate in physical activity as adults, meaning they will stay healthy long after they have left the school environment.
Source and more information: Daily Physical Activity Interactive Reference Guide, page 4.
Why be Physically Active? (Advocacy Documents)
Why include more movement into the school day? For starters, the answer includes an appreciation for the many ways that students – and everyone – can benefit from physical activity beyond just the oft-cited physical health benefits (which remain important, of course). The truth is, through almost any lens – whether it be physical health, cognitive functioning and learning, self-regulation, building community in the classroom and social skills development, developing physical literacy, or increasing levels of student engagement in learning – movement can help.
Read more on Katherine Baker's blog post Daily Physical Activity in Schools… Let’s Get a Move On!
Going the Healthy Route at School (2007) - The Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS) Framework Policy on Healthy Eating and Active Living for schools. Published in 2007, this document contains the exact same messages as today! See page 21 – 24 for the 3 Orientations related to increasing opportunities for physical activity throughout the school day.
Canadian Kids Need to Move More to Boost Their Brain Health (Highlight Report, 27 pages).
Government of Canada, Let’s Get Moving, 2018
Let’s Get Moving, A Common Vision for Increasing Physical Activity and Reducing Sedentary Living in Canada. (see Areas of Focus on page 26 and note the strategic imperatives related to the education system for each area of focus).
Government of Quebec, Quebecers on the Move, 2017
Quebecers on the Move! Policy on Physical Activity, Sport and Recreation (April 2017) – (see page 25 for the announcement of the then-new À l’école, on bouge! initiative (funding to schools to support 60 minutes of daily physical activity throughout the school day) as the school-based intervention within the larger context of this policy.
Articles and News:
The more kids exercise, the better they learn Montreal Gazette March 18th, 2018
What is Physical Literacy and Why Does it Matter? CBC.ca, Nov. 20th, 2015
Move over, 'sit still'! Why kids need to move in school CNN.com Article & video. May 3rd, 2018
Why Kids Shouldn’t Sit Still in Class The New York Times. March 21st, 2017
New school of thought: In-class physical exercise won't disrupt learning, teaching . Science Daily Sept 2018
Being Active Really Adds Up - How a more flexible approach to Daily Physical Activity supports student health & their readiness to learn.
Books, Journals, Blogs:
The Kinesthetic Classroom: Teaching and Learning Through Movement (Traci Lengel & Mike Kuczala).
SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain (John J. Ratey, MD).
Purposeful Movement: The Integration of Physical Activity into a Mathematics Unit, Research Journal Article (Snyder et al., 2017)
Why 'State Management' and Physical Activity Matter to Academic Achievement By Mike Kuczala
The Kinesthetic Classroom: Teaching and Learning through Movement TEDx Talk. Michael Kuczala
Don’t Walk in the Hallways Video by Ever Active Schools
Physical Literacy and the Brain: Why Being Physically Literate is Essential for Learning and Health Thompson Huddle Connect Webinar with Dr. John Cairney (57 mins)
Ma Cour, Une Monde de Plaisir- Comprehensive multi-step guide, available free to schools in Quebec, to assist school teams/committees in assessing their schoolyard with a lens on increasing both harmony and physical activity in the school yard. Includes database of schoolyard games. Hard copies available to schools in French, English translation is available electronically. English Electronic version here.
Ma Cour, Une Monde de Plaisir - Direction régionale de santé publique. Guide complet en plusieurs étapes, offert gratuitement aux écoles du Québec, aidant les équipes et les comités d'écoles à évaluer leur cour d'école dans l'optique d'accroître l'harmonie et l'activité physique dans la cour d'école.
Recess: An Important Aspect of School Success- The Essential Role of Recess in Children’s School Success and Health - (English of above)
Comprehensive multi-step guide, available free to schools in Quebec, to assist school teams/committees in assessing their schoolyard with a lens on increasing both harmony and physical activity in the school yard. Includes database of schoolyard games. Hard copies available to schools in French, English translation is available electronically only.
Daycare- “My Daycare is Physically Active/Mon service de garde physiquement actif”
A Montreal-based project (being shared on a province-wide level) where a series of six training and development workshops for daycare educators were created to support the planning and inclusion of more physical activities into daycare programs. Addresses skills/strategies for how to animate/supervise physical activity (e.g. making teams, dealing with over-competitive students, safety considerations etc.) both in the gym, classroom spaces and winter/summer play outdoors.
Informational videos created as part of the project:
My Daycare is Physically Active! (Teaser video)
My Daycare is Physically Active! (Video 1, 4:58)
lnformational Videos (FR):
Some initiatives and projects from Canada and around the world
The Recess Project Canada
Advocacy and research initiative, "To ensure compassionate, caring, and inclusive societies by supporting children's relationships at school."
BOKS (Build Our Kids Success):
BOKS is a FREE physical activity program (schools must find their own leader to deliver the program) that “improves our children physically, mentally and socially by strengthening their minds and bodies through movement”
- Free provision of a 24-week lesson plan document, divided into two 12 week sessions that contain 3 unique lesson plans per week (schools can choose frequency/duration for how they offer the program).
- “BOKS Bursts” pdf download available to schools after signing up, containing over 100 short, quick activities designed as energizers for a classroom setting. Great resource for teachers who want to include more movement in the classroom.
- Regional Coordinator for Quebec is Kim St. Pierre (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Champions for Life.
The Champions for Life Foundation works with various partners and organizations in order to offer physical literacy programs for 5 to 8-year-old children in schools and communities as well as educate the public on the topic of physical literacy. Their primary mission is to help children in low socioeconomic communities where health and social risks are greater.
What is being done already: Some School Models you can follow
What are Quebec schools doing to keep students active?
St. Raphael School - Active Academics
Photos of how this school transformed Language Arts Games
Forest Hill Senior Campus, LBPSB - The Energy Club Énergie
Every day, the Energy Club Énergie provides “active” opportunities to positively influence the wellbeing and educational success of its students.
L’école de la Paix
This school came up with a brilliant hack to help antsy kids - a way for kids to burn off excess energy in the hallways, so they could learn better.
Projet MathSport de l'école secondaire Mont-Bleu
Les bienfaits du sport dans l'apprentissage des mathématiques et autres matières. Commission Scolaire des Portages de l'Outaouais
More school portraits and examples coming soon.
Know of any great examples in your community or school? Add your experience to our latest blog comments area here.
What are other schools in Canada and around the world doing?
Ever Active Schools in Alberta
Ever Active Schools (EAS) is a provincial initiative designed to assist school communities in addressing and creating healthy school communities.
Roland Manitoba school helps fidgety kids with exercise in its sensory hallway. Youtube video and CBC related article.
Complex sensory path in action https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1X-NcFNkOg
More schools throughout the world! Portraits and examples coming soon.
Know of any great examples or great web sites to share? Add your experience to our latest blog comments area here.
Activities/Things you can do according to purpose
15-minute periods of school-wide moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each morning
Benefits cognitive functioning as well as physical health. Maximizing physical activity levels (and harmony) in the schoolyard is a focal point for many schools; between recess and lunch hour, the schoolyard is the place where over half of the active minutes at school will happen for most students. See Ma Cour, Un Monde de Plaisir , a comprehensive multi-step guide for analyzing and organizing school yards (English electronic version here).
The Essential Role of Recess in Children’s School Success and Health. Ensuring that students receive a minimum of 120 minutes of Physical Education and Health per week in an active setting and taught by a specialist is essential, as is ensuring that the Physical Education and Health program at the school is well supported (in terms of scheduling, funding, support for extra-curricular initiatives, not having a culture where students miss PE to make up work in other classes, etc.).
Trottibus or the On Your Feet challenge
Having more students walk to school through active transport initiatives is also a way that many schools build community while supporting the physical health of students.
My Daycare is Physically Active/ Mon service de garde physiquement actif project.
Given the number of hours and times-of-day that students spend in daycare, ensuring opportunities for physical activity during school-based daycare hours is also key. This project saw the creation of a series of six workshops for daycare educators to support the planning and inclusion of more physical activities into daycare programs (workshops among other topics address the supervision of physical activity- e.g. managing space, transitions, equipment, making teams, working with highly competitive students, safety considerations etc.- both in the gym, classroom spaces and winter/summer play outdoors). This resource is currently in the final stages of being reviewed for sharing province-wide.
Cognitive Function and Learning:
Physical activity in the morning (see video link above); movement breaks in the classroom to manage students’ states of attention/alertness; special projects like Projet MathSport de l’école secondaire Mont-Bleu.
Hallway ‘energy stations’ where students who are having trouble focusing can ask their teacher for a pass to go to a station that houses equipment and/or instructions for physical activities for a set amount of time (using pre-set timers). See this example from Forest Hill Sr. (Lester B. Pearson School Board) and this profile on L’ecole de Paix in Repentigny for another example. Similarly, many schools have DeskCycles or stationary bikes in the classroom.
Building Community and Social Skills Development:
Movement can be used for many fun and engaging activities to build community in the classroom. In his book The Kinesthetic Classroom: Teaching and Learning Through Movement, Mike Kuczala dedicates an entire chapter on using movement for the purpose of developing class cohesion.
Development of Physical Literacy:
The more physically literate that students are, the more likely they are in a position to engage in opportunities for physical activity and to experience all the benefits that physical activity has to offer. Active Hallway initiatives provide students with fun ways to transition from class to class while developing their physical literacy. The Don’t Walk in the Hallway initiative originated in schools out west but many Quebec schools also now have active hallways. The Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) actually sells active hallway decals, as does the Ever Active Schools organization in Alberta.
Increasing Levels of Student Engagement in Learning:
Teaching academic concepts through movement is a definite winner when in comes to increasing engagement in learning. St. Raphael School (English Montreal School Board) uses materials from Gopher Sport’s Active Academics line (warning – not cheap!) to teach literacy through movement. Many teachers have gotten ideas for teaching math actively from Moving Education. Similarly, for a ton of ideas, Mike Kuczala devotes a whole chapter to teaching new content as well as reviewing content through movement in his book. Teachers who have started using movement more in their instruction often comment that student engagement is one of the benefits they see the most readily.
Subject-Specific sites & videos:
Various videos showing movement in Math and other subjects for Math&Movement youtube channel
ELA / FLS and Literacy
Sensory pathway for ELA... designed to increase students' daily physical activity and make practicing high-frequency words enjoyable. Sensory Pathways for Literacy. Another at CES Sensory Hallway which uses the alphabet and text instructions.
Blast Off Sensory Path to learn about planets!
PEH Contacts and Social Media
Find out what is going on in Physical Education and Health in Quebec. Follow some key folks on Twitter and elsewhere, and let us know about great resource and important events.
LEARN PEH and General Contacts
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Facebook and other groups
Fédération des éducateurs et éducatrices physiques enseignants du Québec
ÉPS : Je partage, tu partages, on s'entraide!
Les TIC en EPS
Association of Physical Educators of Quebec
Resources, ideas, inspiration
Check out our tweets to #PhysEdLEARN
PEH People and Groups online
&Twitter accounts worth following:
@paulrombo (Paul Rombough, LEARN)
@RECIT4LEARN (Craig Bullett, LEARN)
@CDNblades (Katherine Baker, EMSB)
@SwlaurierPE (Robbie Richard, WQSB)
@JoeyFeith of ThePhysicalEducator.com @phys_educator
@Jo_Bou (Joël Bouthillette - Récit national)
@VolleyballQC (Volleyball Quebec)