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Daily Physical Activities
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FAQ

  1. How does daily physical activity benefit students?
  2. Does the new 20 minutes of daily physical activity replace physical education classes?
  3. When will schools be required to have programs in place to meet the daily physical activity requirements?
  4. How might teachers and principals engage parents and the community in the implementation of daily physical activity?
  5. What resources and training is the Ministry of Education providing to assist teachers in implementing daily physical activity?
  6. How does daily physical activity fit into the school day?
  7. How do I get a copy of the Daily Physical Activity resource guides?



1. How does daily physical activity benefit students?
Physical activity is a shared responsibility with the school, home and community. As part of each instructional day, every elementary student, including those with special needs, will participate in sustained moderate to vigorous movement for a minimum of 20 minutes. This movement may include walking, active games, dance, aquatics, sports, fitness activities, and other recreational activities (where facilities permit). Ontario’s policy is in line with Canada’s Physical Activity Guides for Children and Youth.

2. Does the new 20 minutes of daily physical activity replace physical education classes?
No. Daily physical activity is not meant to replace the teaching of health and physical education. Daily physical activity is considered only one component of a quality health and physical education program. The knowledge and skills learned through participation in regular physical education is essential. A physical education class that includes 20 minutes or more of sustained moderate to vigorous physical activity meets the daily requirement. However, on the days when no physical education class is scheduled, the teacher must provide other opportunities for at least 20 minutes of physical activity during instructional time.

3. When will schools be required to have programs in place to meet the daily physical activity requirements?
When announcing this policy, in October 2005, The Government recognized that there would be differences in approaches and implementation but expected elementary schools to ensure that all students would be receiving, as soon as possible, at least 20 minutes of sustained moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. The government requirement was that all schools must reach the minimum 20-minute objective by the end of the 2005-06 school year.

4. How might teachers and principals engage parents and the community in the implementation of daily physical activity?
Daily physical activity will provide new opportunities for parental engagement and community partnerships. Schools may choose to host parent sessions and provide ideas for daily physical activity at home. The school administrator’s guide on daily physical activity will offer information on ways to communicate with parents. Principals may wish to engage the school council and develop a school-based action plan that would involve parents. Schools are encouraged to diversify activities by looking at opportunities for community organizations to promote physical activities to students. These might include guest speakers and presenters who could demonstrate to students a variety of physical activities (such as dance or hiking). A number of provincial and national organizations have experience in providing support for schools through physical activity programs.

5. What resources and training is the Ministry of Education providing to assist teachers in implementing daily physical activity?
The ministry provided teachers, principals, schools, and boards with a variety of resources to support daily physical activity. These include:

  • New funding for training and resources: The government invested $10.7 million this year in training opportunities and resources to help teachers lead daily physical activity. Funding was made available to school boards to supplement schools’ existing physical education equipment (e.g., skipping ropes, balls, bean bags, hoops and mats).
  • New funding for additional specialist teachers: The government is investing $39 million this year, increasing to $146 million by 2008-09, to hire 2,000 new specialist elementary teachers in key areas such as literacy and numeracy, music, the arts and physical education.
  • Physical activity guides: Three teacher guides have been developed: for the primary grades (1-3), for the junior grades (4-6) and for the intermediate grades (7-8). There is also a guide for school administrators and one for school boards. The guides were developed by the Ontario Physical Health and Education Association (Ophea) with the input of many physical activity experts.
    These resources are available for download in PDF format at http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/teachers/dpa.html


6. How does daily physical activity fit into the school day?

Allocating time for daily physical activity takes creative planning and coordination at the classroom, school, and board levels. It is often possible to integrate the 20 minutes of sustained physical activity into physical education classes. On days when this is not possible, or when there are no physical education classes, the 20 minutes of physical activity need to be incorporated into regular instructional time. To do this, appropriate strategies could include integrating physical activity into other curriculum areas or taking an equal amount of time from each period during the day for physical activity.



7. How do I get a copy of the Daily Physical Activity resource guides?

The teacher’s resource guides have been posted online and are available for download in PDF format at www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/teachers/dpa.html



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