According to a new study conducted by Ipsos-Reid on behalf of Today's Parent Magazine, 94 percent of Canadians agree that "the number of overweight and inactive children is a serious health issue in Canada today." As well, nine in ten Canadians agree that "provincial governments should make it mandatory for all students, from kindergarten to grade 12, to have at least 30 minutes of physical activity each school day," and eight in ten agree that "the influence of television/internet and video games on children is so powerful that it is difficult for parents to get their children to be more physically active."
These are times of both challenge and opportunity for everyone interested in active, healthy living for children and youth. Children's health and well-being are the top priority for Ophea (Ontario Physical and Health Education Association). A leader with regard to physical activity and health in schools, Ophea is a primary source of support for parents, teachers, and schools in implementing quality, active living programs. Ophea supports Ontario's schools through advocacy, through programs and services, and through building partnerships. Ophea's vision is that all children will value, participate in, and make a lifelong commitment to active, healthy living.
"Ontario's schools are where almost all children and youth can be reached. Every school provides a 'hub' for building an active, healthy school community," says Ophea's Executive Manager, Public Affairs, Michelle Brownrigg. "The 'school community' involves all the supports a child's community has to offer: educators, school councils, parents, public and community health, recreation, community social services, local politicians, and local business."
"Ophea has always done a great job supporting teachers and school boards in helping children and youth," says Erin Woeller, who teaches grade 4 with the Peel District School Board. "Its user-friendly programs are full of ideas that are linked to the curriculum. Activities that support specific expectations are easy to find. As a new teacher, I found the curriculum binders particularly useful," says Erin. Ophea is dedicated to providing and supporting active healthy living opportunities for Ontario's children and youth. Our diverse programs and services, most of which are free, are a particularly valuable resource for health and physical education teachers. These initiatives are readily available and easy to implement. To find out more, visit www.Ophea.net, or call 416-426-7120/1-888-446-7432.
Ophea's Programs and Services - activ8
activ8 (K-8) is a curriculum-based physical activity challenge program. It consists of eight pre-planned lessons for each grade, including warm-ups, cool-downs and everything in between. Each lesson has enjoyable physical activity challenges that help students of all abilities develop their fitness and skill levels. Developed by curriculum and child development experts, activ8 (K-8)'s pre-planned lessons have direct links to Ontario's curriculum.
The Active Schools program was introduced to school communities to increase physical activity among Ontarians by motivating and recognizing schools - teachers, parents, students and community leaders - for getting up, moving and making the commitment to leading active healthy lives.
Ophea Kids' Health Conference
This annual conference provides over 75 practical workshops for everyone interested in the health, physical activity and education needs of children and youth. Delegates increase their knowledge and develop new skills, network and learn from colleagues. Interactive and informative workshops cover a wide variety of topics, from intramurals and dance, to nutrition and disease prevention.
Asthma in the Classroom: What Teachers Need to Know
Learn how to prevent and manage students' asthma attacks by getting a copy of Asthma in the Classroom: What Teachers Need to Know . This informative pamphlet outlines asthma symptoms, identifies the many triggers of asthma attacks, discusses asthma medications and details how to manage asthma emergencies. Created by Ophea in collaboration with the Lung Association, the Asthma Society of Canada, and the Public Health School Pilot Project, Asthma in the Classroom has been distributed to all schools in Ontario.
Health Canada's Physical Activity Guides for Children and Youth
On behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, Ophea distributed over 8,300 copies of Health Canada's Physical Activity Guides for Children and Youth to Ontario's school communities in 2003. The guides address the rising rates of physical inactivity and obesity among Canada's children. Also available are a Teacher's Guide, a Family Guide, and an interactive Children's/Youth Guide.
H&PE Curriculum Implementation Support
The H&PE Curriculum Implementation Support program helps students develop a lifelong commitment and a positive attitude toward healthy, active living, and the capacity to live satisfying, productive lives. It provides educators, health professionals, and other intermediaries with comprehensive workshops and consultations on curriculumrelated issues.
As part of the H&PE Curriculum Implementation Support, Ophea H&PE Binders were developed to help teachers deliver quality health and physical education programs. Each easy-to-use binder provides background information, lesson plans and supporting materials to help both generalist and specialist teachers deliver engaging lessons while meeting curriculum expectations. Resource binders are available for each grade from kindergarten to grade 8.
Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines
Ophea's Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines provides school boards with accurate safety information. The goal is to ensure a safe teaching environment. The guidelines are directly connected to the H&PE Curriculum and consist of three modules: Curricular, Co- Curricular and Interschool Athletics. These guidelines help school boards to identify safety guidelines and risks to consider before conducting activities. For more information, contact your local school board.
Lungs Are for Life
Ophea continues to work in partnership with the Ontario Lung Association in the development, promotion and implementation of the Lungs Are For Life program. This program helps students identify unsafe substances, resist pressures to use these substances and understand the health risks associated with smoking. Resources are distributed to participating teachers and students. Master trainers help to implement workshops in their school boards.
Ophea.net is an on-line community of individuals and organizations committed to improving the physical health and well-being of Ontario's children. The website provides members with articles, activity ideas, information on teacher resources, related news stories from across Canada, training and development opportunities, an online workshop and much more. Membership in Ophea.net is free. Anyone can access its wealth of ideas and information.
School Nutrition Initiative
In co-operation with the Nutrition Resource Centre, the School Nutrition Initiative involves implementing a comprehensive framework to address individual and environmental influences on healthy eating behaviours. This initiative is currently being tested with educators, public health professionals and students.
This program is a valuable resource for educating children and youth about harmful substances, including tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. Take Action complements the Health and Physical Education Curriculum support documents.
"Ophea has always done a great job supporting teachers and school boards in helping children and youth. The user-friendly programs are full of ideas that are linked to the curriculum. Activities that support specific expectations are east to find. As a new teacher, I found the curriculum binders particularly useful." Erin Woeller, Grade 4 Teacher- Peer District School Board