Positions

Ophea is building towards an education system that fosters healthy school communities and gives every student a foundation to thrive.   

Ophea’s approach aims to align partners in the sector under a common goal, bringing research, policy, and practice together to impact the health and well-being of children and youth.   

Working in partnership with government, non-government, and partners Ophea advocates for healthy public policy and supports related to Health and Physical Education and healthy, active living in Ontario school communities.  


Re-defining Quality Health and Physical Education

Evidence tells us that quality Health and Physical Education, is good for students, and boasts a whole host of social, emotional, and physiological benefits that set the tone for a lifetime of health and well-being. Every student has a right to quality Health and Physical Education, where they feel they belong. The trouble is, not every student experiences a sense of belonging in our Health and Physical Education classes. In fact, some of our organizational structures and pedagogical practices (past and present) have caused harm to young people, disproportionately negatively impacting students who experience marginalization.
 
We must embrace the opportunity before us to shift the narrative, to redefine what quality Health and Physical Education really looks like, with every single student; not despite their differences, but precisely because of them. Belonging is at the foundation of quality Health and Physical Education, and has to start with how students feel in the classroom, every single day; whether they see themselves in pedagogy, and whether they feel emotionally safe enough to connect with us, and with each other. What does it actually look like, and how might we get there? Here are some thoughts from our students.

Vishaal Beharry, Youth

Yumi Lee, Youth 

More videos to come!


2022 Provincial Budget Submission – Investing in the Health and Well-being of Ontario’s Children and Youth 

In February 2022, the provincial government invited input into its pre-election budget. Significant investments in Health and Physical Education curriculum implementation, and in Healthy Schools, can go a long way in supporting pandemic recovery, enhancing belonging and connectedness within school communities, in turn enhancing the well-being and learning outcomes for children and youth. 

Access the full submission 


Schoolyards Count: How Ontario’s schoolyards measure up for health, physical activity, and environmental learning 

Decades of research demonstrate that the outdoors are an important part of students’ learning, social development, physical and mental health, sense of connection to the school community, and build an appreciation and respect of the environment. Schoolyard quality makes a difference to well-being, physical activity levels and learning opportunities for children in school communities.   Sustainable, accessible opportunities that support social inclusion and physical activity within our schoolyards need to enhanced.

 


The Importance of Physical Activity Across the School Day 

Physical activity opportunities can support student physical health, mental health and well-being through in-person and virtual physical education opportunities, as well as through play, recess, and intramurals.  Quality, safe, and inclusive, daily physical activity is a fundamental right for all students, benefitting their well-being and advancing the goals of education. Learn more about this collective goal


The Importance of Experiential Learning 

As a result of the pandemic, student mental health and well-being have been negatively impacted, especially marginalized populations. Experiential learning through Dance, Drama, Visual/Media Arts, Indigenous Education, Music, Health and Physical Education provides a unique opportunity to improve relationships, respect, critical thinking, and collaboration, and these subject areas must have a meaningful place in the timetable to be delivered safely and equitably. This letter to Ontario’s education community emphasizes the importance of promoting and supporting student well-being through critically important forms of experiential learning.


Indigenous Education: Truth and Reconciliation Curriculum Writing Sessions 

As a provincial subject association for Health and Physical Education, Ophea recognizes that Health and Physical Education are implicated in Canada’s colonialism. Ophea refers to provincial curricula for guidance and inspiration to support teachers across Ontario with the implementation of quality Health and Physical Education, and supports greater integration of Indigenous perspectives into all curricula.   

Ophea Position Statement on Indigenous Education 


Understanding Parental Attitudes Towards Health in Ontario Schools 

Ophea surveyed parents/caregivers of Ontario school-aged children to better understand their perspectives on pressing health issues, Health and Physical Education (H&PE), healthy schools, physical activity, and safety. The survey results found that parents/caregivers believe that Ontario schools have an important role to play in supporting the health and well-being of their children, but have concerns about how equipped kids are to meet 21st century health challenges.  

Infographic on Key Findings 

(for an accessible version please contact info@ophea.net)  

Full Parent Survey Report 

(for an accessible version please contact info@ophea.net)  


Physical Activity in the Elementary School Setting: Evidence Energizer 

This Evidence Energizer presents Ophea’s key messages related to physical activity in the elementary school setting, and provides an evidence-based rationale for each message along with a complete bibliography of sources. These key messages are relevant to anyone promoting physical activity and the implementation of quality H&PE in elementary schools in Ontario.  

Evidence Energizer: Physical Activity in the Elementary School Setting