Six Things to Check Off Your September To-Do List!

A group of five students walk down a school hallway. Focus is on a Black student with shoulder length curly hair; they are wearing a backpack and holding their school books smiling at the camera. The rest of the students are walking ahead and are out of focus.

Fall is in the air! As schools and classrooms fill across Ontario, Ophea is gearing up for another year of supporting Ontario educators with resources, programming, and other supports to promote health and well-being for every student. Since we know that this is a busy time of year for all, we have prepared an easy checklist that you can use throughout September to help promote well-being in your own school community while staying on track with your professional goals! 

1. Take a deep breath! 

Firstly, let’s take a deep breath – the beginning of a new school year can be hectic for everyone! As we shift out of summer mode and back into the classroom, it’s important to prioritize and safeguard our own well-being so that we have the capacity to support those around us, including our students, throughout this transition. 

Take time to explore self-care practices that might work for you, like physical activity, a home-cooked meal, or time spent with friends and family! 

2. Take advantage of Ophea’s resources, lesson plans, and other supports! 

Have you explored Ophea’s resources lately? Freely accessible (with an account), our resources can help support educators with curriculum-aligned lesson plans, assessment tools, and more!  

Ophea provides resources that cover topic areas such as Mental Health and Well-Being, Physical Activity, Internet Safety, Human Development and Sexual Health, and much more! These tools can help support your practice by providing planning supports, ideas for classroom activities, and evaluation techniques with which you can supplement your own strategies.  

Explore Ophea’s resources today! 

3. Check out Ophea’s e-Learning Modules! 

Keeping your professional development up-to-date is easy with Ophea's convenient, self-directed e-Learning Modules. These modules provide relevant, up-to-date information on a variety of topics that are important to educators, their students, and school communities at large: 

Ophea's four FREE e-Learning modules are intended to support all elementary and secondary school staff including educators, administrators, and support staff in meaningfully engaging with their students and fostering the development of safer learning environments for every student. e-Learning modules are 1-2 hours in length and feature a variety of instructional methods. Certificates of completion are provided once modules are completed successfully. 

Throughout Ophea's e-Learning modules, participants will engage in a variety of learning tasks, as well as Pause and Reflect activities during which they will consider what is being asked and make connections to their own knowledge and experiences.  

Alongside our modules, Ophea offers other professional learning opportunities such as recorded webinars and workshops. Explore our professional learning offerings here. 

4. Get ready to register for Healthy Schools Certification! 

Are you looking for a school-wide program that can help promote and enhance physical and mental health and well-being for your students, school staff, and broader school community? Get ready to register for the Healthy Schools Certification 2023/2024 cohort! Now is the time to prioritize health, collaboration, and connection in your school community! 

Healthy Schools Certification is based on the 4-Step Healthy Schools Process, inspired by the Canadian Healthy School Standards and Canada’s Comprehensive School Health Framework. Certification is based on a school’s ability to follow and complete the process, and not on the type or number of activities completed. Through the Healthy Schools Process, schools will plan and carry out activities that address their school community needs and priorities. Through a point-based system, schools will be able to report on their Healthy Schools Process steps online and apply for Gold, Silver, or Bronze Healthy Schools certification. Healthy Schools Certification is an annual process that reflects the reality of each unique school year. 

Last year, over 350 schools across Canada participated in Healthy Schools Certification, sharing the benefits of the Healthy Schools Approach with over 270,000 students!  

Registration begins on September 11th, 2023, and remains open until Friday, November 24th, 2023, at 12:00pm (ET). Curious about what information you’ll need to register? Learn more about registering for Healthy Schools here! 

5. Review the updated Ontario Physical Activity Safety Standards in Education (OPASSE)! 

Effective planning strategies can help minimize risk during physical activity, and OPASSE is updated each year to help educators, coaches, and leaders ensure safe practices in the areas of equipment, clothing, facilities, special rules/instructions and supervision for sport and physical activities. 

The Summary of the September 2023 revisions to OPASSE contains a summary of the changes to the OPASSE for the 2023/2024 school year. 

The annual revision process is a user-driven process powered by the Safety and Injury Prevention Advisory Committee (comprised of risk-management professionals including educators, sport organizations, subject matter organizations, etc.), which is responsible for reviewing and implementing suggested changes. Individuals wishing to submit a request to modify the Safety Standards must do so no later than October 31 of the current school year. Submit a request here

When planning physical activity with your class this school year, be sure to consult OPASSE to ensure that minimum safety standards are met! 

6. Remember to take some time for yourself and plan for the long run! 

The school year is a marathon, not a sprint! As you get back into the classroom routine, prioritizing your own well-being can help set you up for a sustainable year and avoid burnout. Don’t be afraid to model this behaviour in the classroom – it’s more important than ever that Ontario students see trusted adults ensuring that their own needs are met.  

We hope that the tools and supports identified in this Blog can assist you through the first weeks of school and beyond! Ophea wishes all students, educators, and school staff across Ontario a safe and successful 2023/2024 school year!  


Be sure to connect with us and share your successes by tagging @OpheaCanada on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, and Instagram!  

To stay up-to-date on Ophea professional learning offerings, resources, and supports sign up for Ophea’s e-newsletter, eConnection