Making Connections to the Ontario Curriculum

Health and Physical Education 

Healthy Living 

“The Overall Expectations of the Healthy Living strand helps students develop an understanding of the factors that contribute to healthy development, a sense of personal responsibility for lifelong health, and a respect for their health in relation to others and the world around them”1,2.

By exploring the topic of vaccinations, students understand how vaccinations affect their healthy growth and development. Students explore questions such as: What are vaccines? How are they manufactured? How do they work? How might they impact my body and health? What vaccines are available? Where do people get vaccinated? When is the best time to get various vaccines? Why are some vaccines mandatory? How do vaccines impact the health of an individual and/ or their community? What stigmas and controversies exist about vaccines?  

Students apply their health knowledge and social-emotional learning skills/ living skills to make reasoned decisions for their health and act on those decisions. Students explore questions such as: Why would an individual choose to be vaccinated or abstain? What factors might impact a person’s decisions related to vaccinations? What behaviours and strategies might people adopt to maintain personal health in situations where there is a risk of transmissible infection while still engaging in school, social or community activities, including making informed decisions about available vaccinations? 

Students also learn how their choices and behaviours related to vaccines affect themselves and others and how factors in the world related to vaccines affect their own and others’ well-being. Students explore questions such as: How does an individual’s choice about vaccines impact them in relation to others? How do others' choices related to vaccines impact them? Why might this choice not be available to some individuals? Why is it important to respect people's choices when they may not align with others? How can individuals communicate their perspectives about vaccinations as one way to support their health while respecting others' perspectives that might differ from their own? 

Social-Emotional Learning Skills (Elementary)

While learning about vaccines, students have the opportunity to develop and practice social-emotional learning skills to foster their overall health and well-being. Students learn to identify and manage their emotions and develop coping and stress management skills in various situations. As they acquire knowledge about vaccines, they are motivated to be aware of and participate in decisions about their health. Through small and large group discussions, students learn to cultivate healthy relationships respectful of diverse perspectives and a sense of self.  By practising and applying critical thinking skills, they are better able to make choices for their health and safety and become independent thinkers committed to their lifelong health. 

Living Skills (Secondary)

While learning about vaccines, students have the opportunity to refine and practice living skills to foster their overall health and well-being. Students refine their personal skills by considering how they might take greater responsibility for their personal health choices. Through small and large group discussions, students practice communication, relationship and social skills as they demonstrate respect for their choices and decisions as well as the decisions of others, actively listen to understand and appreciate differing perspectives about emergent health topics such as vaccinations, and advocate for fair and equitable access to public health services for all citizens. Students further refine their critical thinking skills as they assess the credibility and impact of sources of health information. Students have the opportunity to:  apply credible, evidenced-informed health information to make reasoned decisions about their personal health; consider how their choices and decisions impact themselves and others; and, respectfully communicate their decisions to others.


In this digital age, health information is mainly available and acquired through various media sources. Through an exploration of the topic of vaccines, students have the opportunity to develop their digital media literacy skills. Student learning is focused on critically interpreting various digital and media texts by examining the conventions and techniques used in multiple media forms related to vaccinations. Students identify the purpose and audience for whom the media content has been created and decipher the overt and implied messages. The ability to interpret digital and media texts helps students consider the potential influence messages have on people’s health decisions related to vaccination. Through the exploration and creation of various digital and media texts, students have the opportunity to develop and apply their digital media literacy skills in the context of learning related to Strand C, Comprehension: Understanding and Responding to Texts; and Strand D, Composition: Expressing Ideas and Creating Texts.


1Ontario Ministry of Education. (2019). The Ontario Curriculum Grades 1-8: Health and Physical Education (pg. 39). Retrieved from

2Ontario Ministry of Education. (2015). The Ontario Curriculum Grades 9-12: Health and Physical Education (pg. 37). Retrieved from