Active Schools Project

Organization Sponsor: Newfoundland and Labrador, Government

Organization Partner: Nova Central School District


Program Description

An active school provides its students with 180 minutes of physical activity in a six-day cycle as well as adopts healthy nutrition practices. The students do 20 minutes of physical activity in their classroom on their non-gym days. The activity is led by regular classroom teachers who integrate the activity into the curriculum. Matching 20 minutes of quality daily physical activity (on days when gym is not scheduled) to curriculum outcomes in the classroom setting for primary and elementary schools in the district.

In Newfoundland the “Active Schools” initiative is a collaborative partnership between
representatives from health and education in an effort to increase the health of students
in the schools of Lewisporte/Gander District. A group of stakeholders made up of local
physicians, dieticians, fitness leaders, and health promotion professionals formed the
Active Living Committee in Gander in the fall of 2003.

Program Approximate Cost: 


Funding Sources: 

Government, Health Authority, Drug Companies, Local service groups

Strategies For Sustainability: 

Advocate for government to adopt as the model for program delivery of physical activity in the classrooms for the province.

Impact Of Program: 

Children will learn that daily physical activity is part of their daily routine and will continue to be physically active as they grow into adulthood.
The pilot program was very well received and plans are currently in place to implement Phase II this year, which would see 12 more schools in the region become Active Schools. This would add nearly 3,000 more students and 200 teachers.

Evaluation Tools: 

Survery, questionnaires, pedometers

Key Elements Towards Success: 

In partnership with the Eastern School District and Eastern Health, the School of Human Kinetics at Memorial University will implement an Active Schools program in four rural schools - Coley?s Point Primary, Matthew Elementary in Bonavista, Random Island Academy, and Sacred Heart Elementary in Marystown.

Challenges To Meet Them: 

The project is being undertaken due to the alarming increase in the rates of childhood obesity and paediatric Type 2 diabetes in recent years. The hardest part was the training of the classroom teacher.The program provides support, resources and training to teachers as they allocate 20 minutes for daily physical activity in their classes.
Active Schools (or Daily Physical Activity (DPA)) is sometimes not an easy sell as there
is a full curriculum already, some classrooms lack space for activity. Some informants
felt that - if this is important - it should be included in the health curriculum. Other concerns include ensuring that ‘DPA’ complements and does not substitute for the
physical education curriculum. Support is critical for DPA and there is a concern that the
resources allocated for coordination are not adequate. One informant noted that, in
schools where this is working well, there is active support for physical activity, and a
structured approach to physical education and extracurricular activities.

Length and Stage of Project: 

This project began as a pilot in 2004 and has continued to expand.

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