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Schools & Child Care

Healthy Playground Activity Leaders in School (Healthy P.A.L.S.)

The Healthy P.A.L.S program

Healthy P.A.L.S. is a peer-led playground leadership program that encourages all children to participate in activities regardless of their gender, age, or ability.Dedicated school staff are trained to supervise the program and junior and intermediate students are trained to act as playground activity leaders for younger students.

Check out our Healthy P.A.L.S. promotion video and share it with administrators, teachers and parents.

The Healthy P.A.L.S. program will benefit your students by:

  • Increasing their physical activity
  • Decreasing conflict and reducing playground bullying
  • Providing leadership opportunities and building Developmental Assets® for students (Developmental Assets® enhance student skills, experiences, relationships and behaviours to enable young people to develop into healthy individuals).

Educators and schools are in a unique position to help students develop Living Skills; the assets they need to have a positive sense of self, form healthy relationships and become skilled in understanding information, solve problems and make responsible decisions. Running a playground physical activity program for students enables them to grow into caring and healthy adults.

The Healthy P.A.L.S. program has been developed to support schools to meet the Ontario Health & Physical Education 2015 curriculum with inclusive physical activity that is inclusive, promotes leadership and addresses bullying. It is designed to support the Living Skills component of the curriculum by incorporating Personal Skills (PS), Interpersonal Skills (IS), and Critical Creative Thinking (CT) into the activities.

Personal Skills (PS)
Activities are provided where students will recognize their individual strengths and capabilities. Students will learn and practice effective leadership and communication skills such as being assertive and caring. Personal assets are fostered through planning and leading activities that support positive peer relationships and healthy living.

Interpersonal Skills (IS)
Students will apply relationship and social skills as they participate in lesson plan activities and acquire knowledge and skills related to leadership, cooperation and communication to help them interact positively with others and build healthy relationships.

Critical and Creative Thinking
This activity gives students an opportunity to use a range of critical and creative thinking skills. It assists and encourages students to plan, set goals, problem solve, make decisions, and resolve conflict in positive ways.

  • 1-2 school staff to support student leaders and supervise the program
  • Students in Grades 4 - 6 to act as playground activity leaders for younger students at recess.
  • Dedicated Healthy P.A.L.S. equipment, such as skipping ropes, an assortment of soft balls, marbles, jacks, whistles, and bags or bins to store the equipment.To encourage physical activity and support the Healthy P.A.L.S. program at your school, SMDHU has tarmac stencils available to for schools to borrow.
The Healthy Schools program offers training for Teacher Supervisors and can support your school with student leader training. During the Teacher Supervisor training, Healthy P.A.L.S. resources will be provided to support the implementation of the program at your school. Resources include: Supervisor Handbook, Student Leader Handbook, Student Leader Training Guidebook, Games book, scheduling templates, application forms, permission forms, and training certificates. Please contact your Healthy Schools public health nurse to find out when there is a training happening near you!
"Research underlines the importance of exercise and student engagement as important factors for student well-being. The Healthy P.A.L.S. program directly supports these components. It encourages active play and anti-bullying messages, while student-leaders grow in confidence, taking pride in their job within the school community. Healthy P.A.L.S. encourages a busy, peaceful playground where students have fun and learn from each other." – K. Van Dewark, Principal
Healthy P.A.L.S. has been adapted and reproduced with permission of Public Health, Region of Peel.


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