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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. Preserving sufficient sleep, trading indoor time for outdoor time, and replacing sedentary behaviours and light physical activity with additional moderate to vigorous physical activity can provide greater health benefits, (The Canadian 24 Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (5-17) ). Healthy P.A.L.S. can help to get your students moving and contribute to improving their overall health. 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.

Training for the Healthy P.A.L.S. program is once again available to interested schools and schools may use program resources found on this page to support implementation. However, the program is currently under review to enhance content related to equity and inclusion, accessibility, mental health promotion, and infection prevention. Please check back for updated resources anticipated in the Spring of 2023.

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

“Canadian kids need active bodies to build their best brains. All kids deserve to thrive in mind and body. But in order for them to reach their full mental, emotional and intellectual potential, their bodies have to move to get the wheels in their brains turning. Canadian kids need to move more to boost their brain health.” (ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth 2018 Highlight Report)  

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).

The Healthy P.A.L.S. program the following strands within the Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum: Strand A: Social-Emotional Learning Skills and Strand B: Active Living. The program supports active participation, movement competence and activities that are inclusive, provides opportunities for student leadership and addresses bullying through supporting connections.

  • 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.
  • Healthy P.A.L.S. resources to support the implementation of the program: Supervisor Handbook, Student Leader Handbook, Student Leader Training Guidebook, Games book, scheduling templates, application forms, permission forms, and training certificates.
  • Dedicated Healthy P.A.L.S. equipment, such as skipping ropes, 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 and tarmac stencil games booklet available to for schools to borrow.

*The Healthy P.A.L.S. resources are under revision. When using these resources, we encourage you to consider your professional knowledge of promoting equity and inclusion as well as the current Ministry guidance and school board direction for preventing COVID-19 in public spaces.

The School Health program offers training for Teacher Supervisors and can support your school with student leader training. For more support or information, please contact your assigned School Health Nurse or email [email protected]

"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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