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Schools & Child Care


PALS Program – “there’s always room for one more”

Playground Activity Leaders in Schools (PALS) is an elementary school, student leadership program. It provides opportunities to help foster a sense of belonging and inclusion among students, while engaging them in physical activity in the school yard. The program motto is “There’s always room for one more.”

The PALS program follows a train-the-trainer model. School staff are trained as PALS program facilitators. The role of PALS facilitators is to coordinate PALS student leader training and provide ongoing facilitation support. Students from junior and intermediate grades who are interested in becoming PALS student leaders are trained to lead playground games with students in primary grades. PALS provides meaningful opportunities for student leaders to contribute to a positive school climate by promoting inclusivity, safety, and acceptance.


The PALS program will benefit your students by:

Providing opportunities for student leadership.

  • Involving junior and intermediate students as PALS leaders provides them with opportunities to improve their leadership skills by working through problems using positive communication, compromise, and co-operation.

Increase students’ sense of belonging and inclusion.

  • A child’s self-esteem and sense of social well-being can be enriched by playing with other children in an environment that encourages positive interactions through sharing, cooperation and communication.
  • Bullying prevention and intervention promotes the development of healthy, safe, respectful and caring relationships between students, allowing them to be successful in school and in their relationships with peers. A positive school climate exists when all members of the school community feel safe, included and accepted and actively promote positive behaviours and interactions.

Increase opportunities for physical activity to improve students’ physical literacy.

The program will provide opportunities for students to voluntarily engage in a variety of physical activities that allow them to practice fundamental movement skills and learn game strategies.

  • Through their participation in structured and unstructured physical activities, students may gain the skills, competence and confidence required to explore a wide variety of physical activities that benefit their healthy development.
  • Physical literacy and physical activity positively impact a child’s physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development.

The PALS program supports the following strands within the Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum: Strand A: Social-Emotional Learning Skills and Strand B: Active Living. 

To see how physical literacy is embedded in the Vision and Goals of the Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum, access: Health and Physical Education (

We provide resources for schools to use as part of the PALS program. The PALS program resources were created and approved for use only within Ontario. 

To access the PALS resources and request facilitator training, contact your School Health Public Health Nurse or email us at [email protected].
  •  PALS resources  to support the implementation of the program include:
  • Facilitator Handbook and Student Training Guide
  • Student Leader Handbook
  • Games Book
  • Forms and Certificates

The School Health program offers training for adult facilitators (school staff and/or volunteers) 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].  


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