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Planning School Health Initiatives

It is widely acknowledged that healthy students are better prepared to learn, and that education is a key determinant of health and well-being. Schools offer a wide range of opportunities for students to learn, practice and promote positive and healthy behaviours. Comprehensive school health is an evidence-based, internationally recognized, approach for supporting improved health and well-being among school aged children and youth.

The Ontario Ministry of Education's Foundations for a Healthy School framework reflects a comprehensive school health approach. We encourage school boards and schools in Simcoe Muskoka to use this framework when planning and implementing policies, programs and activities to support student well-being. Addressing a range of health topic(s) and applying strategies in each of the following key areas, supports the development of healthy school environments:

  • Curriculum, teaching and learning
  • School and classroom leadership
  • Student engagement
  • Healthy physical and social environments
  • Home, school and community partnerships

Every school is unique. Assessing the strengths and needs of your own school community is an important step in determining your health and well-being goals, and related activities.

A positive school climate is an important part of a healthy school. As explained in the Foundations for a Healthy School framework, a positive school climate exists when all members of the school community feel safe, included, and accepted and actively promote positive behaviours and interactions. Potential strategies could include the promotion of healthy relationships, encouraging positive, inclusive and respectful behaviour, and activities that develop living skills. Adopting a strength-based approach that supports increasing students' Developmental Assets can support a positive school climate. School staff play a key role in helping to build students developmental assets - the more assets children have, the less likely they are to engage in risky behaviours and the more likely they are to be successful.

We encourage various strategies that promote a positive school climate to be integrated into your School Action Plan, regardless of the health topic you are focusing on. Our School Health team can support you in identifying and infusing activities and initiatives that strive to promote a positive school climate.

For more information on promoting a positive school climate refer to the Ministry of Education website:

Sample Action Plan Ideas

These sample action plans are intended to help you get started with planning well-being initiatives in your school. When creating an action plan, consider your school's unique strengths and needs, involve students, staff, families and community partners to identify strategies that are the best fit for your school community.

For support creating your action plan, contact your School Health public health nurse.

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