Healthy Schools Approach

What is a Healthy School?

A healthy school is one where school administration, teachers, parents, students and community agencies work together to create an environment that will have a positive impact on a child’s health and learning.

"Healthy Learners are Better Learners" (Health Canada)

What is the Healthy School Approach?

Healthy School Approach involves the whole school community coming together to share ideas, plan, and take action to help kids lead healthy and active lives.  (OPHEA, 2015)

What are the benefits of a healthy school?

A Healthy School builds a healthy setting for the whole school community to live, learn, work, and play. Benefits of a Healthy School include:

(OPHEA 2015, and Joint Consortium for School Health, 2015)

Foundations for a Healthy School

Health and education are interdependent: healthy students are better prepared to learn, and education is a key determinant of health.

According to the Ministry of Education  and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care's  philosophy and Foundations for a Healthy School in Ontario, healthy schools use 5 interconnected areas to address school health in a comprehensive way:

1. Curriculum, Teaching and Learning: Different learning opportunities before, after and during school that help students to learn, practice and promote positive and healthy behaviours

2. School & Classroom Leadership: Develop an understanding of shared goals and needs of a school community through dialogue that involves school staff, parents, students, and community partners

3. Student Engagement: Students are engaged in and lead academic and non-academic activities that help them develop a sense of self and belonging.

4. Social and Physical Environments: Creating safe and caring social and physical environments helps students to feel safe, engaged, and empowered.

5. Home, School and Community Partnerships: Utilizing strengths of the community to support, enhance and promote opportunities for learning and well-being.

In using these 5 interconnected areas, it is important for school communities to use an integrated approach.  Taking an integrated approach means that schools are addressing health related topics in a holistic way, such as through the development of healthy school policies, programs, and initiatives.

Using an integrated approach to address different health topics contributes to a positive school climate in which positive relationships between school staff, parents, students, and community partners are developed and sustained.

Adapted from Foundations for a Healthy School Ministry of Education and the Government of Ontario and OPHEA.

Download the complete Foundations for a Healthy School (PDF resource) from the Ministry of Education.