The Status of Daily Physical Activity in Northern Ontario’s Elementary Public Schools

Greg Rickwood


The importance of daily physical activity (DPA) for children and youth is highlighted in Canada’s Active Healthy Kids annual report on fitness. Since 2005, this report has revealed that elementary-aged students are spending most of their waking hours stationary, in front of screens (phones, televisions, computers). To counteract this trend, the Ministry of Education in Ontario introduced policy that ensured elementary schools deliver 20 minutes of DPA beyond Physical Education classes. However, 9 years later, students remain relatively inactive during school hours. This study examined the barriers believed by Northern Ontario elementary teachers and administrators to influence their abilities to include DPA into their daily timetables. Results showed that the depleting priority of DPA in elementary schools, the absence of student and teacher mentorship, and fewer leisure time minutes during the school day were key variables in the exclusion of school-based DPA. Interestingly, many of these challenges were overcome in schools governed by school-based practices and policies that supported DPA. In these particular schools, participants expressed that their internal resources were the best defense against detractive forces that marginalized school-based physical activity.

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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