public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy.
OASPHE provides a strong voice in the Health and Physical Education community to ensure that issues related to the creation, implementation and delivery of the curriculum and associated issues. Our Advocacy is developed as an organization or in collaboration with Ophea to ensure that Ministry of Education, and associated partner initiatives are presented with the necessary clarity of purpose, inclusion, equality and diversity. This collaborative voice promotes the need for a positive educational experience for teachers, students and their families.
June 18, 2020
Dear Director of Education:
This letter is on behalf of six provincial subject associations that promote and support student well-being through critically important forms of experiential learning. We are deeply aware of the challenges that COVID-19 will present when Ontario students return to school. As provincial subject associations, we feel that it is imperative that our subjects have a place in the timetable and that they are delivered safely and equitably. Now, more than ever, the critical components of learning must include relationships, respect, critical thinking, and collaboration.
As we begin to reimagine what education looks like in the fall, we recognize that students will have been negatively impacted through various forms of trauma as a result of COVID-19. This pandemic has presented extraordinary challenges for the education sector and we are just beginning to understand the impact. The adverse effects of school closures on children’s safety, well-being, and learning are well documented (UNICEF, Framework for reopening schools, p.1).
After months of remote learning,
“...schools must not just prepare students for the future but they also need to help them make sense of the present. After disasters and crises, schools must as a first priority help learners safely explore the changed world in which they live.” (Te Rito Toi 1)
Our unique disciplines of dance, drama, visual/media arts, Indigenous education, music, health and physical education provide the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to be able to build resilience, and heal trauma. Our curricula and unique pedagogical approaches allow students to explore safely their thoughts and feelings through critical thinking, physicality, creativity, and collaboration. These are areas of learning that have proven successful in creating and sustaining the interest of a great many students, in particular, those from racialized and Indigenous communities. As we move forward in these uncertain times, the principle of inclusion is foundational to our work, in particular the perspectives of Indigenous peoples.
Our subject associations hold significant knowledge, expertise, and resources to support these critically important subject areas, specifically by having access to a network of professionals who have been learning together, sharing, and responding to students and families over the last number of months. We want to ensure educators are prepared and supported. In order to maintain a truly safe environment for all, educators must ensure that physical, emotional, social, and safety needs are prioritized within all learning environments and platforms. We recognize that Indigenous peoples have the right to education in their own languages and in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.
We have the research and the resources to assist educational stakeholders in reimagining what education will look like in the coming months. We invite you to prioritize experiential learning and direct your board administration to connect with us to make use of our expertise in the spirit of collaboration.
David Inglis, Co-Presidents email@example.com
January 14, 2021
Honourable Stephen Lecce
Minister of Education
5th Flr, 438 University Ave
All of the work that has gone into making this school year a success thus far has not gone unnoticed, and is greatly appreciated by all parents, guardians, community workers, teachers and, of course, students.
A critical component to the success of school systems this fall is the continued instruction of all subject areas - especially those that directly support the mental and physical well-being of children and youth. Educators have adapted to new learning environments, PPE and sanitization procedures, limited (or no) access to equipment and increased responsibility throughout - and beyond - the school day. They have also risen to the challenges of taking their classes outdoors. Indeed, over 75% of physical education classes report being exclusively outside.
As colder weather arrives, and education in Ontario continues to respond to the changing COVID-19 case levels, we know that delivering physical education outside, and virtually, creates exciting opportunities to embrace outdoor activities but will also bring a new set of challenges. PHE Canada is reaching out today, to ensure that the Physical and Health Education curriculum is supported and that contingency plans are made for inclement weather. Continuing to deliver quality PHE will lead to continued benefits to teachers’ and students’ mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health, especially during Ontario’s long winter.
PHE Canada is recommending the following:
1) Recognize Physical and Health Education classes as critical to the health and wellbeing of students and the school community by meeting or exceeding provincial standards for implementation.
2) Ensure that spaces are created and cleared for out of doors PE classes and access the community for outdoor rinks, spaces and trails.
3) Review all un- and under-used spaces within the school that can be adapted for PE instruction when the weather brings them inside.
4) Create proper storage spaces for all outdoor clothing and equipment to ensure safe transitions can occur.
5) Review protocols for using equipment and spaces, as well as updating safe-sport recommendations to be based on current research ensuring consistent messaging and opportunities for all students.
6) Work with local, regional and national organizations and teacher unions, to ensure that all teachers are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and confidence required to deliver meaningful physical education outdoors and in.
Careful planning and preparation for inclement weather, alternative learning environments and updated regulations are key to ensure that Educators feel warmly supported this winter.
We, as the only national organization advocating for the quality delivery of PHE, are willing to collaborate in any way necessary to prioritize’ our students’ mental and physical well-being.
ON Board Representative
Dr. Douglas Gleddie
Ontario Association for the
OASPHE and Ophea's Position Statement:
In the fall of 2018, the Government of Ontario hosted public consultations on a number of key educational components, including the content of the Health and Physical Education curriculum, approaches to health-related topics in the classroom, parent engagement, and physical activity policy. As part of the provincial consultation process educators, parents, students, and stakeholders were invited to provide feedback. Ophea strongly encouraged everyone to participate in the single largest consultation on the single largest health promotion intervention this province has ever seen. Ophea and OASPHE responded through the Government of Ontario’s consultation process and felt that releasing our position could support others in their participation of the consultation process.
OASPHE and Ophea's Reaction Statement:
Repealed “sex-ed” Curriculum
On July 11, 2018 Ontario’s Premier and Minister of Education announced that the sexual health education “sex-ed” component of the Health and Physical Education (H&PE) curriculum would revert back to the 1998 version until additional parent consultations have been conducted.
Ophea and OASPHE (Ontario Association for the Support of Physical and Health Educators) are disappointed with the announcement by the government of Ontario and believe that Ontario students have a right to learn from an up-to-date, research-based Health and Physical Education curriculum that includes human development and sexual health (“sex-ed”) education.
Ophea and OASPHE believe that the 20 year old “sex-ed” expectations from 1998 will not meet the needs of students in 2018.
In response, Ophea will ensure our existing Human Development and Sexual Health teaching supports (part of the H&PE Elementary Curriculum Resources and H&PE Secondary Resources as well as other topic specific resources available on Teaching Tools), will remain available to all schools, school boards and public health units in Ontario. In addition, Ophea will provide specific documentation that maps our teaching supports to the 1998 Human Growth and Development expectations to ensure educators are supported when they return to classrooms in September.
OASPHE and Ophea's Position Statement:
Human Development and Sexual Health
As part of its Plan for Ontario, the Ontario PC party has made a broad commitment to review the Human Development and Sexual Health (“sex-ed”) component of the Health and Physical Education (H&PE) curriculum after additional consultations with parents. Ophea and OASPHE anticipate that this government will take steps to address this commitment.
As such Ophea and OASPHE, as joint provincial subject associations for H&PE, have developed a Position Statement which outlines recommendations for government to consider moving forward.
Ophea and OASPHE continue to believe that students have a right to learn from an up-to-date, research-based Health and Physical Education curriculum that includes human development and sexual health education.