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Connecting the Redesigned Curriculum and Health Literacy Through CSH

The Action Schools! BC’s Team presented at the  October 21st, 2016, QDPE (Quality Daily Physical Education) Conference.  Workshop participants  explored how the new updated Action Schools! BC program made connections to physical and health literacy using a comprehensive school health approach.

Action Schools! BC is a provincial school-based program designed to improve the health and learning of BC students via physical activity and healthy eating with connections to mental well-being. Through a new partnership between DASH BC (DASH), viaSport, and Physical and Health Education Canada (PHE), and with support from the Province of B.C., the program has been updated to reflect changes to B.C.’s education system and integrate a comprehensive school health approach. Updates to the program were informed by users and experts in the field. The goal of the program is to support students learning to be healthy at school.

The comprehensive school health (CSH) whole school approach used in Action Schools! BC, supports improvements in students’ education outcomes while addressing health in a planned, integrated and holistic way. It looks at all areas of the school environment, including the broader school community, to coordinate efforts in order to have a greater impact on student health and learning. Part of this positive impact is improving students’ health literacy.

Health literacy, as a broad concept, can be defined as the ability to access, understand, evaluate, and communicate information as a way to promote, maintain and improve health in a variety of settings across the life-course (Rootman & Gordon-El-Bihbety, 2008, p. 11). Within the umbrella of health literacy are the concepts of physical literacy and food literacy:

  • Physical literacy is the motivation and ability to understand, communicate, apply, and analyze different forms of movement in a wide variety of physical activities in multiple environments that benefit the healthy development of the whole person. (PHE, 2016)
  • Food literacy is the knowledge, attitudes and skills that people have relating to food. Food literate individuals have many competencies such as the knowledge of what constitutes healthy eating, an understanding of how food is connected to health and well-being, and having a positive relationship with food. (BC Ministry of Health, 2016)

A whole school approach to physical literacy and food literacy ensures that these concepts expand beyond just teaching and learning to also address school community partnerships, the physical environment, the social environment and policies to foster health-related competencies. This type of approach provides students with many opportunities for health and learning beyond the classroom, throughout the school and into the community.

For more information about comprehensive school health, physical and food literacy, check out these websites:
•    www.actionschoolsbc.ca
•    www.healthyschoolsbc.ca
•    www.phecanada.ca/programs/physical-literacy
•    www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/healthy-eating

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