PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PROGRAMMING IN THE SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT by gka18414

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									PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PROGRAMMING IN THE
        SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT
Introduction
The school environment can play a pivotal role in increasing physical activity levels of
children and youth, as schools have access to most children for extended periods during
the waking day, have teachers who can provide children and parents with credible
information about physical activity, have an established communication system, and may
have facilities and equipment available to facilitate physical activity.

This section examines the availability of physical education and other physical activity
opportunities in the school environment. In addition, it explores the use of cooperative
agreements with municipalities. The data are analyzed by factors such as parent’s and
child’s age and gender, region of residence, community size, household income, parent’s
educational attainment, parent’s daily physical activity level, and parent’s and child’s
sport participation. The analyses also compare trend data over time where possible. This
section concludes with a discussion of the implications and recommendations resulting
from the data.




44                                          Physical activity programming in the school environment
Physical education opportunities at school
According to parental reports, 44% of Canadian children receive physical education at school one
to two days a week, while 25% do so three to four days a week, and 22% receive daily physical
education. The remaining 9% reportedly receive no physical education at school. Among those
children who receive physical education, the average reported class duration is 50 minutes. Over
half (55%) of parents indicate that they think their children get sufficient physical activity through
the classes offered at school. There is wide variation between the provinces: parents residing in
Saskatchewan, Alberta, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon are more likely than parents
nationally to report that their children receive daily physical education; in addition, parents in the
Northwest Territories, Yukon, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are more likely, while parents in
Quebec are less likely, to report that their children get enough physical activity through physical
education classes at school.
Child’s age and sex Teenagers are more likely than younger children not to receive any physical
education at school. However, when participating in physical education classes, teenagers receive a
longer class than younger children (60 average reported minutes versus 44 minutes respectively).
Younger children are reportedly more likely than older children to receive one to four days of
physical education classes per week. Parents of teenage children, however, are more likely to
report that their children get enough physical activity through physical education at school. There
is little difference between the parents of teenage boys and teenage girls in terms of reported levels
of physical education they receive at school; however, for younger children, boys are reportedly
more likely than girls to receive daily physical activity, whereas girls are reportedly more likely to
receive one to two days per week. This is potentially reflected in perceptions of satisfaction as
parents of young girls are less likely than parents of young boys to report that they their child gets
enough physical activity through the classes offered at school. This gender difference appears
among parents of teenagers as well.
Child’s participation in sport Children who do not participate in sport are almost three times
more likely not to receive any physical education at school, while those who participate in sport
are reportedly more likely to receive three to four days of classes per week than non-participants.
Although there is no difference in the reported average duration of classes between sport
participants and non-participants, children who compete in sport at a higher level appear to receive
longer physical education classes than those who compete a local level. Parents of children who do
not participate in sport are more likely to say that their child gets enough physical activity through
physical education classes at school compared to parents of children who do. Children who
participate in competitive and structured sport are more likely to receive daily physical education
compared to those who participate in non-competitive yet structured sport.
                PHYSICAL EDUCATION CLASSES                       PHYSICAL EDUCATION CLASSES
                   overall trends, 2000-2005                         by child’s age and sex




 2000 & 2005 Physical Activity Monitor, CFLRI      2005 Physical Activity Monitor, CFLRI

 Physical activity programming in the school environment                                      45
xPhysical education opportunities at school (cont’d)
Parent’s age and sex Older parents are more likely than younger parents to report that their
child does not receive any physical education classes and to report daily classes, whereas
young parents are more likely to say their child participates one to four days per week. Older
parents also report a slightly longer duration for the class than younger parents.
Socio-economic and demographic factors Parents with a university education are more
likely to say their child either does not receive any physical education classes, or that they
receive three to four days per week, compared to those with less than secondary education.
Parents with less than secondary school education are more likely to report that their child
receives one to two 2 days of classes per week, and that their child achieves enough activity
through classes received. A similar pattern appears with income, where lower income parents
are more likely to say their child receives enough activity through this mechanism. Parents
with higher incomes generally report longer durations of classes compared to those with low
income.
Parent’s activity level Active parents are more likely than parents who are least active to
indicate that their child participates in physical education classes three to four times a week.
Active parents also tend to report a slightly longer duration for the class compared to parents
who are least active. However, least active parents are much more likely to indicate that their
child receives enough physical activity through physical education classes compared to their
active counterparts.
Parent’s participation in sport Parents who do not participate in sport are more likely to say
their child receives one to two days of classes per week, whereas parents who participate in
sport generally report a higher number of days. At the same time, parents who do not
participate in sport are more likely than others to say their child gets enough activity through
these classes.
Trends Generally speaking, the frequency and duration of physical education classes are
roughly the same as those reported in 2000. However, the percentage of parents indicating
that their child receives enough activity though these classes has decreased in the past five
years. Although more teens than young children do not receive any physical education classes,
a higher proportion of teens reportedly receive enough activity through these classes. This
may be due to differing beliefs among parents about the amount of activity required by
teenagers and younger children, or related to class duration rather than frequency given that
classes appear to be longer for teenagers.

          PHYSICAL EDUCATION CLASSES           PHYSICAL EDUCATION CLASSES MEET NEEDS
              parent education level                  by child’s participation in sport




2005 Physical Activity Monitor, CFLRI           2005 Physical Activity Monitor, CFLRI

46                                            Physical activity programming in the school environment
Other physical activity programming at school
Nearly three-quarters (71%) of parents indicate that their children’s school offers
physical activity programs outside of physical education classes. Of these parents, 40%
state that the programs meet their children’s needs well or very well, and a further 22%
report that they meet their children’s needs moderately well. The remaining 38% feel that
their children’s needs are met only somewhat or not at all. Parents in Nova Scotia are less
likely, whereas those in Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Northwest Territories are more
likely, to indicate that their child’s school offers physical activity programs outside of
physical education classes. Compared to parents nationally, parents residing in Quebec
and the Northwest Territories are more likely, whereas those in Newfoundland and
Ontario are less likely, to report that their children’s needs are being met well or very well
by these programs.

Child’s age and sex According to parents, teenagers are significantly more likely than
younger children to have other physical activity programs available to them at school
(86% versus 60%) and to have their needs met well or very well by the programming.
While there are no differences between parents of younger boys and girls in reporting the
availability of such programs, parents of teenaged girls are more likely than parents of
teenaged boys to report such availability. In addition, parents of teenaged girls are more
likely than parents of teenaged boys to indicate that they believe these programs suit their
children’s needs well or very well, whereas parents of younger boys are more likely to
report this compared to parents of younger girls.

Child’s participation in sport Parents whose children participate in sport are just as
likely as parents whose children do not to indicate that the school provides additional
physical activity programming. Parents of children who participate in sport, however, are
more likely than parents of non-participants to indicate that this programming meets the
needs of their children well or very well. Among children who do participate in sport,
parents whose children compete at a higher level (i.e., at a national level) are much more
likely to report that their child’s school offers this programming and that it meets the
needs of their children well or very well. Moreover, children who participate in
competitive and structured sports are reportedly more likely to have additional physical
activity programming available at school and that it meets their needs well or very well
compared to children who participate in non-competitive but structured sports.

    OTHER PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AT SCHOOL               OTHER PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AT SCHOOL
          overall trends, 2000-2005                        by child’s age and sex




2000 & 2005 Physical Activity Monitor, CFLRI     2005 Physical Activity Monitor, CFLRI




Physical activity programming in the school environment                                    47
Other physical activity programming at school (cont’d)
Parent’s age and sex Older parents are more likely than younger parents to report that
their child’s school offers programs outside of physical education. Overall, mothers are
more likely than fathers to report this, and this gender difference appears among both
younger and older parents. Moreover, mothers are more likely than fathers to indicate
that these programs meet their child’s needs well or very well.

Socio-economic and demographic factors Parents with less than secondary school
education are less likely than others to report that their child’s school offers programming
outside of physical education, yet are more likely to indicate that it meets their children’s
needs well or very well. Household income appears to be related to the reported
availability of other physical activity programs at school, with the proportion of parents
reporting this generally increasing as in successively higher annual income groupings.
However, parents with lower income are more likely to state that this programming meets
the needs of their child well or very well. Parental marital status is also linked to
satisfaction with programming, as parents who are married are more likely that those who
are widowed, divorced, or separated, who in turn are more likely than those who have
never been married, to report that their children’s needs are being met well or very well.

Parent’s activity level Parents who are active or moderately active are more likely than
parents with lower levels of activity to report that their child’s school offers additional
programming other than physical education classes.

Parent’s participation in sport Parents who participate in sport are more likely than
parents who do not to state that their child’s school offers extra programming.

Trends Since 2000, there has been a very slight but significant increase in the proportion
of parents who indicate that their child’s school offers physical activity and sport
programs outside of physical education classes. However, the parental ratings of the
suitability of this programming have remained consistent over time. Persistent trends
include: low income parents are less likely to indicate the availability of such
programming, yet they are more likely to maintain that the programming meets the needs
of their child well or very well; availability is more likely to be reported for teens; and
older parents and active parents are more likely than other parents to indicate the
availability of this type of programming in schools.

     OTHER PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AT SCHOOL             OTHER PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AT SCHOOL
            by household income                           by parent’s activity level




2005 Physical Activity Monitor, CFLRI           2005 Physical Activity Monitor, CFLRI

48                                            Physical activity programming in the school environment
Use of local physical activity facilities by schools
Almost three-quarters (73%) of Canadian parents indicate that their children’s school
makes use of local community facilities for physical activity programming. Such use
might include visits to community swimming pools, arenas, or trips to local ski hills.
Parents residing in Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Yukon, and the Northwest
Territories are more likely than parents nationally to report that their children’s school
makes use of local facilities.

Child’s age and sex Parents of teenagers are more likely than parents of younger
children to report that their children’s school makes use of local physical activity
facilities (79% versus 69%). Overall, parents of boys are more likely than parents of girls
to report that their child’s school makes use of local community facilities, and these
gender differences are most apparent among younger children.

Child’s participation in sport There are no significant differences in reports of schools
using local community facilities among parents whose children participate in sport and
parents whose children do not. However, among children who participate, those who
compete at higher levels (i.e., at a national level) are reportedly more likely to attend
schools that use local facilities compared to those who compete at a local level.

Parent’s age and sex Older parents (aged 45 to 64 years) are more likely than younger
parents (aged 25 to 44 years) to report that their child’s school makes use of local
facilities for physical activity and sport. Although there are no significant differences
overall between mothers and fathers, younger fathers are more likely than younger
mothers to indicate school usage of community facilities.

Socio-economic and demographic factors Parents from the lowest income
households (less than $20,000 per year) are less likely to report that their children’s
school makes use of local facilities for physical activity and sport. Similarly, parents with
less than secondary education are less likely than other parents to report that their
children’s school does this. Although there are differences in the proportion of parents
who indicate that their children’s school uses local facilities when examined by
community size, the relationship is not clear.

         SCHOOL USES LOCAL FACILITIES                    SCHOOL USES LOCAL FACILITES
            overall trends, 2000-2005                            by province




2000 & 2005 Physical Activity Monitor, CFLRI     2005 Physical Activity Monitor, CFLRI




Physical activity programming in the school environment                                      49
Use of local physical activity facilities by schools (cont’d)
Parent’s activity level Active parents are more likely to report that their children’s
school makes use of local community facilities compared to parents who are the least
active.

Parent’s participation in sport Parents who participate in sport are more likely than
those who do not to report that their children’s school makes use of local facilities for
school physical activity programming.

Trends The proportion of parents reporting that their child’s school makes use of local
community physical activity and sport facilities has remained unchanged since 2000.
Parents in the North continue to be more likely to indicate this sharing of facilities. As
noted in 2000, parents of adolescents continue to be more likely than those of younger
children to report shared use of facilities. In 2000, there were no differences between the
reports of school use of community facilities and parental activity levels. In 2005,
however, active parents are more likely to report this than those who are least active.

         SCHOOL USES LOCAL FACILITIES                    SCHOOL USES LOCAL FACILITES
             by child’s age and sex                         by parent’s activity level




2005 Physical Activity Monitor, CFLRI            2005 Physical Activity Monitor, CFLRI




50                                            Physical activity programming in the school environment
Summary of section
The majority of Canadian students receive less than 3 days of physical education per
week:
    • 9% reportedly do not receive any physical education at school;
    • 44% of Canadian children receive physical education at school one to two days a
        week;
    • 25% do so 3 to 4 days a week; and,
    • 22% receive daily physical education
Of children who receive physical education, the average reported class duration is 50
minutes. Less than half (45%) of Canadians parents indicate that they feel their children
get sufficient physical activity through the classes offered at school.

Notable relationships occur when examining participation rates in physical education at
school. Teenagers are more likely than younger children not to receive any physical
education at school. When they do participate however, they typically receive a longer
class. According to their parents, teens are more likely than younger children to get
enough physical activity through physical education at school. Children who do not
participate in sport are almost three times more likely not to receive any physical
education at school. Parents of children who do not participate in sport are more likely to
say that their child gets enough physical activity through physical education classes at
school. Lesser educated and lower income parents are more likely to indicate their belief
that their child receives enough activity through physical education at school. While
active parents generally cite a greater number of days per week in physical activity
classes and longer duration of these classes, inactive parents are more likely to state that
their child receives enough activity through the classes.

Physical activity outside of physical education class appears to be widely available;
however, two in five parents feel that this programming meets their child’s needs only
somewhat at best. Teens are more likely than younger children to have this type of
programming available to them. Less educated and low income parents are less likely to
report the availability of such programming, but similar to physical education classes,
these individuals are more likely to report that the available programming meets the
needs of their children quite well. Parents who are more active and participate in sport are
more likely to report the availability of these extra programs.

The same patterns exist for reports of school use of community facilities: parents of teens
are more likely to report that this occurs; less educated and low income parents are less
likely to report that this happens in their child’s school; and active parents are more likely
to report that this occurs.

In terms of trends, generally speaking, little has changed over time regarding the
opportunities available in the school environment.




Physical activity programming in the school environment                                    51
Discussion, Implications, and Recommendations

The school environment can play a pivotal role in increasing physical activity levels of
children and youth. Schools can potentially influence the “habitual physical activity” of
children by encouraging greater participation in extracurricular sports activities, active
commuting to school and by providing appropriate equipment and supervision for
youth.31

Physical education is but one, yet an essential opportunity for increasing activity levels. It
has the potential to contribute to: the development of children’s movement and motor
skills and physical competencies; increasing knowledge about game and sport rules;
increasing habitual activity levels; building self-esteem, leadership and teamwork skills;
building muscular strength, endurance and flexibility, and contributing to the prevention
of chronic disease in later life. In Canada, it is suggested that each student receive a
minimum of 150 minutes of class instruction and activity periods per week. This
translates to a minimum of 30 minutes of physical education each school day. However,
this section reveals that less than one quarter of children reportedly participate in physical
education on a daily basis. Indeed, the majority of parents report that their children spend
no more than two days in physical education per week, and 9% of these don’t participate
in physical education classes at all. Notably, adolescents are nine times more likely than
younger children not to participate in any physical education at school at all. This is an
important finding given the parallel decreases in overall physical activity levels that are
evident among adolescent children (see earlier section in this report). Although data
contained in this report have not revealed a change in the overall proportions of days
enrolled in physical education, researchers examining participation in physical education
among high school students in Ontario between 1999 and 2005 found a linear decrease in
the number of students having physical education classes.32 Moreover, they found that
girls and older students were the least likely to have physical education. Trudeau and
Shephard state that in a review of studies, children generally have positive attitudes
towards physical education; however, these opinions are less pronounced as children age.
These researchers suggest that understanding the reasons why these opinions change with
increasing age is important and warranted.31

In addition to the quantity and duration of physical education classes, the quality of the
programming is an important component. The Canadian Association for Health, Physical
Education, Recreation and Dance (CAHPERD) promotes a Quality Daily Physical
Education program for schools, that includes: instruction for at least 30 minutes each day;
planned lessons involving a variety of activities; participation by all students; emphasis
on “fun, enjoyment, success, fair play, self-fulfillment and personal health”; suitable age-
related and developmental activities; activities promoting muscular strength, endurance
and flexibility; participation based intramural programs; appropriately trained teachers;
and effective use of facilities and equipment.33 The potential benefits of physical
education can also be affected by interactions between students and their teachers and
coaches. 34 Appropriately trained teachers, specialists and coaches are important.
Promoting the benefits of physical activity and sport can become a focus of
undergraduate and graduate teacher training programs, as well as on-going professional
development of teachers.35 These programs can be encouraged to use existing resources
such as CAHPERD’s pre-service program which provides information on physical and

52                                             Physical activity programming in the school environment
health education, including presentations, resources, resource lists, and network contacts
(see http://www.cahperd.ca/eng/physicaleducation/qdpe_service.cfm). Physical activity
professionals, fitness leaders, health care professionals and the like can also be recruited
to speak to both students and staff members regarding physical activity.

System-level and policy-level changes which attribute higher priority to physical
education and physical activity in schools are warranted. This includes the goal of
working towards a quality physical activity program that is provided on a daily basis by
qualified and trained personnel. The programs should maximize the time that a child is
active during these periods, and provide a wide variety of opportunities that are
appropriate for both age and for developmental levels of activity (e.g., Sport Canada
Long-Term Athlete Development model). CATCH is one such program that has been
shown to be effective in increasing the physical activity level of children through
curriculum based goals. CATCH is currently being adapted to Canada by CAPHERD.

Another opportunity for physical activity at school can be provided through
extracurricular activities outside of physical education classes. Data in this section of the
report reveal that most parents state that their children’s schools offer physical activity
programs outside of physical education. However, almost two out of five of these parents
report that these programs do not meet their children’s needs at all, or very little. A study
in Ontario secondary schools revealed that of the two-thirds of Ontario schools with
intramural programs, only 15% of students participated in them.36 In addition, almost all
schools offered inter-school sports but only one-quarter of students participated in them.
These researchers found the supervision of the programs of intramurals and funding for
inter-school sports programs were significant issues. Solutions for overcoming these
types of barriers are warranted. To overcome the lack of participation in programs,
schools should be encouraged to seek the input from students in the development,
organization and administration of extracurricular activities that would further encourage
their interest and participation in the programs.37 Parental involvement in school physical
activities can potentially be helpful. Parents can be recruited to volunteer during recess,
lunch hour, or for assisting in coaching an after-school activity, as can other members of
the community. Policies requiring appropriate facilities and equipment for physical
activity in sufficient amounts to accommodate the needs of students are important.
Schools also can examine their policies on how gym time is allocated and need to ensure
that facility use before school, during lunch, and immediately after school accommodate
both competitive sport opportunities, as well as less competitive opportunities for
physical activity or sport. In addition, opportunities for physical activity during breaks
(recess or lunch) should be promoted along with appropriate education for staff to prompt
physical activity among the students.

A study in Quebec examined school factors associated with greater opportunity for
physical activity, including role modeling of physical activity behaviours by principals,
interest for increasing physical activity through municipal links, appropriate financial and
human resources, access to facilities, space for storing equipment, and location in
suburbs.38 Schools can be encouraged to develop cooperative agreements with
municipalities to share both facilities and human resources. In addition, schools can
recruit the assistance of community organizations to assist with physical activity and
sport programming in the schools as well (e.g. local sport clubs, Boys and Girls clubs,
and so on). These types of community resources can help to expand school programs by
Physical activity programming in the school environment                                   53
providing intramural and club activities at school. Data from this section of the report
reveal that most parents indicate that their schools already make use of local community
facilities. This appears to be more frequently reported by parents of adolescents than
younger children. Moreover, parents from lower income households are less likely to
report that their children’s school makes use of community facilities. Agreements can
also be considered regarding reduced registration, membership, or user fees in
community facilities outside of school hours.




54                                          Physical activity programming in the school environment

								
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