Outside Time and Active Play

As outlined in the Ministry of Education’s Before and After School Programs Kindergarten – Grade 6 Policies and Guidelines for School Boards;

Active Play Requirements:

After school programs must dedicate 30% of program time or one hour of daily active play for students in the program. Activities should be developmentally appropriate and accommodate fitness levels and interests of students. Emphasis should focus on participation and enjoyment and can include introducing participants to a range of developmentally appropriate physical activities such as sports, dance, free gym time, and active games.

This requirement aligns with the Public Health Agency of Canada’s guidelines recommending 60 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity for children aged 5-17. It is also consistent with the principles outlined in How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years, which include creating opportunities for children to engage in active play that allows them to connect with the natural world and their community.

Outdoor Play Considerations:

How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years notes that children thrive where they can engage in vigorous physical play in natural outdoor spaces. In addition to providing physical benefits, active play outdoors strengthens functioning in cognitive areas such as perception, attention, creative problem solving, and complex thinking.

Extended Day Programs should provide at a minimum 30 minutes of outside time in before school programs and 30 minutes of outside time in after school programs. Children should have access to drinking water, shade and appropriate outdoor clothing.

Ontario Public Health Evidence Brief: Promoting active play for children 0 – 12

Screen Time and Use of Technology:

Extended Day Programs are play-based programs that provide opportunities for children to learn through active play, exploration and inquiry. Children attending Extended Day Programs will not have access to video games or television during the program as we recognize the benefits of play based learning. The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that Canadian Kids age’d 5 to 17, get at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity each day and that only 9% of children are meeting the recommendations (Active Healthy Kids 2016).