This fall, students attending high schools are enjoying $1.4 million in new physical education equipment. The funding was allocated in Budget 2005 as part of the provinceâ€™s new high school physical education programming, said Education Minister Tom Hedderson.
Senior high school graduation requirements that have come into effect this school year include mandatory physical education. New courses are being introduced that will offer students choices in completing this new graduation requirement. To support the new curriculum, for the first time, the Department of Education is providing funding directly to schools to purchase physical education equipment.
â€œWe are moving forward with new initiatives in physical education,â€ said Minister Hedderson. â€œTeachers, students and support staff need to be encouraged to lead active and healthy lifestyles. We intend to continue to finance fitness equipment that will provide improved physical education opportunities in our schools.â€
While schools may opt to purchase traditional equipment such as basketballs or volleyballs, there are many choices available to them. â€œSchools can purchase any number of physical education materials. Maybe they are interested in cross-country skis or snowshoes. They may prefer GPSs or compasses. One school might buy a commercial rower, while another may opt for a spinner bike. We want our students and teachers to be active, and we are providing them the means to do so,â€ said the minister.
The new physical education program in high schools builds on new curriculum recently introduced from Kindergarten through Grade 9. Emphasis is placed on activities that appeal to a broad range of students, and students will play a role in determining the types of activities that will take place in a given year.
To complement this infusion of equipment and new curriculum, the Department of Education, school districts and physical education teachers will be working together to raise awareness among our youth regarding the importance of active, healthy living in school and throughout their lives.