Fundamental Movement Skills and Activities – Parents and Teachers

Active for Life is the place where parents go to learn about activities for kids. Physical education leads to physical literacy, which is critical for child development. Physical literacy also gives active kids the best chance to someday compete in high-performance sport. Kids activities are organized here by age and gender, so parents can find fun and engaging ways of making sure their children get the recommended daily amount of physical activity. Activities for toddlers are aimed at the development of fundamental movement skills, while activities for children build on the fundamentals to establish more complex sport skills that can be used to play any number of sports and activities. Exercises for kids enhance their physical development. In the early stages of child growth, early childhood development is dependent on appropriate exercises for children. Because kids play is good for kids health.

Check out these activities!

Health Champion Experiment: Carrot Sticks Instead of Gummy Bears?

From the desk of Graminia School Health Champion Morgan Saunders…

Students in 5B record their agenda messages every day as part of my communication circle involving the students, their parents, and me.  Students who can prove they shared their agenda message with their parents (by obtaining a signature), get to choose a reward.  In the past, I offered a sticker or a small candy (a gummy bear or two) and sometimes a small granola bar.  After the Health Champions meeting, I was wondering how it would be received if I offered a healthy option alongside the sticker.  Last Tuesday morning, 19 out of 21 students present chose a mini carrot over a sticker.  On Thursday, October 10, 22 out of 24 students chose the carrot option.  Some even asked for a second or third carrot!  Since today is Friday and the kick off to a long weekend, I brought back the gummy bears as a treat.  I was surprised to find that I had students asking for a carrot instead!

Welcome to 2013-2014!

Dear PSD Health Champions and Community Partners,

I want to officially welcome you to year two of our Youth Resiliency Project–a district-wide movement using a comprehensive school health approach.  I look forward to meeting with you all for our first Health Champion meeting on Monday, October 7th at the Centre for Education.  Please bring your own device to work with that day as we’ll be working with George Couros in the afternoon to learn how and why we should share the great work we’re doing this year.  In addition, we’ll have the chance to work with great provincial leaders that day from APPLE Schools, Healthy Schools, Healthy Future, and Ever Active Schools.

Thank you all for your patience in the month of September.  I’m enjoying being the mother of three little girls now.  Zoe Marie is a great little baby who seems to be adjusting well to her older sisters.  I’m sure you’ll all get to meet her sometime this year.  Have a great week and please encourage your community partners and wellness teams to subscribe to this blog site so that we can share the great work that we’re doing in the areas of health and wellness across our entire division!

Have a great day!


A Silent and Active Science Class at SPC

We want to wish Stony Plain Central’s current health champion, Charity Erickson, well as she welcomes her new baby into the world.  Charity has passed the health champion torch onto teacher, Miranda Niebergall–a Grade 3/4 teacher.

From Miranda’s Desk:

“I am super excited to be taking on the Health Champion role at SPC. I am a new teacher who really tries to push the envelope and try new things. SPC is a happening place right now. We have significant staff changes last year, and I believe that the staff we have on board right now is looking to make SPC an even stronger learning community. The health and well-being of staff and students is a huge focus for next year! We are hoping to catapult SPC to the top of the PSD Healthy Schools list!  I am on my own personal health and wellness journey and I ultimately hope to inspire my colleagues. I was always an athlete, but when I took on the role of “Mom” I suddenly put the needs of myself behind the needs of my two children. When I turned thirty this year, I decided that I had to find a balance of my needs and the needs of my family. Because I was not taking care of myself, I was, in a way, not taking care of my family. I am now rowing 3 times a week and walking every evening with my husband. And I might add that my house has never been cleaner and the laundry baskets less empty! I have so much energy now that I am more conscious of my physical and mental well being! This has trickled into my classroom and I have noticed a huge change in my students as well! It is not that I am adding something more to my plate as a teacher, I am just changing the way I am teaching:) I am looking at all of the ways to tie in health and wellness into what I am already doing.

One example of how I’ve recently integrated this new way of thinking comes from a recent science class.  My grade 3’s are studying hearing and sound. Rather than brainstorming sounds from our desks, we took to the streets of Stony Plain. Students were given a clipboard, piece of paper and a pencil to record all the sounds that they heard while we were on our 45 min. walk. They were also asked to walk in complete silence…no talking! They all complied except when we were stopped by a lovely old lady who engaged in quite the conversation with the students about what we doing on Main Street. They were so excited to tell her what we were doing!

After returning to the school from our walk, students were then asked to plot their recorded sounds on two continuum tables–pitch and decibel level. This is absolutely something that we could have done from within the classroom, but I wanted to incorporate some physical activity into my lesson and thought that this would be a fantastic way to give both myself and my students a body break WHILE we were still learning!

After sharing with the students that we’d walked for an entire 45 minutes, my student Connor said, “Mrs. N, that was so much fun! I can’t believe that we just walked that long….it felt like we were gone for like 5 minutes.”

I look forward to sharing more of what I’m learning in my personal and professional life about health and wellness with my students.

Are We Driving Our Kids Unhealthy Habits?

The 2013 Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card on the Physical Activity of Canadian Children and Youth is now available online. Click here to read the short or long report.  

Our Health Promotions Coordinator, Matthew Mitschke, has shared with Parkland School Division that this year’s focus is on active transportation:

  • If children walked for all trips of less than one kilometre rather than being driven, they would take an average of 2,238 additional steps per day
  • Although 58% of parents walked to school when they were kids, only 28% of their (parents who walked) children walk to school today. Meaning even less than this are using active modes of transportation to school.
  • Active Transportation may
    • Improve fitness and heart health
    • Increase academic achievement
    • Provide social opportunities
    • Reduce stress
    • Improve air quality and reduce the risk of lung disease
    • Reduce the risk of traffic-related accidents around schools.

If you would like to know more about how schools and communities are

addressing this issue, please contact Matthew Mitschke at

Partnerships at Work in Parkland School Division

Every Thursday, Spruce Grove Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), Jessie Smith, gets down on the floor of Greystone Middle School to engage in activities with students through the After the Bell program.  This FCSS-supported program is one of many community partnerships that exist at Greystone Middle School and reflects a growing trend between Parkland’s schools and community partners to support children and youth before, during, and after school with their social-emotional, physical, and academic needs.  On this particular day, over 15 students were in attendance working in small groups to design a parachute that would stay afloat longer than its competitors.

In addition to FCSS, both Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Edmonton and Parkland Area Young Life have been actively involved in creating positive culture at Greystone.  This year BBBS coordinator Angele Medeiros worked with Brookwood Elementary School Grade 4 students to create an in-school mentoring program with Grade 9 students at Greystone.  Both schools have identified that this mentoring program will help ease the transition between elementary school to middle school for students while strengthening the leadership skills of the older students.  Assistant Principal Tracy Lachman commented that, “this program has been such a great success for both schools.”  

Baking cookies in the Foods Lab at Greystone through the BBBS of Edmonton In-School Mentoring Program….

Parkland Area Young Life volunteers have been active at both Greystone and Parkland Village School this year.  Thanks to the work of area directors Chris Vanden Brink and Tracey Flynn, young volunteers began distributing hot chocolate to students weekly at Greystone on cold winter mornings.  This relationship with the school developed into support for both the breakfast program and lunchtime intramurals.  The volunteers have been helpful in shaping positive school culture during these unstructured times for students.   This isn’t the only school that Young Life has supported. The group has been facilitating a homework club for Parkland Village School with the support of the Evolve project.  Currently, Young Life is recruiting more volunteers to help meet the volunteer needs of other schools within Parkland School Division. If you are a young adult and would like to learn more about how to volunteer with Young LIfe, please contact Tracy Flynn at 780 910 3014.

Thank you to these and many, many other area partners who contribute in meaningful ways to our students and school communities.

Stony Plain Central’s Staff Challenge

This year, Health Champion Charity Erickson and her wellness team decided to help increase the health and wellness of their staff members by setting up a monthly Staff Challenge, which focuses on nutrition, sleep, exercise, and mental health.  Each month, the main school entrance bulletin board has been designed to showcase the challenge as well as monitor the progress of just under 50 staff members who support and lead students in these areas.  The positive peer pressure has been contagious!

Way to go, Stony Plain Central!

As spring begins, Entwistle reflects on its WILD winter moments…

Health Champion June St. Goddard shared that many exciting things happened at Entwistle School over the cold winter months. In January and February Kindergarten to Grade 5 went skating a number of time at the Evansburg arena.   Entwistle had around 12 different parents volunteer and help to tie skates. Each skater was provided with a bottled water and a granola snack.  Parents and the community members really enjoyed the event.  More importantly, students were very grateful for the opportunity to get out and enjoy the rink as some had never skated before.  As a result of this activity, one grandparent of a Grade four student decided to start up a skating program again for next season because of the expressed interest of the kids and parents. “We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome,” says Ms. Goddard.




In addition to skating, Lacrosse was an important part of Entwistle’s winter season.  Nearly 32 students practiced for the Edmonton Rush’s game against Minnesota in February.  Over 100 game tickets were purchased by family and community members.  Thanks to teacher and performing arts club director Tara Burvill who organized this exciting performance, the students were able to show off their talents and share their school pride with the entire Edmonton Rush audience.  CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT!!!!


“Dodge for the Hawk” Raises Heartbeats and Cash

The first annual “Dodge for the Hawk” Dodgeball-a-thon was a huge success at Tomahawk School.  The twelve hour event occurred April 13 and 14 at Tomahawk School.  Every student at Tomahawk participated in the event and helped raise funds for a new junior high playground.  “The kick-off game was so exciting seeing our communities finest as the local volunteer fire department took on the grade nines as well as the staff,” said Health Champion Alana Robb.   The event carried on into the evening hours parents and community members dressed up and participated in the challenge.  Seventeen teams and around 150 participants were involved in this exciting event which raised a total of $5000.  Great job, Tomahawk!