What is the relationship between PE and PA?

Physical Education - What is it?

Physical Education is a school subject designed to help children and youth develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for participating in active, healthy living. As such, Physical Education programs are an integral component of the total school experience for students. Quality Physical Education programs encompass a wide variety of carefully planned learning experiences from sport skills to outdoor skills, to dance and gymnastics. Attention to developmentally appropriate curricular goals and learning outcomes will ensure that children of all abilities and interests are able to build a foundation of movement experiences and knowledge – that is, a language of physical movement or physical literacy that leads to life-long active and healthy living.

Physical Activity - What is it?

Physical activity is a movement of the body that expends energy; such as participation in sports, dance, and exercise. Physical activity is used in Physical Education programs as a medium for teaching curriculum content and for providing fun opportunities through which to practice and improve on learned skills. Therefore, physical activity is an essential component of a quality Physical Education program. It is the vehicle to become physically educated, just as a book is a vehicle to becoming a reader. However, similar to how a teacher still needs to teach the skills of reading, as the presence of the book does not guarantee learning, teachers still need to teach the learning outcomes of Physical Education. Physical activity in itself does not create a physically educated person.

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“What is the relationship between Physical Education and Physical Activity?”

What is the relationship between PE and PL?

Physical Education is a school curricular subject that supports the development of the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for participating in active, healthy living. Physical education programs are an integral component of the total school experience for students.

A quality physical education program encompasses a wide variety of carefully planned learning experiences from sport skills to outdoor skills, to dance and gymnastics. Attention to developmentally appropriate curricular goals and learning outcomes ensures that children of all abilities and interests are able to build a foundation of movement experiences and knowledge.

Quality physical education programs provide the best opportunity to develop physical literacy in children and youth, helping them to make healthy and active choices now and throughout their lives. After all, every child, regardless of age, gender, culture, socio-economic status or ability goes to school, and when they have the opportunity to participate in quality physical education throughout their school years, they will have had the opportunity to experience a variety of activities in a progressive, sequential format that ensures maximum learning and enjoyment.

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Download Brochure: What is the relationship between Physical Education and Physical Literacy?.pdf

What are the PE/PA guidelines in my province?

Education requirements and guidelines are mandated by the associated provincial governments, and as such, vary from province to province. PHE Canada has set recommended standards as the leader in promoting quality daily physical education and physical activity to encourage provincial governments to follow, implement, and mandate these standards. With only a few provinces meeting some areas of PHE Canada’s standards, more advocacy, support, and focus is needed until every child and youth in Canada receives quality daily physical education and activity.

To view your province’s PE/PA requirements and guidelines, please visit the Across Canada section of our Advocacy Action Centre.

How can I promote QDPE?

Children and youth in Canada deserve access to quality, daily physical education. Here are some ways that you can help in making a change:

An individual Implementation Strategy

You can make a difference, in your school or your child’s school. Take the time to find out how the physical education program at your school measures up. If you are not satisfied with what you find, speak out.

  • Find out more about QDPE and why it is so important for your children and youth
  • Familiarize yourself with the physical education program at your school.
  • Meet with the teachers, principal, parent council and your school trustee to get the facts.
  • Consult with educators and teachers who have successfully implemented QDPE programs.
  • Share your findings with the principal, teachers, parents council and school trustees
    • Identify areas that need improvement
    • Explain why these improvements are important
    • Outline strategies for improvement
    • Offer help…

An Action Team Implementation Strategy

Forming a QDPE Action Team is an important step in your lobby efforts. Your Action Team can help build alliances and networks, which will help, strengthen your voice. Follow these steps to building a QDPE Action team and continue the QDPE campaign.

  1. Find out if there is an existing QDPE Action Team in place. You can contact the QDPE Chairperson in your province to find out.
  2. If an Action Team already exists, contact the Team Leader and get involved.
  3. If a QDPE Action Team is not in place, begin building one.

Building the QDPE Action Team

Build up your alliances and networks of supportive community members and add them to your QDPE Action team. Speak to parents, the local business community, healthcare, recreation and social service professionals, or even the media.

Research the many service clubs, religious groups and political organizations in your community, and include them in your network. Reach out to retired physical education teachers and ask for support. Contact local representatives of national associations who are members of the Canadian Coalition for QDPE.

Coalition for QDPE Members

The Action Team Meeting

Once the Team has been established, hold the Action Team Meeting. These guidelines will help the team work together to move the QDPE campaign forward.

  • Establish the goal of the QDPE Action Team.
  • Provide an update on your initial findings and progress to date.
  • Provide the rationale for a school QDPE program.
  • Identify the barriers that prevent your school from providing QDPE.
  • Gather input and ideas from the meeting participants.
  • Secure commitments from the meeting participants to join the QDPE Action Team.
  • Set a date for the next meeting to develop the QDPE Action Plan.

The QDPE Action Plan

The Action Plan should include the following elements:

  • A position statement on the QDPE issue.
  • A description of the physical education program you want for your school.
  • The identification of the key individuals who make (or influence) decisions about school programs (principal, school trustees, education director, teachers and parent council).
  • A strategy to interview these people to assess their knowledge, personal positions and commitment to QDPE.
  • A presentation to each of these key people (or groups) to explain the value and importance of QDPE.
  • The identification of solutions to the barriers that prevent QDPE implementation at the school.
  • A strategy to educate the media on the issues and your QDPE position
  • Clear timelines to accomplish these actions and strategies.
  • The assignment to individual team members of specific tasks in the Action Plan.

Follow Up Activities

  • Communicate regularly with each Action Team member.
  • Maintain communication with the provincial QDPE contact. Resources and professional assistance may be available through them.

For more information on advocating for QDPE, please visit PHE Canada’s Advocacy Action Centre

How can we reward schools that promote QDPE?

The Quality Daily Physical Education (QDPE) and Quality Physical Education (QPE) Recognition Award Program (RAP) identifies, recognizes and encourages excellence in school physical education programs. Schools that are committed to the QDPE/QPE philosophy and who meet the official standards and criteria are eligible for this prestigious award. RAP winning schools receive national recognition for the QDPE programs and earn the official title "QDPE School" or "QPE School".

The QDPE/QPE RAP requires schools to assess their physical education programs based on the criteria identified in the RAP application form. Any Canadian K-12 school can apply for either of the RAP awards.

For more information on the QDPE/QPE Recognition Award Program (RAP), please visit: RAP

What QDPE resources are available?

PHE Canada has a variety of resources to assist in the delivery of a quality daily physical education program.

Featured Resources:

All these resources and more are available at PHE Canada’s online bookstore. (Create link)

Fundamental Movement Skills Resource Series


The Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) series aids in teaching fundamental movement and sport skills in an effective, fun and interactive manner through the use of both print handbooks and an online video collection.

The FMS Handbook Series:

  • Fundamental Movement Skills: Active Start and FUNdamentals Stages ( K-Grade 3)
  • Fundamental Movement Skills: Active Start and FUNdamentals Stages – For Children with Physical Disabilities
  • Fundamental Movement Skills: Active Start and FUNdamentals Stages – For Children with Developmental and/or Behavioural Disabilities
  • Fundamental Movement Skills: Learning to Train Stage (Grade 4-8)
  • Fundamental Movement Skills: Beyond the Fundamentals – A Games Approach (Grade 9-12)

The FMS Online Video Collection:

  • Using the Dartfish.tv platform, subscribers have access to a comprehensive video library of the fundamental and sport skills featured in the corresponding handbooks. The array of skills features the developmental stages of performance filmed from front and lateral views.

TGfU - (Teaching Games for Understanding) Simply Good Pedagogy: Understanding a Complex Challenge


This Canadian TGfU resource brings together the ideas and perspectives of leading global TGfU proponents as presented at the 4th International TGfU conference held in Canada. This text highlights the current research and practice from around the world in games teaching/coaching as inspired by the TGfU approach.


Free Resources:



PlaySport is an educational website developed by PHE Canada and Ophea that has all kinds of great activities designed to teach kids games by playing games!

PlaySport allows you to search for activities based on the equipment you have, the skills you want to teach, the complexity of the game or the space you have available.

Teachers, coaches and camp counsellors can all benefit from this resource.

PlaySport games encourage fun, free play while helping kids develop the skills needed to not only participate in all kinds of sports, but also to be healthy and active citizens throughout their lives.

Please stay tuned for more Free Resources coming soon!

Membership Resources:

Physical and Health Education Journal

Published quarterly, the PHE Journal is PHE Canada’s signature periodical, offering leading-edge articles to professionals. This practical magazine provides a forum to highlight, analyze, discuss and share many of the leading-edge teaching techniques, hot issues, and school successes in the fields of school health and physical education.

How do I become a physical educator?

For more information on how to become a Physical Educator, please visit the Canadian Council of University Physical Education & Kinesiology Administrators (CCUPEKA) website for summaries of physical education accreditation standards, institutions, and process.