The health of young people is everyone's responsibility. Healthy schools can only be achieved through collaboration and coordination with the whole school community - students, parents/guardians, teachers, and community partners. PHE Canada's Comprehensive School Health (CSH) initiative advocates for a 'comprehensive school health approach' and nurtures multi-sector partnerships in an effort to complement ongoing activities.

CSH is an approach to school-based health promotion involving a broad spectrum of programs, activities, and services which take place in schools and their surrounding communities. Such actions are designed to positively enhance student's health and to improve the environment in which they live and learn. In addition to a quality health curriculum, CSH schools also involve activities and interventions that ensure a healthy school and that are specific to the needs and concerns of each school community.

Why Promote Health In Schools?

1. There is a natural relationship between health and learning.

Students learn better because they:

  • Have their basic needs met
  • Attend school more regularly
  • Feel better about themselves
  • Get along better with their peers, teachers and parents/guardians
  • Have developed the foundation for healthy physical, social and emotional development
  • Have learned the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices
  • Have developed resiliency to face life's challenges

2. Schools are an important influence in the lives of children.

Schools promote and teach the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours that foster healthy living.

3. Students have the opportunity to learn about long-term health and well-being.

Research shows that a comprehensive approach to school health positively influences risk behaviours relating to nutrition, physical activity, smoking, unprotected sexual behaviour, and alcohol and drug use.

4. Helping our children to adopt healthy lifestyles is an investment in the future!

Quality School Health Components

School Curriculum - A quality physical and health education curriculum that helps teachers enhance, maintain and reinforce the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours that will enable students to increase control over and improve their health and well-being.

School Environment - A healthy environment where the social and physical surroundings preserve and enhance the health and well-being of students and staff. This includes respect for individual differences, discrimination and harassment-free, and a healthy physical environment that has good air quality, safe school playgrounds and sanitary conditions.

Community Support and School Services - A variety of services and programs that are offered to students (and staff) to reinforce the preventative aspects of the curriculum and provide support and intervention to those students at risk or in crisis. Services include:

  • Assessment
  • Screening programs
  • Early problem identification
  • Child protection
  • Referrals
  • Guidance counselling
  • Support for special needs students
  • Rehabilitation
  • Programs for post-treatment
  • Peer support