Q | R | S


Quality Daily Physical Education

Quality daily physical education (QDPE) means a planned program of physical activity for all students every day throughout the school year. Activities can include physical education classes, intramural activities, sports, physical play and fitness activities.

Studies from around the world have confirmed that children who enjoy QDPE are fitter and healthier, and they do better in academic subjects than those who do not enjoy QDPE. The concept has been endorsed by a number of organizations including the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Public Health Association.

Contact: Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CAPHERD), 1600 James Naismith Drive, Gloucester, ON, K1B 5N4,  Tel  613.748.5622 or 1.800.663.8708  Fax   613.748.5737 Email CAHPERD@rtm.activeliving.ca   Website http://www.activeliving.ca/cahperd/


Ready or Not

Ready or Not/Patrons du bon pied is an innovative parent education program aimed at parents of children between the ages of 8 and 12. The program is designed for people who may have difficulty accessing parenting information because of their economic, geographic or social situations. It was developed by Health and Welfare Canada as part of Canada’s Drug Strategy.

The six-session program uses group discussion and adult education techniques to deal with parenting issues such as getting to know each other, communication, decision-making, preventing problems with drugs and alcohol, discipline and self-help. Preventing drug and alcohol problems is an important part of Ready or Not but the main focus is on effective parenting.

The Ready or Not program includes a training manual for facilitators, an administration manual for sponsoring agencies and two easy-to-read booklets for parents. These materials are free but are only available to leaders who have participated in a training workshop. Contact your local public health unit to find out if Ready or Not is offered in your area.

Contact: BC Council for Families, #204-2590 Granville St. , Vancouver, BC, V6H 3H1, Tel 604.660.0675 Fax 604.732.4813 Website http://www.bccf.bc.ca/not.htm?   or Pegeen Walsh, Regional Director for the Ontario Office, Tel  416.973.0001


The Real Game

The Real Game is an interactive career exploration program that helps 11-to 14-year-old students learn about issues and aspects of life that adults face daily in the real world. In The Real Game, students take on occupational roles — complete with monthly earnings, appropriate educational backgrounds, and holiday and leisure time allotments. In these roles, they budget their money, plan extra-curricular activities, and learn about what suits them in their jobs (and what doesn’t). Not only do they gain an understanding of their given occupation, they learn about their neighbour’s occupations, and about the nature of the working world at large, including such global factors as corporate restructuring and technology’s effect on the workplace.

The game is "played" in an active, interactive, and supportive manner. The importance of preparing for life’s unexpected twists, and of being adaptable, is often a key lesson at the end of each activity. As the program progresses, students identify with their roles and play-act in them. They make choices, learn about the implications of their choices, and participate in community life in a safe, supportive environment. Through the game-playing elements of the program, the link between what is being learned and what students will face in the real world is always emphasized. The intention of the program is to encourage students to think about their career paths and to help them understand that what they learn at the middle school level (grades 7 and 8) has an effect on their futures.

The Real Game was developed in Canada and tested (positively) for two years in over 100 classrooms in Canada and the US. The core sessions require 30 hours of classroom time over an eight week period. Training on the use of the Real Game is available via the Ministries of Education in each province and territory. The Real Game is available in English and French.

Contact:  The Real Game Inc. P.O. Box 336, Station C, St. John’s, NF, Tel   709.579.5544  Fax  709.579.0173, or  The National Life/Work Centre, Memramcook, NB, Tel  506.758.0332  Fax  506.758.2149  E-mail: swright@public.compusult.nf.ca


Recommended reading for parents

Parents and Adolescents Living Together by G. Patterson and Forgatch, Castalia Publishing. There are two books: Part I : The Basics was published in 1987 and Part II: Family Problem Solving was published in 1989.

Kids Are Worth It by B. Colorosso. Toronto: Sommerville House, 1995.

The Survival Guide for Teenagers With Learning Disabilities. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing Inc., 1993.


Recommended reading for schools

Antisocial Behaviour in School: Strategies and Best Practices by H.M Walker, G. Calvin and E. Ramsey.

Large Group Community-Based Parenting Programs for Families of Preschooles at Risk for Disruptive Behaviour Disorders: Utilization, Cost Effectiveness, and Outcome by C.E. Cunningham, R. Bremner, and M. Boyle, Journal of child Psychology and Psychiatry. 36(7): 1141-1159.


Rediscovering the Traditional Mother

In the Spring of 1993, the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre offered native women an opportunity to learn prenatal health care from their elders through a project called Rediscovering the Traditional Mother. Using traditional circles to promote discussion, four elders were available for four different circles. Participants were generally young pregnant women — the youngest was 14 years of age. Sitting comfortably in a setting familiar to the participants, the elders gave presentations and encouraged the sharing of stories, discussion and questions about women and pregnancy. Videos of native peoples were shown and handouts written by native people were distributed. At its completion, an assessment was completed by the participants. The result was a 100 percent recommendation that this type of teaching continue to be provided to First Nations people.

In an evaluation discussion participants recommended more male involvement, separate sessions for specific groups, and more information on fatherhood. They also recommended more sessions with more elders. Topics they would like to include are male responsibility, spirituality, family break-ups, birthing, pregnancy loss, parenting, and puberty training.

Contact: Executive Director, Skookum Jim Friendship Centre, 3159 Third Avenue, Whitehorse, YK, Y1A 1G1, Tel  403.668.4465  Fax  403.668.4460


The Ryerson Outreach / Ryerson Community Initiative

This project was designed to improve academic and social outcomes and the quality of life for children in a school situated in a high-density, high-crime, high-drug-abuse neighbourhood in inner city Toronto. The project proposed the use of mental health professionals in a school setting — an intervention that had been shown to be helpful in other studies. The Hincks Children’s Mental Health Centre and the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto donated the services of a child psychiatrist and a social worker to work in the school for one-half day a week. Over two years, teachers reported that students who had received help had made significant improvements. This project is now being replicated in several schools in the City of North York.

Contact: Dean, Department of Community Services, Ryerson Polytechnic University, Tel  416.979.5034


Saskatoon E’Gadz

In Saskatoon, E’Gadz was formed by a committee of youth-serving agencies as a focal point for the community’s response to street/homeless youth. E’Gadz was housed in a large building where street youth could gain access to a variety of services and programs in recreation, health, education and justice. Street youth in Saskatoon spoke favourably of E’Gadz services and staff. Youth from First Nations communities were especially involved in programs that were culturally sensitive. An important element in the Saskatoon interagency effort was the willingness of formal youth-serving agencies to work with community representatives. For example, social service dollars were re-allocated after the need for a shelter for female youth was identified. This was viewed as a positive move to make traditional social services more open, accessible and culturally relevant to those using the services.

Contact: 301 First Avenue North, Saskatoon, SK, S7K 5W9, Tel 306.931.6644

Source for this description: Caputo, T., Kelly, K., 1996


The School Leavers Survey

Between September and December 1995, Statistics Canada, on behalf of Human Resources Development Canada, conducted the School Leavers Follow-Up Survey. The initial 1991 School Leavers Survey included interviews with nearly 10,000 young people between the ages of 18 and 20 to document their characteristics and the circumstances of school leavers. Four years later, the 1995 School Leavers Follow-Up Survey re-interviewed about two-thirds of the same respondents, by then between 22 and 24 years of age, to explore the school-work transitions of young people beyond high school.

The SLS estimates that at the time of the survey 18% of 20-year-old Canadians had not completed high school. The rate for men is higher than for women, 22% compared with 14%. The rates are higher in the eastern provinces and lower in the West and the gap between males and females is greater in the East and less pronounced in the West.

The age and the grade at which students leave without a diploma, however, is surprising. Almost 40 percent of leavers were age 16 or less when they left school and 32 percent had Grade 9 education or less.

Leavers were more likely than graduates to come from single and non-parent families, from families who did not think high school completion was very important, and from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Leavers, to a greater extent than graduates, were married and more had dependent children. Taken together, 69 percent of leavers (compared with 33 percent of graduates) came from a high riskbackground group. The fact that 31 percent of leavers did not come from the high risk group (10 percent in fact came from a low risk group) or that 33 percent of the graduates also came from the high risk group, indicates that there is more to dropping out than family background.

There were important differences between leavers and graduates:

• Recognizing the value of education was an important reason for staying in school, returning to school and for regretting dropping out.

• School performance differed for leavers and graduates, with leavers more likely to have failed an elementary grade, have lower grade averages, and have difficulty with, or fail, core courses such as mathematics, science and English/French.

• The majority of leavers, however, were performing satisfactorily while in school; 37 percent of them had mainly As and Bs and another 40 percent were getting by with Cs. Almost half of leavers who gave personal or family related reasons for leaving school achieved A or B averages. Individual academic failure is not a factor for these types of leavers.

• Despite early failure, lower grade averages, and difficulty or failure in core courses, some students stay or return to graduate at a later time.

• Enjoyment of school, interesting classes and class participation influenced school grade averages, especially those of leavers. Graduates were able to achieve top marks, regardless of these factors. For leavers these factors made a great deal of difference. Leavers were almost twice as likely to achieve A and B averages if they enjoyed school, participated in class or thought that their classes were interesting.

• Part-time employment was related to school-leaving, with lower leaver rates coming from students who worked less than 20 hours per week during the school year, and higher rates for those who worked long weekly hours, or did not work at all. This relationship existed even when academic performance and positive school experiences were held constant.

• Although overall rates are low, leavers were more likely than graduates to engage in deviant behaviours such as regular alcohol consumption, and soft and hard drug use.

• Leavers were less involved than graduates in almost all leisure time activities.

The school experiences of leavers and graduates were also different. Leavers were more likely to:

• report that they did not enjoy school
• express dissatisfaction with their courses and school rules
• have problems with their teachers
• not participate in extracurricular activities
• participate less in classes than other students
• have friends not attending any school
• associate with peers who did not consider high school completion important
• not fit in at school
• skip classes.

The labour market and life outcomes of leavers appear to be dismal. Many more leavers than graduates had not taken any further education or training. More leavers than graduates encountered unemployment; worked in blue collar occupations, for men, and service jobs, for women; and experienced long weekly hours. Despite lengthy hours, both leavers and graduates had low incomes, and leavers had greater dependency on unemployment insurance, social assistance, and family allowances. Financial dissatisfaction was high, particularly for leavers.

In light of long work hours, it may be difficult for leavers to escape from their economic and educational circumstances. More leavers than graduates had difficulty filling out job applications and indicated that their basic skills restricted their job opportunities. Leavers revealed more uncertainty about their future career directions than graduates.

Contact: Statistics Canada at http://www.statcan.ca


School of the 21st Century

The School of the 21st Century is dedicated to the healthy growth and development of all children through continuity of support from birth to age 12. The School of the 21st Century promotes exceptional child care and other support services for children and families by linking school, home, and community resources to build an environment that values children.

The School of the 21st Century is a comprehensive, high quality, affordable early childhood care and education plan that brings together an umbrella of services for the benefit of children and their families. It is a unique plan developed by Dr. Edward Zigler, Director of the Bush Center for Child Development at Yale University. The School of the 21st Century links schools, home, and community resources to build an environment that values children.

Contact: Email s21c@rams.nesd.k12.ar.us   Website http://rams.nesd.k12.ar.us/~s21c  


School-Wide Peer Helping Program at Runneymede Collegiate Institute, Toronto

A successful, school-wide peer helping program has been running at Runneymede Collegiate Institute in Toronto for several years. Activities within the program include:

  • Peer Counselling: Students are trained to listen and help students who are experiencing some difficulty. In three years, peers have experienced everything from problems in relationships to problems with teachers to potential suicides.

  • Peer Help Centre: Peer helpers run and coordinate this centre which is always open during lunch periods so that students can drop-in when they need someone to talk to. There is also an appointment box for students to ask to be seen at another time.

  • Conflict Mediation: This has been extremely successful at Runneymede. In the event of a conflict (verbal or physical), the teacher helper chooses a peer helper to mediate the conflict in the Peer Help Centre. Most disputants avoid detentions or suspensions due to mediation. In the event that a suspension is unavoidable, then the mediation takes place immediately upon the student’s return to school.

  • Grade Nine Involvement: Each peer helper is assigned to a grade nine homeform which they formally visit at least once a month. During the course of the year, peer helpers develop a big brother, big sister relationship with their grade nines. The helping team consists of peer helpers, a school counsellor, and the mentor teacher who teaches the grade nine class during the same period as the peer help class.

  • Peer Help Newsletter: Five times a year, second-year peer helpers publish a newsletter which is distributed to every student in the school. It outlines program activities and gives some biographical information about peer helpers.

  • Keep the Peace Week: Peer helpers organize a different activity each day such as an assembly to a classroom workshop or to selling positive message balloons. Students buy and send a balloon to a friend with a positive message attached to it. Peer helpers also roam the halls rewarding students and teachers who are seen doing acts of kindness.

  • White Ribbon Campaign: Each year a male peer helper plans a week long activity based on stopping violence against women. It takes place on the week of December 6 in memory of the 14 women massacred in Montreal in 1989.

  • Safe Sex and Condom Availability: In conjunction with the Science Department and the Community Health Unit peer helpers provide condoms to students. The peer helpers are also developing a week dedicated to promoting abstinence and safe sex.

  • Feeder School Outreach: The peer helpers reach out to feeder schools and provide those students with positive role models and help them prepare for grade nine.

  • Practicums: Three times a year for three weeks, peer helpers dedicate themselves to a helping situation. They can help a teacher, help coach a team, work in the skills lab or engage in virtually any service-oriented activity they create.

  • Drug and Alcohol Prevention Week: In coordination with a drug awareness resource teacher, a second-year peer helper organizes this very important educational week. Once more, they develop daily activities, invite experts for information panels, and develop classroom workshops to be led by peer helpers.

Contact: Runneymede Collegiate Institute, 569 Jane Street, Toronto, ON M6S 4A3, Tel  416.394.3200  Fax  416.394.4445


The Social Decision-Making and Problem-Solving Program

This program which has been widely implemented in primary schools in New Jersey, consists of three phases:

In Phase I, eight core self-control skills are taught, for example, listening, following directions, resisting the urge to provoke others.

In Phase II, children learn group skills such as selecting friends and showing caring.

In Phase III, the children learn to apply the skills to everyday life both inside and outside the classroom.

Contact: For more information, see Building Social Problem-Solving Skills: Guidelines From a School-Based Program by M. Elias and J. Clabby. San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 1992.


South Riverdale campaign to remove lead contaminated soil

This initiative involves community action to clean up lead-contaminated soil in neighborhood.

Contact: Nita Chaudhuri, Environmental Health Promoter, 119 Queen St. East, Toronto, ON, M4M 1K7 Tel 416.469.3917


The Special Delivery Club

Since its development in January 1990, the Special Delivery Club (SDC) in Kingston, Ontario has sparked interest across the country. Over 95 organizations have modelled their prenatal programs after the club and requests for information are ongoing.

The SDC is a prenatal program provided by the North Kingston Community Health Centre (NKCHC) in an area of Kingston known as "the other side of the tracks." The program derives its uniqueness from two factors: its participatory learning style and its client group — pregnant teens and women under 23, and single, pregnant women up to 30 years old. Teenagers and young, single pregnant women are at high risk for low birthweight babies, due to factors such as diet, lifestyle and poverty. Low birthweight in turn, can be responsible for numerous developmental problems in children.

The SDC’s clients are difficult to attract to prenatal programs. Teenagers, in particular, tend not to attend traditional prenatal classes because the atmosphere and format of existing classes do not meet their needs. Participants in traditional classes are usually middle-income couples who are older than the teens and young singles cannot easily relate to them.

SDC participants meet weekly for two hours after school or work. Although the program can be adapted for a multicultural clientele, most of the participants in the Kingston area are lower-income, white, English-speaking, Canadian-born teenagers. Many are attending high school but plan to drop out after the baby is born with the intention of eventually returning to school or to work. Some are single; others have a partner. However most of the women are involved in unstable relationships. In a recent session, the percentage of women with partners was about 50 percent.

The club presents health information in a positive, creative and fun way. It uses participatory learning techniques designed for pregnant teenagers, such as games and life skills activities. Each session is co-facilitated by a peer who is a graduate of the program.

SDC has been a springboard to getting members involved in other health centre programs. The Rock and Rattle Club is a parent-infant support group for graduates of the prenatal program. It offers education and support and provides young parents with the opportunity to get together with their babies to socialize. The Rock and Rattle Club was formed in September 1990, after members of the first SDC group told staff they wanted to continue to meet as a group after their babies were born. The Club continues to thrive. Another offshoot of the main program called Community Kitchens brings participants together to create low-cost meals, learn nutritional cooking skills and prepare meals to take home.

Area high school staff and administration have taken a keen interest in the SDC. In the fall of 1990, arrangements were made for pregnant students to receive a partial credit for attending the program.

Contact: Health Promotion Coordinator, The Special Delivery Club, North Kingston Community Health Centre, 400 Eliot Avenue, Kingston, ON K7K 6M9, Tel  613.542.2949   Fax 613.542.5486


S.T.A.R. Program (Students Against Racism)

S.T.A.R. Committees include groups of students who volunteer their time to share the message in their schools that violence, prejudice and racism are unacceptable and unwanted. Working with a teacher coordinator, and other community partners, including police school liaison officers, S.T.A.R. committee members plan fun activities and events that celebrate diversity and communicate a positive message of hope and friendship among students from all backgrounds.

Contact: Riverview High School PCR Coordinator, Riverview High School, 400 Whitepine Rd., Riverview, N.B., E1B 4T8

Source for this description: National Crime Prevention Council, Preventing Crime by Investing in Families and Communities. Promoting Positive Outcomes in Youth Twelve to Eighteen Years Old, May 1997


Staying on Track

Staying on Track is a community-wide early identification, tracking and referral project designed to periodically track and assess all babies born in the area from birth to age five and a half. Developed by the Leeds Grenville and Lanark Health Unit, it was established to enable all children in the community to obtain their optimal physical, mental, emotional and social development, to increase health knowledge and skills in parents and caregivers, and to identify earlier vision and communication disorders that could potentially undermine a child’s education.

Public health nurses visited children and their families to observe parent/child interaction in their homes at one month and six months of age. Other data was collected through various means. As well as tracking and assessing, public health nurses assisted child development and distributed parenting information on issues for infants and preschoolers. When significant difficulties in children or families were identified, they received follow-up visits and/or referrals to appropriate local agencies. An advisory board from local children’s service agencies met regularly to locate services for children identified by the tracking system and to coordinate services across agencies.

The final report for the program indicated the longer a family had been in the program, the greater the improvement in the children’s development, in child-parent interaction, and in the parent’s sense of competence.

Contact: Leeds Grenville Health Unit, Tel 613.345.5685 or Sarah Landy Tel  416.924.1164 ext  3210

Street/Homeless Youth

Deciding who should be included in a definition of homeless youth is complex, because a variety of terms have been used in the literature to describe the various subgroups on the street. These include runners from intolerable homes, runners to adventure, throwaways who are pushed out by parents, runners from care (for example, Children’s Aid Society or young offender facilities) and "curbsiders" or "wannabees" who live at home but spend considerable time involved in the street lifestyle. The term "street/homeless youth" refers to young people who spend considerable time on the street, who live in marginal or precarious situations and who participate extensively in street lifestyle practices.

The RCMP Missing Children’s Registry of 1991 stated that the prevalence of missing children in Canada was 13 per 100,000 in 1986. Of the 61,248 missing children reported in 1990, 44,800 of the children were identified as runaways. Numbers drop dramatically when the amount of time and degree of involvement in street life are taken into account; however, there are still a significant number of young people who are living in marginal situations and engaging in dangerous practices associated with surviving on the street. Estimates in several Canadian cities of entrenched street/homeless youth range from 200 in winter to 500 or 600 in summer. Estimates in Toronto range from 5,000 to 12,000 young people living on the streets.

Street youth are generally between the ages of 12 and 24. There are slightly more males than females on the street, particularly at older ages. It has been suggested, however, that young women may be hidden from view by older men who initially befriend them and later force them into the sex trade.

Street/homeless youth experience physical, psychological and emotional health problems. These problems relate to unsanitary and precarious living conditions, the violence of street life (for example, assault, rape), alcohol and drug use, involvement in delinquent or criminal activities (for example, theft, prostitution, drug dealing) and risky sexual activities that can lead to sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies and AIDS. Street/homeless youth are particularly vulnerable to mental health problems, especially low self-esteem and depression which can lead to attempted suicide.

The main factors that lead young people to run away from home include problems at home (for example, conflict, abuse, rejection), individual problems, school-related difficulties, substance abuse (themselves or family members) and participation in delinquent or criminal activities. Once on the street, youth form ties with other young people like themselves. These connections or "street families" provide emotional support and a sense of belonging while further entrenching these young people in the street lifestyle. Economic marginalization and a lack of employment opportunities are serious obstacles to young people who try to get off the street. Thus, the problem of youth homelessness and resulting poor health is related to broad societal factors. These factors are not readily addressed by the medical care system.

Studies have identified the following needs of street/homeless youth:

• basic needs such as shelter and food
• contact with caring adults and peers
• access to various types of personal counselling, as well as family counselling
• appropriate social and recreational opportunities
• specialized educational or employment training programs
• access to consistent, integrated services that are socially and culturally relevant and are delivered at appropriate times and places.

Source for this description: National Forum on Health,1996, What Determines Health


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