Rationale: B.C. Healthy Living Performance Standards
An extensive body of literature supports the common-sense idea that, when children are healthy they learn better, achieve more and have higher self-esteem. Families play a critical role in supporting children’s health, as do others across our communities.
As the Provincial Health Officer noted in a special report on children’s health: An Ounce of Prevention 2003:
"Of the four major systems of influence [affecting children] – family, friends or peers, school and community – the school is the only one that is an organized public institution amenable to being structured and mobilized to support societal goals."
With their primary focus on learning, the school years provide an opportunity for children to systematically explore ideas about healthy living while supported by professional educators. The school years also coincide with significant developmental phases when students are particularly vulnerable to health-compromising behaviours such as unhealthy eating, physical inactivity, risk taking, and alcohol and drug misuse.
Educators and policy makers have long been aware of these connections and much has been done across B.C to support students’ health through the school setting. For example, many schools and boards of education have programs and policies addressing issues such as physical safety, nutrition, tobacco use, anti-bullying, empathy, diversity, and making healthy lifestyle choices.
With the development of the performance standards for healthy living, educators will have an assessment resource that will enable students to participate fully in their own learning in the areas of healthy living, to clearly communicate about student learning to parents, and to plan for students’ learning needs in the classroom.