By Kyle Edwards
The hardwood courts at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre were swapped for turf on Thursday for Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario government.
Before dribbling a soccer ball for the cameras, Wynne announced a partnership with the Active at School initiative and the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association (Ophea), which will aim to give children 60 minutes of physical activity per day. The program will not only focus on organized sports and gym class, but will try to implement activities into the regular curriculum.
“Depending on the way the school is configured and the way the day is configured there will be phys-ed classes, but again, it’s not as consistent as we would like it be,” Wynne said. “That’s why that 60 minutes a day is so important.”
In order to achieve the program’s goal, “pilot sites” will be established — beginning with 20 in 2015 and up to 250 by 2016 — to help identify ways to ensure 60 minutes of physical activity is had each day.
The Active at School initiative is a group that contains more than 80 private, public and non-for-profit organizations. Michael Medline, president and incoming CEO of Canadian Tire (a leading sponsor of the initiative), said when students are active, the teachers are finding their attention and performance is better.
Wynne said the lure of video games and electronics has made it easy for children to not get up and walk around, noting she didn’t have a television till she was nine-years-old.
“This is about improving kids’ mental capability, this is about improving their ability to learn,” she said.